Alumni News

October 25, 2017 at 6:42 pm

Notable Alumni | Chemistry Alum Helps Make College Affordable through Scholarships

Graphic for College of Arts & Sciences Notable Alumni Award

Editor’s Note: The College of Arts & Sciences launches the Notable Alumni Awards, honoring 37 Notable Alumni in 2017 for broad accomplishments in their careers, a commitment to community service, and valuable contributions to Ohio University, the College of Arts & Sciences, and its students.

Dustin Starkey ’98 Forensic Chemistry

Ohio University alum Dustin Starkey is currently the Senior Manager for Abbott Laboratories’ Global Operations Professional Development Program, a rotational leadership program for early-career high-performers in the areas of engineering, manufacturing, quality, and regulatory. His primary responsibility is to provide oversight and strategic direction across the Americas, Europe, and Asia-Pacific regions.

Dustin Starkey

Dustin Starkey

Starkey earned a B.S. in Forensic Chemistry from the College of Arts & Sciences at Ohio University, a Ph.D. in analytical chemistry from the University of Cincinnati, and an MBA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. As a student at OHIO, Dustin was active in the Chemistry & Biochemistry Department as an undergraduate TA and researcher, and he was also a four-year member of the Marching 110.

Starkey has been active in alumni leadership at Ohio University, and he is committed to helping the College of Arts & Sciences attract quality students while making college more affordable through scholarships.

Starkey_in alumni parade, kicking it

Starkey began his career in 2002 as a research scientist with Abbott in Columbus, OH, where his work focused on the development and validation of quality assurance testing methods for nutritional products. From 2009 to 2011, he worked as an expatriate at Abbott’s manufacturing and research and development facility in Granada, Spain.

After returning to Columbus for a couple of years, Starkey relocated to Champaign, IL, in 2013 to serve as Site Manager of Abbott’s operation at the University of Illinois Research Park, where he managed operations and the facility, recruited and hired Illinois students as interns, and managed the students and their projects.

Starkey was a four-year member of the Marching 110, shown here in band uniform with three others.

Starkey was a four-year member of the Marching 110.

He currently resides in Lake Bluff, IL, with his wife, Jessie Holtz ’06, who is also a graduate of Ohio University, having earned a degree in Psychology from the College of Arts & Sciences.

Starkey and Holtz met in Columbus through the Ohio University Young Alumni of Columbus, a subchapter of the OHIO Alumni Association’s Central Ohio Alumni Network. They wed in Athens in 2016. But, true to their philanthropic nature, they replaced a traditional wedding registry with a request that guests support a scholarship endowment they established, the Holtz/Starkey Endowed Scholarship for Arts and Sciences. The scholarship is open to high-achieving students enrolled in OHIO’s College of Arts & Sciences.

Alums Jessie Holtz and Dustin Starkey

Alums Jessie Holtz and Dustin Starkey

Connections to Ohio University

  • Board of Directors, Ohio Alumni Association, 2012-present
  • OHIO Alumni of Columbus, Co-Founder and Chair, 2006-09
  • OHIO Central Ohio Alumni Network, Planning Committee, President, 2005-08; 2009
  • Ohio University Alumni Marching Band, 1998-present
  • Endowed scholarship sponsor

Starkey also established the Starkey Scholarship of Merit, a general merit scholarship open to all students in the College of Arts & Sciences.

“During my time on the (Alumni Association) board, I’ve learned a lot about scholarships,” he said. “The more I learned about scholarships, the more I recognized their importance for attracting talented students and students who otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity” to attend an institute of higher education.

Members of the Marching 110, two band members in uniform

Members of the Marching 110

A Favorite Bobcat Memory

“One of my favorite Bobcat memories is from the fall of 1996 – my junior year – when First Lady, Hillary Clinton, stopped by Athens for a rally on College Green while campaigning for President Bill Clinton. As a trumpet player in the Marching 110, I was ecstatic that the band was invited to perform on the steps of old Baker Center, immediately behind Hillary’s podium,” Starkey says.

“On the day of the rally, the Secret Service directed us to the Baker Center steps in a single file line and asked each band member to play a single note from our horns to show that we were not hiding a weapon. We assembled on the steps, looking out over a sea of supporters, protesters, and onlookers. The thrill of performing and being an active participant at such a unique event is something that I will never forget.”

Ohio University Mentor

“I owe a debt of gratitude to Dr. Howard Dewald, now Associate Provost for Faculty and Academic Planning, who served as my undergraduate research adviser and mentor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. I began working in Dr. Dewald’s laboratory during the summer before my junior year as part of a research and teaching assistantship training program,” Starkey says.

“Throughout my junior and senior years, I worked closely with one of his graduate students, researching the application of electroanalytical chemistry methods to forensic investigations. It was through this work that I learned the fundamentals of electrochemistry, conducting research, and applying the scientific method.

“Looking back, I am truly grateful for his leadership and generous gifts of time and knowledge. He treated me with the same dignity and respect as his graduate assistants, always making feel as if I were an integral part of his group. Additionally, under his tutelage and guidance, I co-authored a peer-reviewed paper as an undergraduate and pursued and earned a Ph.D. at the University of Cincinnati in the same group in which he completed his postdoctoral research,” Starkey says.

“The skills and experiences that I developed from my relationship with Dr. Dewald still benefit me in my career today.”

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