Sally Wasileski, Ph.D.

Chair & Professor of Analytical and Computational Chemistry

Contact Information

  • 232-5169
  • 113 Zeis Hall

Office Hours

  • Tuesday 10:00 am - 11:00 am
  • Tuesday 1:30 pm - 3:00 pm
  • Wednesday 9:00 am - 10:00 am
  • Note: And by appointment. Online (see Moodle for link).

Courses Taught

  • CHEM 109 The Food of Chemistry
  • CHEM 132 General Chemistry
  • CHEM 145 Quantitative Chemistry Laboratory
  • CHEM 237 Analytical Chemistry
  • CHEM 332 Instrumental Analysis
  • CHEM 380 Chemical Research Methods
  • CHEM 438 Quantum Spectroscopy


  • Juniata College, Huntingdon, PA, BS with Honors in Chemistry, May 1998
  • Purdue University Main Campus, West Lafayette, IN, PhD in Chemistry, May 2003

About me

I am originally from western Maryland and graduated with a BS with Honors in Chemistry in 1998 from Juniata College, a liberal-arts college in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. I then went to graduate school at Purdue University and received my PhD in Chemistry in 2003, working with Michael J Weaver on Electrochemical Vibrational Spectroscopy: Fundamental Insight from Density Functional Theory Calculations. I came to UNC Asheville in 2005 after a two-year post doc in Chemical Engineering at University of Virginia, working on computational investigations of methanol fuel cells with Matt Neurock.

I am happily married and the mother of a beautiful daughter. I enjoy cooking, baking, cake decorating, hiking, and going on vacation.

Teaching interests

I teach, design and coordinate the analytical chemistry courses in the Chemistry Department: Quantitative Chemistry Laboratory, Analytical Chemistry and Instrumental Analysis; in addition to General Chemistry, Chemical Research Methods, and a course on chemistry taught through food and cooking, The Food of Chemistry, for non-science majors. I also dabble in a bit of Quantum Mechanics, and have taught Physical Chemistry I.

I am the coordinator of the Chemistry Scholars Program at UNC Asheville, which offers scholarships and student support structures for chemistry majors at UNC Asheville. I am the PI on grants from the National Science Foundation and work closely with Chemistry Department faculty and offices and programs across campus to implement the Chemistry Scholars Program.

Research Interests

Computational Energy Research

My research students investigate heterogeneous catalytic reactions involved in harnessing energy from bio-renewable molecules (molecules derived from plant matter) using computational methods.  Of specific interest to our research group is the conversion of alcohols and polyols to hydrogen, since hydrogen is the most desirable fuel in highly efficient proton-exchange membrane fuel cells.  A variety of research projects can be pursued targeting specific fundamental properties of the reaction mechanism, such as how the reaction is influenced by the catalyst involved (Rh, vs. Ni), the alcohol chain length or other properties of the catalyst and fuel.

Environmental Chemistry Research

 I am interested in advising research students in environmental analysis research projects that use Analytical Chemistry to better understand environmental issues.  These projects are in collaboration with faculty from Environmental Studies.  (1) Phytoremediation of coal fly ash, in collaboration with Dr. Kevin Moorehead. (2) using advanced analytical instrumentation to research toxins present in the groundwater in neighborhoods adjacent to the former CTS electroplating facility in south Asheville, in collaboration with Dr. Jeff Wilcox.;

Interested students on any research project should contact me at any time.  We’ll sit down and chat.

Selected Publications


  • Kuan-Yu Yeh, S.A. Wasileski, Michael J. Janik, “Electronic structure models of oxygen adsorption at the solvated, electrified Pt(111) interface”, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. in press.
  • S.A. Wasileski, Michael J. Janik, “A first-principles study of molecular oxygen dissociation at an electrode surface:  a comparison of potential variation and coadsorption effects”, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 10 (2008) 3613-3627.
  • S.A. Wasileski, C.D. Taylor, M. Neurock, “Modeling the Electrocatalytic Reaction Site from First Principles” published as Chapter 20 in Device and Materials Modeling in PEM Fuel Cells, edited by S. Paddison and K. Promislow, Springer Publications (2009). ISBN 978-0-387-78690-2.
  • M.J. Janik, S.A. Wasileski, C.D. Taylor, M. Neurock, First-Principles Simulation of the Active Sites and Reaction Environment in Electrocatalysis”, published as Chapter 4 in Fuel Cell Catalysis: a Surface Science Approach, edited by Marc T.M. Koper, Wiley Publishers (2009). ISBN 978-0-470-13116-9.
  • C. Taylor, S.A. Wasileski, J.S. Filhol, M. Neurock, “First-Principles Reaction Modeling of the Electrochemical Interface:  Consideration and Calculation of a Tunable Surface Potential from Atomic and Electronic Structure”, Phys. Rev. B, 73 (2006) 165402/1-165402/16.
  • D. Cao, G.-Q. Lu, A. Wieckowski, S.A. Wasileski, M. Neurock, “Mechanisms of Methanol Decomposition on Platinum:  A Combined Experimental and Ab Initio Approach”, J. Phys. Chem. B, 109 (2005) 11622-11633.

Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

  • S.A. Wasileski, D. Clarke, K.E. Peterson, A.J. Lanou, L.G. Mathews, “Food for Thought: Engaging the Citizen in the Science and Politics of Food Information, Food Consumerism, Nutrition and Health An Integrative Liberal Studies Topical Cluster at The University of North Carolina at Asheville”, SENCER Model of Innovation, web published at (2008).
  • J.R. Wingert, S.A. Wasileski, K. Peterson, L.G. Mathews, A.J. Lanou, D. Clarke, "Enhancing integrative experiences: Evidence of student perceptions of learning gains from cross-course interactions", Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 11 (2011) 34-57.
  • J.R. Wingert, S.A. Wasileski, K.Peterson, L.G. Mathews, A.J. Lanou, D. Clarke, “The Impact of Integrated Student Experiences on Learning”, Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 1 (2014) 42-58.