October 14, 2011
Two members of the Knox College faculty have been promoted to full professor. They are Diana Cermak, professor of chemistry, and Mary Crawford, professor of chemistry.
Cermak has taught at Knox since 1997. She teaches general and organic chemistry, as well as advanced courses in organic chemistry and chemical synthesis and analysis. Cermak's research focuses on synthesis of optically active organic molecules that contain phosphorus, an element that plays an active role in many biochemical transformations.
Earlier this year, Cermak won Knox's top teaching award, the Philip Green Wright/Lombard College Prize for Distinguished Teaching. Cermak and her students have given presentations at the Discovery Depot in Galesburg, and she has served as co-director of the Secondary Chemistry Instrumentation Laboratory, a workshop at Knox sponsored by the Illinois Board of Higher Education. She has published or presented her research in the Journal of Chemical Education, Tetrahedron Letters, Acta Crystallographica-Section C, Journal of Bioorganic Medical Chemistry, and Journal of Organic Chemistry.
Cermak is a graduate of the University of Minnesota at Morris. She completed her doctorate in chemistry at the University of Iowa.
Crawford joined the Knox faculty in 1997. Her teaching focuses on physical and inorganic chemistry. She also teaches the role of chemistry in environmental policy, as part of the environmental studies program. Crawford's research examines the reaction of the hydroxyl radical and chlorine atom with various synthetic substances, including applications such as fuel additives.
Crawford's publications include an article co-authored with Knox chemistry professor Andy Mehl, and a Knox student, Lei Zhang, which was published in the Journal of Chemical Education, as well as articles in the Journal of Chemical Kinetics, International Journal of Chemical Kinetics, and Journal of Physical Chemistry.
Crawford earned her B.A. with College Honors in chemistry at Knox College and her doctorate at Purdue University.