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C&EN talks chemistry with James B. Comey

Chemical & Engineering News covers the world of chemistry, from research and education to business and policy. C&EN senior correspondent, Cheryl Hogue recently had a chance to sit down with Former US FBI director James B. Comey on majoring in chemistry and how it affected his career. Below are some “vitals” from the interview:

Hometown: Allendale, New Jersey

Education: BS, chemistry and religion, College of William and Mary, 1982; JD, University of Chicago Law School, 1985

Career highlights: Chief federal prosecutor in New York City and surrounding counties, 2002–3; lead prosecutor of TV personality and businesswoman Martha Stewart on charges of securities fraud, 2003; second in command at US Department of Justice as deputy attorney general, 2003–5; appointed by President Barack Obama to a decadelong term as FBI director, 2013

Career-altering moment: Learning via television that President Donald J. Trump had fired him as FBI director.

Current work: Book author and distinguished lecturer in public policy at the College of William and Mary

Secret weapon for getting through 8:00 a.m. advanced biochemistry classes three days a week during his last semester in college: His roommate and fellow chemistry major, Todd Irick, now an industrial hygienist in Ottawa, Ontario. “Todd would swing his legs over the top bunk, hop down, and drag my sorry self out of the bed to go to the class. I’ve told him many times that I’m grateful because who knows what would have happened to me but for that intervention.”

Read the full article here and learn how he used what he learned as a chemistry major to connect with forensic scientists at the FBI: Former US FBI director James B. Comey on majoring in chemistry and how it affected his career.

This article is reproduced with permission from C&EN (© American Chemical Society). The article was first published on February 18, 2019.

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