Chemistry is more than mixing hard-to-pronounce substances in beakers and memorizing the periodic table of elements.

It is a gateway to jobs that can be rewarding in both satisfaction and pay.

Three leaders in their fields who got their start in a college lab will tout the value of a chemistry degree as part of the C. Eugene and Edna P. Bennett Careers for Chemists Program at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 13, at Erickson Alumni Center .

This year’s speakers:

  • David W. Winston, senior software engineer with IBM Corp. A self-taught software engineer, the Morgantown native obtained bachelor’s degrees in chemistry and electrical engineering from WVU in 1990, then earned master’s and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Colorado , Boulder . An engineer at IBM since 1996, Winston is working on projects to address the needs of future semiconductor technologies.
  • Fred L. Nesbitt, associate professor of natural sciences, Coppin State University . After earning his bachelor’s degree from Southern Illinois University, Nesbitt came to WVU to do advanced study, receiving master’s and doctoral degrees in physical chemistry in 1978 and 1982, respectively. Before joining Coppin State , he was a research associate at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, studying the chemistry of planets and their moons.
  • Suzanne Quillen Lomax, organic chemist with the National Gallery of Art. Lomax analyzes artists’materials such as oils, proteins, waxes and resins and examines the aging process of these materials. She has a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and a doctorate in organic chemistry from the University of Maryland and did postdoctoral work at Northwestern University .

In its 11 th year, the Bennett Careers for Chemists Program brings professionals to the WVU campus to talk with students about traditional and nontraditional career opportunities for individuals with degrees in chemistry.

C. Eugene Bennett and his widow, Edna Bennett Pierce, established the program with a $1.6 million endowment. Bennett, a successful businessman who died in 1996, was a WVU alumnus who earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 1949 and a master’s degree in organic chemistry in 1951.

The Bennett family contributions total more than $6.6 million and have been directed to a variety of vital areas, impacting the health and future of chemistry at the University. In honor of the family’s generosity, the Department of Chemistry in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences was named the C. Eugene Bennett Department of Chemistry last April.