Chemistry Dept


Stephen Cessna
Professor of Biochemistry

Steve received his BA in chemistry and biochemistry in Colorado in 1991 and then taught middle school math and science in Lesotho in southern Africa. After returning to the US in 1995, getting married and moving to Indiana, Steve finished a PhD degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in 2000. At EMU, Steve teaches courses in chemistry, biochemistry, plant physiology and sustainable agriculture.

Dr. Cessna’s research interests include:
- STEM student retention
- Teach the nature of science
- Assessing means of teaching through course-embedded research projects in college settings
- Measuring oxidant and anti-oxidant content in plants responding to stresses
- Comparing photosynthesis, antioxidant content, and growth of various plants in different stress conditions

Doug Graber Neufeld

Click here for Research and Course Webpages

Dr. Graber Neufeld is Professor of Biology & Director of the Center for Sustainable Climate Solutions.

In the Biology&Chemistry Departments, he works primarily with the Environmental Sustainability program, with a concentration in issues that relate to environmental monitoring and toxicology. He teaches in the introductory biology course, Concepts in Biology, and in a variety of courses related to environmental issues (such as Environmental Toxicology, Natural History of the Shenandoah Valley). He has a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin in environmental physiology, and worked at the University of Arizona and the University of Otago (New Zealand) before coming to EMU. He served a two year term with Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) in Cambodia, were he worked on environmental issues through the Royal University of Agriculture and the Royal University of Phnom Penh. More recently, he served another two year term with MCC, as water & livelihoods advisor in Kenya, splitting his time between WaSH (water, sanitation and hygiene) programs in informal settlements (“slums”) of Nairobi, and water provision and conservation agriculture projects in ASAL (arid and semi-arid lands) regions of eastern Kenya. Doug lives in Harrisonburg with his wife, Cristina, and two sons, Alex and Evan. They enjoy many outdoors activities, and take as many opportunities as possible to go camping and traveling.

Doug’s research at EMU is in collaboration with students and includes projects:
- water monitoring assessing stream health in a local watershed, and the effects of stream restoration
- baseline water monitoring in an area that was proposed as a hydrofracking site
- assessing pesticides in market vegetables using a novel combination of techniques, and
- using zebrafish startle response as a sensitive toxicity indicator

Tara Kishbaugh
Professor & Department Chair

Dr. Tara L.S. Kishbaugh obtained her undergraduate degree in chemistry from Wheaton College and her graduate degree in organic chemistry studying the reactivity of electron deficient indoles at Dartmouth College under the mentorship of Gordon W. Gribble. During graduate school, she spent a year teaching organic chemistry at St. Michael’s College, Winooski, Vermont. Afterwards, she was a Dreyfus postdoctoral fellow at the University of Massachusetts, North Dartmouth campus. During this position, she taught as well as studied fluorinated allenes. At EMU, Tara has taught a variety of courses, including organic, general, medicinal, and environmental chemistry as well as seminars on ethics, land use, and food chemistry. Since 2013, she is chair of the biology and chemistry departments. Tara has been involved in a number of trans-disciplinary projects on campus, such as EMU Common Reads, a common reading program. Tara’s chemistry-related hobbies include photography, baking, and tie-dying. Tara’s research interests include chemical education, heterocyclic chemistry, and water quality studies.

Dr. Kishbaugh’s research interests include
- Chemical education projects, such as assessing non-content learning in laboratory research projects, or
- Assessing student familiarity with and understanding of green chemistry, or
- Improving student’s engagement with math coursework by adding contextual relevance to the assignments
- Writing review chapters on heterocyclic chemistry- in particular indoles and pyridines
- Water quality monitoring in the local watershed related to bacterial contamination, run-off or hydrofracking.

Matthew Siderhurst
Associate Professor

Dr. Siderhurst earned a B.A. in chemistry and molecular biology from Goshen College and a Ph.D. in Entomology from Colorado State University. After receiving his degree, Dr. Siderhurst held a postdoctoral research associate position with the USDA-ARS-PBARC in Hilo, Hawai’i, working to identify attractants for several economically important invasive insects. Current research projects include chemical ecology of invasive insect pests in Hawaii, Australia, and Guam. Teaching experience throughout his academic career has lead Dr. Siderhurst to value education as a lifelong process, which especially lends itself to the small institution setting with its small class sizes, close student-professor interactions, and undergraduate-centered research.

Dr. Siderhurst’s research interests include:
- Development of improved attractants for invasive and agriculturally important insect pests including tephritid fruit flies, the little fire ant, and several beetle and moth species
- Synthesis of small organic molecules related to insect chemical ecology including pheromones and secondary plant compounds
- Ecology of invasive species studied through trapping or radio tracking
- Investigating the odor profiles of tropical agricultural products

Laurie Yoder
Assistant Professor and Chemical Hygiene Officer

Dr. Laurie Miller Yoder earned a PhD in Physical Chemistry from the University of Michigan after graduating with a BS in Chemistry from EMU. Her graduate and postgraduate research interests in molecular energy transfer and the dynamics of chemical reactions took her to Sandia National Laboratory in Livermore, California, the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York.

Laurie teaches courses in the chemistry and biology department at EMU, including general chemistry laboratory, Matter and Energy, environmental chemistry, physical chemistry, earth science, and nutrition. As Chemical Hygiene Officer, Laurie oversees the safety-related aspects of our program and helps make sure that all who perform laboratory work can do so with minimal risk to themselves, others, and our facilities.


Brinton Domangue
Lab Coordinator

Brint Domangue is lab coordinator in the Suter Science Center, serving primarily the departments of Biology and Chemistry, and he also teaches courses in environmental science. Brint’s educational and research interests are in botanical studies. He earned his B.S. and M.S. in Biology from James Madison University by investigating vascular flora in the Shenandoah Valley. After graduation, Brint spent some time as an adjunct at Mary Baldwin College and continued research at JMU and Virginia Tech. Brint has been with EMU since Fall 2014 and is grateful to serve others in a family-like community. In his spare time, he enjoys landscaping and gardening outdoors.

Diane Farrar
Office Coordiantor

Diane Bowman is the Office Coordinator in the Suter Science Center, serving the biology, chemistry, and mathematical sciences departments. Diane is a two-time alumnus of EMU, earning a B.A. in 1995 (Liberal Arts with lots of music) and a Master of Arts in Church Leadership in 2005 (with a focus on congregational education). Prior to seminary, Diane maintained a private piano teaching studio for many years. After seminary, she enjoyed a stint of curriculum writing with Menno Media, and then worked for seven years providing administrative support for Virginia Mennonite Conference and Virginia Mennonite Missions, while further exercising her educational gifts in the church on a volunteer basis. Diane has been in her current role at EMU since July of 2014. She enjoys using her skills in an educational environment with lots of variety and relevance, and with that wonderful sense of community she learned to value in her student days. She still plays the piano in her free time, and loves to go contra dancing for exercise!

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