Santa Monica College chemistry professor Deborah H. Schwyter has been named the recipient of the Northrup Grumman/Marvin Elkin Chair of Excellence in Physical Sciences.

As winner of the chair of excellence, Schwyter will receive $5,000 a year for each of the next three years to be used for a special project. Specifically, she said she plans to use the funds to purchase spectrophotometry equipment and supplies to allow students to better analyze compounds relevant in clinical, environmental and agricultural laboratories.

“With access to the scanning spectrophotometer, students will get ‘hands-on’ experience in a way that is more similar to equivalent courses at four-year institutions,” Schwyter said.

The Chair of Excellence in Physical Sciences, which in 2000 was the first of 10 such endowments to be established at SMC, was created and is managed by the SMC Foundation. The other chairs of excellence are in fine arts, life science, communication, performing arts, philosophy and social science, music, business, earth science and nursing.

“Dr. Schwyter is a perfect example of how our faculty are resourceful in finding ways to bring a four-year university level experience to our students,” said SMC President Dr. Chui Tsang. “She is to be congratulated in coming up with a proposal that will truly enrich our chemistry students’ academic experience.”

Schwyter, who has taught chemistry and biochemistry at SMC since 1995, received her Ph.D. in biochemistry from UCLA. She has been a post-doctoral fellow at UCLA and the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles and has been a lecturer and visiting professor at UCLA.