Electrical Engineering Student

William H. Steel, Ph.D.


  • Ph.D., Physical Chemistry, University of Maryland, 2004
  • B.A., Physics, Gettysburg College, 1995


  • General Chemistry I General Chemistry II
  • Capstone Laboratory Experience
  • Advanced Inorganic Chemistry
  • Physical Chemistry
  • First-Year Chemistry Colloquium

Research Interests

  • Solute partitioning in aqueous-organic liquid-liquid systems
  • New and/or revised experiments in the General Chemistry curriculum


  • Faculty Development Committee Summer Research Fellowship
  • Block Grant Fellowship, Dept. of Chemistry, UMCP
  • G. Forrest Woods Fellowship, Dept. of Chemistry, UMCP
  • Honors with Distinction, Graduate Research Interaction, Day, UMCP

Recent Publications

  • Steel, W. H., Foresman, J. B., Burden, D. K., Lau, Y. Y., and Walker, R. A. “Solvation of Nitrophenol Isomers: Consequences for Solute Electronic Structure and Alkane/Water Partitioning”. J. Phys. Chem. B, 2009, 113 (3), 759-766.
  • Beildeck, C. L.; Steel, W. H.; Walker, R. A.; Surface Effects on Solvation Across Liquid- Liquid and Model Liquid-Liquid Interfaces, Faraday Discussions, 2005, 129, 69.
  • Steel, W. H., Walker, R. A. “Measuring Dipolar Width Across Liquid/Liquid Interfaces Using Molecular Rulers”. Nature, 2003, 424, 296-298. (Highlighted in C&E News, July 21, 2003)
  • Steel, W. H., Damkaci, F., Nolan, R., Walker, R. A. “Molecular Rulers: New Families of Molecules for Measuring Interfacial Widths”. J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2002, 124, 4824-4831.

Recent Presentations

  • Steel, W. H. “Thermodynamic study of solute partitioning: A second-semester chemistry experiment”. (Poster) Chemical Education Poster Session, 245th ACS National Meeting, New Orleans, LA, April 2013.
  • Steel, W. H. “Linking Equilibrium to Kinetics in the General Chemistry Lab.” (Poster) Chemical Education Poster Session, 237th ACS National Meeting, Salt Lake City, UT, March 2009.
  • Capstone laboratory experience: The life cycle of a research project (Poster). 38th Middle Atlantic Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society, Hershey, PA, June, 2006
  • Capstone laboratory experience: A “cradle to the page” project for seniors (Poster). 229th ACS National Meeting, San Diego, CA, March, 2005.
  • Investigations of Solvent Polarity at Liquid Interfaces by SHG Spectroscopy Using Molecular Rulers (Oral). York College Chemistry Society, Invited Speaker, April, 2005


  • York College Faculty Senate President 2013
  • York College Faculty Senate Vice President 2011-2013
  • York College Chair of Faculty Senate Academic Programs Committee 2008-2011