A Tribute to Melissa M. Schultz
(April 26, 1977-February 7, 2015)
I met Melissa Schultz in the Fall of 1999 when she entered OSU’s PhD program in Analytical Chemistry. In the Spring of 2000, Melissa became a member of Professor Jennifer Field’s and my research groups. At the much too early age of 37, Melissa was killed Saturday evening, 7 February 2015, in a two-vehicle accident a little north of The College of Wooster in Ohio where she had reached the rank of Associate Professor of Chemistry. Behind this stark fact lies the story of a wonderful person who became an excellent scientist, an outstanding college teacher, and an ardent champion of science among elementary and middle school students, particularly young women.
At Oregon State, Melissa was an exemplary graduate student. She was solid academically and a dynamo in her research. During her time as a graduate student she received the American Chemical Society Environmental Chemistry Graduate Student Award, the David Shoemaker Award for Excellence in Graduate Research, and the Shirley R. Kuse Award for Outstanding Women in Science and Engineering. It was her personality and energy, however, that for me set her apart as a special student. Melissa energized everyone in the laboratory. She cultivated an esprit de corps, catalyzed a special chemistry if you will, between the students, post docs, and technical staff that were part of the mass spectrometry laboratory between 2000 and 2004. She organized social and athletic events. She was a leader and an inspiration to her fellow students. Melissa carried her passion for science and teaching with her after she graduated from OSU. Her post-doctoral work on antidepressants in environmental and biological matrices at the U.S. Geological Survey National Water Quality Laboratory in Denver (2004-2006), where she was a National Research Council post-doctoral fellow, was highlighted in Nature News and Science News. By all accounts, she was an outstanding, motivating teacher as well as an innovative researcher at the College of Wooster, and her leadership carried over into the city of Wooster’s community where she worked to inspire young people, especially girls, to study science.
Melissa’s death is a profound loss to all at OSU who knew her. It is my hope that her story will inspire all students of science, present and future, as did the example she set while she lived.
Those wishing to learn more of Melissa’s life and family can do so by reading obituaries at http://www.mcintirebradhamsleek.com/obituaries/dr-melissa-m-schultz and http://www.wooster.edu/news/releases/2015/february/obituary-melissaschultz/. A memorial Mass was held for Melissa on Saturday, February 14, 2015 at 11:00 a.m. at St. Mary Catholic Church, 527 Beall Ave., Wooster, Ohio.
Doug Barofsky, Emeritus Professor of Chemistry