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LAKELAND (Feb. 22, 2021) – Florida Southern will host its 11th annual Spencer Symposium in a virtual format on Feb. 25 and 26, featuring presentations from four guest speakers on the theme of  “Careers in Chemistry.” The series of lectures is free and open to the public, and will be presented via Zoom.

“Each year, we provide our students and members of the community with unique opportunities to learn about exciting advances in chemistry, medicine, and healthcare,” said Dr. Carmen Gauthier (right), professor of chemistry and Jessie Ball duPont Chair in the Natural Sciences. “Through this year’s digital presentations, the Symposium will bring together a diverse group of accomplished speakers from the fields of academics, research, and venture capitalism.”

On Thursday, Feb. 25, the Symposium will present the following lecturers:

Thomas “Bernie” Tyson (right), who graduated from FSC in 2019 with a chemistry degree, was hired as the first employee of Collage Partners, a New York City-based venture placement firm that raises funds for early-stage biotech companies working on the next generation of medicines. Through his work as an analyst for the firm, Tyson has helped raise more than $900,000 for life sciences companies. (5:20 p.m.)

Dr. Heather Spinney (left), a senior research scientist in core research and development at Dow Chemicals in Midland, Mich., will discuss her work in the design of novel catalysts, which aims to increase the selectivity and productivity of materials used in the formulation of home and personal care products, polyurethanes, plastics, and specialty packaging materials. (6 p.m.)

On Friday, Feb. 26, the Symposium will present the following lecturers: Dr. Michael D. Hampton (right), a professor of chemistry at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, will present a talk on the chemical signature of emotions. Dr. Hampton’s current research in this area examines these volatile biomarkers of disease and emotional state, as well as the chemical signaling of behaviors. (3:40 p.m.)

Dr. Mia Huang (left), an assistant professor in the Department of Molecular Medicine at Scripps Research in Jupiter, Fla., will discuss “How to Tame a Glycoconjugate.” Dr. Huang’s laboratory investigates the biomolecular regulation of glycans — simple and complex carbohydrates with roles in many biological processes — and their function in stem cell differentiation, musculoskeletal research, cancer, and aging. (4:30 p.m.)

“Once again, Dr. Gauthier has assembled a stellar group of experts who will highlight important scientific and career-related developments in the world of chemistry,” said Dr. Brad Hollingshead, provost and vice president of academic affairs at Florida Southern College. “In discussing their groundbreaking research and insights, our 2021 Spencer Symposium lecturers will continue to honor the work of the late Dr. Jack Spencer, a professor of chemistry at Florida Southern who is credited with making major advances in the research and development of antibiotics.”

For information about how to view the Spencer Symposium presentations, contact Dr. Gauthier at

About Florida Southern College

Founded in 1883, Florida Southern College is the oldest private college in the state. It maintains its commitment to academic excellence through 70+ undergraduate programs and distinctive graduate programs in business administration, education, nursing, and physical therapy. Florida Southern has a 14:1 student-to-faculty ratio; is an award-winning national leader in engaged learning; and boasts 30 NCAA Division II national championships. It is ranked among the top 10 Regional Universities in the South by U.S. News & World Report in its 2021 “Best Colleges” guide, and is included in The Princeton Review’s 2021 “386 Best Colleges” guide, the “Fiske Guide to Colleges 2021,” and Forbes magazine’s “America’s Top Colleges.” Home to the world’s largest single-site collection of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture, FSC was twice named “Most Beautiful Campus in the Nation” by The Princeton Review, and one of the nation’s “Ten College Campuses with the Best Architecture” by Architectural Digest. Connect with Florida Southern College.

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