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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
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Texas A&M outfielder Jace Laviolette (17) robs a home run from Florida infielder Cade Kurland (4) in the top of the ninth inning during Texas A&M’s game against Florida at the NCAA Men’s College World Series at Charles Schwab Field in Omaha, Nebraska on Sunday, June 15, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
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June 16, 2024

Maintain stability and improve ranking’

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THE BATTALION: How does it feel to be named the head of the chemistry department?
GABBAI: It is good, I am looking forward to the work and responsibility that comes with it. We as a department have a lot of plans to better improve our chemistry department for our students.
THE BATTALION: What was your transition like when you first moved from France to Texas?
GABBAI: Well I had gotten my master’s in chemistry in France at the University of Bordeaux, when I very suddenly decided to further my education in Texas. I first applied to the University of Houston when a friend of mine suggested I apply to the University of Texas. I then ended up receiving my doctorate at the University of Texas and completing my postdoctoral at the Technical University of Munich
.
THE BATTALION: What research are you working on now?
GABBAI: We create new molecules, just like a kid with Legos. We are currently working with anions, which have led to anions sensors for small anions such as fluoride. With this we can measure the amount of fluoride found in water. In some countries, they are unaware that fluoride already exists in the water, so they add more fluoride on top of it. Too much fluoride can seriously harm people.
THE BATTALION: How long have you been working on this research?
GABBAI: I have spent about 16 years here at Texas A&M and two years before that working on this research.
THE BATTALION: What do you plan to research next?
GABBAI: I would really like to discover a new way to preserve solar energy, by using chemical fuels.
THE BATTALION: What do you hope to do as head of the chemistry department?
GABBAI: In the last few years we have been ranked among the top 20 chemistry departments, almost making it to the top 10. I would like to maintain our stability and also improve our ranking. As a department we have talked about how we would like to have new concentration areas for our undergraduates — improve the curriculum for our grades which we hope will have our graduate students completing closer to five years, whereas right now the average time one of our students graduates in is 5.2 years. I would like to see most of our graduate students complete it in a solid five years. We also would like to really concentrate on those students who we see need help, who have been struggling. Sometimes those students in need of help tend to be set aside for later.

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