Contact Us

Churchill-Haines Laboratories
414 E. Clark St.
Vermillion, South Dakota 57069
Office Hours
Monday - Friday
8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.


College Dean

Welcome to the Department of Chemistry

From nanoparticles to macromolecules, chemistry is the study of matter, its properties and applications. Advances in chemistry have resulted in major improvements to society in the forms of better medicines, new types of energy and superior materials.

At USD, our chemistry faculty are award-winning teachers and internationally recognized researchers who are leaders in their field. Our in-depth curriculum gives students the tools you need to succeed in future careers, postgraduate studies or anything you do next. In the department, you will also have many opportunities to do research with world renowned faculty in the areas of energy, security, catalysis and computational chemistry. Our graduates go onto careers in medicine, dentistry, the chemical industry, secondary school teaching, and become researchers. Chemistry students are among the highest achieving at USD and earn numerous nationally competitive scholarships, including USD's 10th Rhodes Scholar.

Join our community of researchers, innovators and educators in the USD Department of Chemistry.

If you are looking for a exemplary group of scholars who support and foster exploration and research, the USD Department of Chemistry is the place for you.


Meet the Department

Get to know your professors in the Department of Chemistry. Our faculty are experts in their field, contributing research and scholarship in fluorescence sensors, solar energy utilization, supramolecular/materials chemistry, nanotechnology and computational chemistry. Our faculty are internationally recognized scholars who have won a variety of awards for teaching, research and service to the discipline. They are also leaders in the professional societies that organize events on campus and in the Sioux Valley region.
Bio Image for Faculty Member James Hoefelmeyer

James Hoefelmeyer

Chair, Chemistry/Professor
Bio Image for Faculty Member David Hawkinson

David Hawkinson

Associate Professor
Bio Image for Faculty Member CY Jiang

CY Jiang

Graduate Coordinator/Professor
Bio Image for Faculty Member Pere Miro

Pere Miro

Assistant Professor
Bio Image for Faculty Member Haoran Sun

Haoran Sun

Bio Image for Faculty Member Andrew Sykes

Andrew Sykes

Bio Image for Faculty Member Joe Vitt

Joe Vitt

Associate Professor
Bio Image for Faculty Member Bess Vlaisavljevich

Bess Vlaisavljevich

Assistant Professor
Bio Image for Faculty Member Steven Wu

Steven Wu

Assistant Professor


With qualities like small class sizes, specialized programs and incredible student opportunities, USD is not your typical university. What makes us unique is what makes your education exceptional.


Explore the variety of opportunities and resources available to chemistry students.


Explore the departments, facilities and centers housed in the Department of Chemistry.

Chemist Student Examining a Piece of Material


USD Chemistry is a tight-knit community of scholars. Undergraduates, graduate students, post-docs, and faculty work together in the classroom and the laboratory to solve some of today's biggest challenges in health, energy and the environment.

Biology academics standing in water holding a net


Research, explore and experience the study of life from the molecule to large biomes in the Department of Biology.

Faculty and students researching on Spirit Mound near Vermillion

Sustainability & Environment

The field of sustainability invites us to examine the world we live in and imagine the possibilities for a brighter future. Find solutions to some of the world's most pressing challenges through the Department of Sustainability & Environment.

Student Working with Chemistry Equipment

The Cutting Edge of Research 

USD chemistry faculty and students are driven by a desire to understand new ideas and unanswered questions. Federal grants support much of our department's research on topics including nanotechnology, biofilm engineering, metal-organic super-containers, anti-counterfeiting technology, and sustainable polymers. Collaborating with other faculty researchers at USD and around the world leads to critical advances in science, healthcare, and technology. 
Students in a canoe on the Missouri River.

Summer Research Program

The Molecules Meet Materials (M3) Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) site at the University of South Dakota, located in Vermillion, SD, supports the training of 10 students for 10 weeks during the summers of 2022-2024. In this program, funded by the National Science Foundation Division of Chemistry, participants pursue collaborative research projects. All students also take part in a professional development and ethics training program, with a focus on science communication and preparation for graduate school or industrial careers. 

Learn More

Alum success story

Success story Jade Fostvedt smiling.
My time at USD helped me grow as a scientist, as a teacher and as a communicator; I would not be where I am today without the support of the faculty at USD. A liberal arts education ensures that the scientific leaders who graduate from USD are able to effectively and elegantly convey the high-level ideas that shape our present and future. 

Jade Fostvedt 

B.S. Chemistry '17
Doctoral Candidate studying Inorganic Chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley