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Aaron Amick

Assistant Professor of Chemistry

A graduate of Washington College and the University of Delaware,  Associate Professor Amick has taught math at Washington College since 1990.  Prior to joining the Washington College faculty she was a member of the faculty at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania for fourteen years. She received the Lindback Award fort Distinguished Teaching at Lincoln University in 1982 and the Alumni Association Award for Distinguished Teaching at Washington College in 1995.  She has been listed in multiple editions of Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers. 


Prof. Amick is a member of the Mathematical Association of America, the American Mathematical Society, and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.  She has made numerous presentations at conferences sponsored by all three organizations and has published nine articles in mathematics and mathematics education journals.  Her recent research focuses on incorporating writing into math courses. 


Prof. Amick chaired the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science from 2002 to 2008.  She served as the elected Faculty Representative to the Board of Visitors and Governors for nine years from 2001 to 2010.  Having served on and chaired a variety of campus committees, she is currently serving as Faculty Moderator and as a member of the Tenure and Promotion Committee.

  • Bachelor of Science, Chemistry, 2003
    Juniata College, Huntingdon, PA
  • Doctorate of Philosophy, Chemistry, 2008
    Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, 2009
    University of California at Irvine, Irvine, CA
  • Adjunct Faculty in Chemistry, 2009
    Science, Engineering, and Math Division, Cypress College, Cypress, CA
  • Synthesis of Geodesic Polyarenes (Bowl-Shaped Molecules)
  • Organic Reaction Development using Transition Metals (Cobalt and Palladium)

The focus of my research program will be to develop new organic reactions for the synthesis of bioactive natural and unnatural products.

1. Cobalt Catalyzed Reactions

In the last 25 years organic methodology has been dominated by catalytic transition metal mediated reactions that have yielded a plethora of new transformations. Late transition metals such as nickel, palladium, ruthenium, rhodium, and copper have been shown to facilitate a great number of organic reactions. Certain metals such as cobalt have been underdeveloped as reagents and catalyst, despite their relative abundance. For example, rhodium is 726 times more expensive than cobalt yet both share similar reactivity. With this in mind, my lab is working to develop numerous cobalt-catalyzed organic reactions.

2. A New Method to Create Curved Molecules

With the growing interest in using carbon nanotubes in materials science, polymer chemistry, and renewable energy research, synthetic chemists must keep pace in developing new organic reactions to aid in the synthesis of uniform samples of carbon nanotubes. My lab is working on a new palladium-catalyzed method to induce curvature into flat polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) that will reduce the steps necessary to synthesize bowl-shaped PAHs, which could be used to generate carbon nanotubes.

3. Synthesis of C72: a missing member of the fullerene family

Fullerenes have become an important component in modern organic electronic devices. Specifically they have greatly increased the efficiency of organic photovoltaic cells, and larger fullerenes have been shown to absorb different wavelengths of visible light than C60. This difference in properties makes the study of all stable fullerenes extremely important, but under current manufacturing methods only certain fullerenes are available for study. Applying methods developed in our lab we will attempt to synthesize a “missing” fullerene, C72