June 11, 2019
Wheaton College Associate Professor of Chemistry and Chemistry Department Chair Dr. Becky Eggimann is appointed as the College’s Dean of Natural Sciences. She will begin this new position on July 1.
On July 1, Dr. Becky Eggimann will become Dean of Natural Sciences for Wheaton College.
“Dr. Becky L. Eggimann is known for her careful planning and detail-oriented leadership as well as her advocacy for her students and the needs of her fellow chemistry colleagues,” said Wheaton College Provost Dr. Margaret Diddams. “I look forward to Dean Eggimann not only leading this division but also contributing to the academic initiatives at the College.”
As Dean of the Natural Sciences, Dr. Eggimann will oversee the College’s departments of Applied Health Science, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Environmental Science, Geology, Mathematics, Health Professions, Nursing, Physics and Engineering, as well as the Wheaton College Science Station.
In her new position, Dr. Eggimann aspires to create greater unity among the faculty in the natural sciences division, while also strengthening their sense of common purpose as they strive to live out the Wheaton College mission distinctively as scientists.
“I want to see us grow in our engagement with our fields through research and scholarship, to continually improve as teachers and mentors to our students, and to lead the church in our thinking about the relationship between science and Christian faith,” Dr. Eggimann said. “But all of this is really driven by just one goal: to enable faculty and staff to flourish in their callings, both as Christians and as scientists.”
It was during her first year as an undergraduate student at Wheaton College that Dr. Eggimann first discovered her love for chemistry. The ability to accurately predict the products of simple chemical reactions hooked her to the discipline. Later, the periodic table demonstrated an order and creativity in the world that astonished the first-year college student.
“The initial discovery—that arranging elements according to electron configuration simultaneously and unexpectedly groups them according to their chemical properties—was nothing short of spectacular,” Dr. Eggimann said. “I had a powerful sense of catching God at work, glimpsing God’s creative genius infused throughout the material stuff of life. It remains one of the most powerful spiritual experiences of my life and was a major part of my motivation to keep studying chemistry and eventually pursue it as my career.”
This passion for chemistry propelled Dr. Eggimann through her studies at Wheaton College, where she received a B.S. in Chemistry and later at the University of Minnesota, where she earned a Ph.D. in Chemistry. She landed back at Wheaton College as an assistant professor in chemistry in 2007. She quickly moved through the ranks, becoming an associate professor and then the chair of the department in 2016.
As a researcher, Dr. Eggimann is particularly interested in using computational methods for modeling chemical systems. Recently, her work uses Monte Carlo simulations to explore the microscopic structure and thermodynamic properties of aqueous interfaces. Her research has appeared in a number of journals, including Molecular Simulation, Theoretical Chemistry Accounts, and the Journal of Chromatography.
She is also the lead developer for the NSF-supported Transferable Potentials for Phase Equilibria (TraPPE) website and database. At Wheaton, she teaches courses in general chemistry and biochemistry along with the First Year Seminar and Chemistry Capstone.—Emily Bratcher