Remembering Dr. Melissa Schultz

Through the generous gifts made in Dr. Schultz’s honor, a seminar classroom at the interface of Severance Hall and The Ruth W. Williams Hall of Life Science has been named the “Melissa M. Schultz Seminar Room.” The room was designed as a  place where her commitment to research and teaching would have thrived.  Gifts of any size honor her legacy at Wooster and expresses gratitude for her life and memory.

In celebration of Dr. Melissa Schultz, associate professor of chemistry, our colleague and friend. Melissa was a vibrant, giving person who was passionate about everything from environment science and policy issues, to running, to student mentoring, and her family. She was generous with her time, tireless in all of her pursuits, and a committed teacher. She will be missed greatly by all.

Melissa joined our department in the fall of 2006 accepting the tenure-track assistant professor position in analytical chemistry. Melissa received a B.S. degree in chemistry from Creighton University in Omaha, NE. She went on to Oregon State University, working with Drs. Douglas Barofsky and Jennifer Field, to receive a Ph.D. in analytical chemistry.

Before coming to Wooster, Melissa was a NRC Postdoctoral Fellow in the Methods Research and Development Program at the National Water Quality Laboratory of the U.S. Geological Survey in Denver, CO working with Dr. Ed Furlong.

Melissa touched the lives of many students, teaching an array of courses in the department. Her primary impact in the curriculum was in teaching courses in analytical and environmental chemistry, but she also regularly taught first year courses and team-taught courses in environmental studies. She was founding member and strong supporter of the Environmental Studies Program at Wooster. Melissa was an advocate of science education to all, and served as a particularly strong role model for women in science. She was a regular teacher of science to middle-school aged girls in Wooster’s B-WISER and Expanding Your Horizons Programs. Melissa had been an active member of the Local American Chemical Society, serving as treasurer since 2007. Melissa actively made connections between all divisions of the college, and within the Wooster community at large.

During her nine years at Wooster, Melissa supervised 22 Chemistry majors, 7 Biochemistry & Molecular Biology majors, and 1 Environmental Science self-designed major in Senior Independent Study, some in collaboration with other science faculty. In addition, she was actively involved in mentoring students of all ages in research through the College’s Sophomore Research program and in summer research. She was exceptionally active and successful in writing and acquiring grants to support her work with students in high impact research.

Melissa was known nationwide/worldwide for her research on detecting the presence of pharmaceuticals and personal care products in the environment using mass spectrometry techniques, and in participating in key studies that had demonstrated these compounds’ effects on the exposed organisms. Her research involved interdisciplinary collaborations with scientists from all over the United States, and was funded by the National Science Foundation and Research Corporation. She regularly presented the results of her studies at the national conferences in Mass Spectrometry and international conferences in Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. She had subtle, and sometimes not so subtle, ways of making all those with whom she interacted think twice about our impact on the environment and about changes we could each make in our daily lives to engage in more sustainable practices.

Events and Spaces Dedications to Melissa Schultz:

  • Melissa Schultz I.S. Research Prize in Sustainability and the Environment was established in April 2015:  Three senior I.S. projects are chosen based on research in sustainability and the environment.  The students are awarded

  • The annual Melissa Schultz Memorial Race is held in April.  The event features environmental facts along the route.  It is a free run/walk.  Melissa was an running enthusiast.  Hosting the event close to Earth Day honors her commitment to the environment.  Donations are accepted at the event to benefit the Melissa Schultz Nature Preserve.

  • In 2016, an area near the Montessori School of Wooster and Gertstenslager Park was dedicated in her memory and named the Melissa Schultz Nature Preserve.  The mission of the Preserve is to “expose children and families to the magic of nature, to demonstrate and teach the principles of environmental sustainability, and to memorialize the life of Melissa Schultz, scientist and environmentalist.”

  • Melissa Schultz Undergraduate Travel Award to the SETAC (Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry) North American Annual Meeting.  Ninety percent of the funds were raised through donations from SETAC members and from proceeds from their Fun Run event.  The fund provides travel money for one undergraduate student each year to attend the annual meeting.