Melissa M. Schultz

Melissa M. Schultz


College Mourns the Death of Professor Melissa M. Schultz

Highly respected young scientist, mother of three children, joined Wooster’s faculty in 2006

09 February, 2015 by John Finn

WOOSTER, Ohio, — Melissa M. Schultz, associate professor of chemistry at The College of Wooster, was killed Saturday evening in a two-vehicle accident at the intersection of Highland Ave. and Burbank Rd. in Wooster, just over a mile north of campus.

"Melissa represented all that is so good about The College of Wooster," said Wooster President Grant Cornwell. "She was enormously devoted to her students and a wonderful mentor to them. In every interaction you knew you were talking to someone of great warmth and integrity. Her death is a profound loss to our campus community. All our thoughts and prayers are with her family, her friends and colleagues, and her students."

Schultz, who joined the faculty at Wooster in 2006, specialized in the impact of antidepressants on the water supply, particularly their effect on fish and amphibians. She, and two of her colleagues at Wooster — Mark Snider and Stephanie Strand — were in the process of completing a study of the topic, which was supported by a $100,000 grant from Research Corporation. She also was a passionate advocate for the promotion of science among elementary and middle school students, particularly young women, and was actively involved in such initiatives on campus and in the community, including the annual "Expanding Your Horizons" workshop on campus.

"I'm really not sure how to summarize the impact that Melissa had on my life," said Strand. "I will certainly miss her as a scientist and as a colleague, but I will miss her even more as a friend. It was such a privilege for me to conduct research with her and to mentor an amazing group of student scientists with her. Although we talked a lot about science through these last years, we also talked about our own lives, and our kids, the latest books we were reading, and any number of other things."

Schultz, 37, earned her B.S. in chemistry from Creighton University (1999) and her Ph.D. from Oregon State University (2004). She was a National Research Council post-doctoral fellow at the U.S. Geological Survey National Water Quality Laboratory in Denver (2004-2006), where she worked on developing analytical methods for the determination of antidepressants in environmental and biological matrices. This work was highlighted in Nature News and Science News. In graduate school, her most notable awards included the American Chemical Society Environmental Chemistry Graduate Student Award, the David Shoemaker Award for Excellence in Graduate Research, and the Shirley R. Kuse Award for Outstanding Women in Science and Engineering. Schultz's research had been published in several science journals, including Environmental Science & Technology. Schultz leaves behind her husband (Charles R. "Brett" Wright) and three young children.

Calling hours are scheduled for Friday (Feb. 13) from 5-8 p.m., at McIntire, Bradham and Sleek Funeral Home (216 E.Larwill St.). The funeral will be held Saturday (Feb. 14) at 11 a.m., at St. Mary's Catholic Church (527 Beall Ave.). Those who wish to share their thoughts and memories may do so by sending them via e-mail. The submissions will be gathered and included in a book that will be presented to the Schultz family. The full obituary can be found in The Daily Record. A tribute from Schultz's colleagues can be accessed on the chemistry department's home page. Until further arrangements have been made, the family has asked that all financial gifts be payable to Charles R. Wright, and mailed to Jason Burgett, P.O. Box 1755, Wooster, Ohio, 44691.