Mitch Anstey

I was born just outside Buffalo, NY but moved to southeastern Virginia at age 5 where I stayed until my undergraduate years at the University of Virginia. I obtained a B.Sc. in Chemistry and worked with Prof. Dean Harman on strongly π-donating transition metal complexes that disrupt the aromaticity of aromatic molecules and activate them toward new substitution and functionalization reactions.

If you were driving anywhere in the USA during the summer of 2004, you likely spotted me on a road trip to my new home in Berkeley, CA. I joined the research group of Prof. Bob Bergman at UC Berkeley to investigate metal insertion into C-H bonds. In 2009, I earned my Ph.D. in Chemistry, and pretty much gave a high five to everyone in a 5-mile radius!

That summer, I took a postdoctoral position at the Livermore, CA campus of Sandia National Laboratories to work on energy storage projects. A year later, I was hired as a staff scientist and promoted to Principal Member of the Technical Staff a few years later. I’m very proud of this phase of my career, as it allowed me to mentor younger scientists and continue to form my own ideas about how chemistry could benefit battery science.

But after realizing how much I loved the mentorship aspect, I knew I needed to make a career change to maximize the opportunities! I interviewed for academic positions in chemistry, and I was lucky enough to be hired on at Davidson College as an assistant professor! Now I get to focus on the things I love most: students and science!

I can be contacted directly at mitch.anstey[@], and you can follow me on Twitter at @theyneedacrane.

Group Members

Jennie Goodell (’19) has been with me since the start! She’s been in a class with me every semester since I started at Davidson, and she was part of the first summer crew of researchers. As best as I can tell, Jennie is enamored with molecular structure and the many ways structure can be visualized. Her most recent research poster included a tablet that displayed her crystal structures and a laptop with glasses that let you see the structure in 3D! We’re finishing up her study of oxidative substitution of aluminum BIAN complexes in time for graduation.

Claudia Hernandez (’20) first approached me about research the day before her first class at Davidson… talk about drive! She took my gen chem and inorganic courses before her first summer of research with me, and she’s been plugging away on the development of a new phenoxazine-based ligand for redox flow battery electrolytes. She’s been fascinated by the ability of metals to create new organic molecules, and we’re going to explore a new project for future summers on catalysis and reaction development.

Nick Kennedy (’19) might soon hold the record for most consecutive semesters/summers doing research with me! Midway through my batteries course, Nick asked about a research opportunity, and there’s been no looking back ever since. He’s now the group elder at this point, helping out the newest members while working on his own project focused on small molecule activation with a cooperative main group Lewis acid species. He’ll be graduate school-bound after Davidson, and I’m excited to see that happen!

Jay Nicoleau (’21) is a rising sophomore and (we hope!) a future chemistry major. Jay’s first experience in independent research was the summer of 2018, and he has taken to it easily! After shadowing Nathan Rudman during the previous Spring semester, Jay took over our project on main group redox shuttles. After only three weeks in the lab, Jay isolated an anionic boron complex that had been eluding me for the past three years! LUCKY?! Nope, he’s that good.

David Thole (’21) is a rising sophomore and spent the past two semesters, like Jennie and Claudia, in my general and inorganic chemistry courses. Before the end of his first year, he declared his major in chemistry, and our chemistry family could not have been be happier! With Claudia spending the summer at a prestigious internship and then studying abroad in the fall, David has taken on the redox flow battery electrolytes project. As you can imagine, he’s also an avid Spikeball enthusiast and enjoys speed typing in his free time.

Former Group Members

Cole Cuthbertson (’18)

Kaycee Gass (’17) – University of Tennessee, Knoxville; graduate student in Materials Science

Allison Hunt (’18)

Lucas Kane (’18) – Georgetown University, graduate student in Chemistry

Nathan Rudman (’18) – University of Pennsylvania, graduate student in Chemistry

Alex Strasser (’20)