Dr. Thomas was born and raised in the South Bay and Sacramento areas of Northern California. After spending 7 years in construction as a carpenter, he began his college career at Sacramento City College where he experienced the impact that teachers can have on a student. After graduating from UCDavis with a B.S. in chemistry, he continued his studies at GeorgiaTech where he received his Ph.D. in 2006 in inorganic and green chemistry. Dr. Thomas joined the faculty at Carroll College in the fall of 2008.
Dr. Thomas lives with his wife Denise, his daughters Molly and Rachel, and his two dogs Bella and Suzy. When not at Carroll, he golfs (poorly), drinks and brews craft beers, hikes, and generally enjoys the awesome beauty of Montana living.
While developing his courses and campus connections, he has begun investigating the catalytic properties of abundant transition metals (e.g. Cu, Ni) to affect chemical transformations better associated with the increasingly rare and expensive metals of the platinum group. Of current interest is the cyclotrimerization of nitriles to afford symmetrically substituted 1,3,5-triazines employing Cu(II) complexes.
Thomas, Colin A. New method for qualitative analysis labs: Collaboration and communication skills developed in general chemistry lab. From Abstracts of Papers, 243rd ACS National Meeting, San Diego, CA, United States, March 25-29, 2012, (2012).
Broden, Nicole; Thomas, Colin A. "Investigating the electrophilicity of Cu-bound nitriles: Toward a method for [2 2 2] cyclizations." Student Undergraduate Research Festival Poster, April 18th, 2013.
Hurtle, Bryan; Eichhorn, David M.; Thomas, Colin A. "Copper catalyzed nitrile cyclotrimerization: Toward a green method for the preparation of s-triazines." Montana Section ACS, Fall Social. Oct. 23rd, 2010.
Thomas, C. A.; Gill, Z.; Eichhorn, D. M., Investigation of copper catalyzed nitrile trimerization: Toward a method for the preparation of s-triazines.Abstracts of Papers, 239th ACS National Meeting, San Francisco, CA, United States, March 21-25, 2010 2010, INOR-997.
Gill, Zach; Eichhorn, David M.; Thomas, Colin A. "Investigation of the scope and reaction properties of metal promoted reactions with nitriles in the formation of triazine containing species" Montana Section ACS, Fall Social. Oct. 17th, 2009.
Broden, Nicole. Electrophilicity of Cu-bound Nitriles: Toward a Method for [2 2 2] Cyclizations. Thesis, 2014.
Murray, Sean B. A Cooperative Approach the the N-Solution Problem. Thesis, 2012.
Bradley, Colin II. Dye Sensitization of TiO2 Single Electrodes. Thesis, 2011.
Gill, Zackary. Investigation of the scope and reaction properties of metal promoted reactions with nitriles to form triazines. Thesis, 2009.
Dr. Thomas has interest in employing active learning strategies that change the focus of class hours from content delivery to content exploration. The shift must be accompanied by increased student responsibility for the material, arriving to class having completed the appropriate reading, homework, etc., but affords the opportunity for students to thoroughly learn the context and relelvance of the material, as well as the capabilities the material imparts. In practice, students enjoy closer collaborations with classmates, a more dynamic and engaging classroom environment, and generally more enjoyment.
Also, with the addition of the E. L. Wiegand Integrated Research and Learning Lab, Dr. Thomas is developing modules for senior-level students to work on. These modules have no determined outcome, and thus each module represents an opportunity for students to creatively solve real chemical problems. Dr. T happily shares his ideas for this lab with all inquisitors, please contact him for more information.