Who We Are

What is NMCC?

The National Microscale Chemistry Center (NMCC, NMC2) currently housed at Tyler Junior College and was established in cooperation with the Environmental Protection Agency, the Toxics Use Reduction Institute of Massachusetts and the National Science Foundation.

The Tyler location started in 1998 as the South Central Regional Microscale Chemistry Center (SCRMCC) participating in a grant written by the original directors of NMCC at Merrimack College. As the three previous directors at Merrimack College have retired or moved to another position at another college, and no one at Merrimack has chosen to take over the program, Merrimack College has allowed the program to be moved to Tyler Junior College. We hope to be able to continue the outstanding work and legacy established by its previous Directors.


The mission of the Center is to implement the ideas of chemical use reduction, air quality improvement, exposure limitation, recycling, and waste reduction into every chemical worker’s and every student’s thinking. Its goal is to provide an efficient network for the development of new microscale techniques, the offering of training courses in microscale chemistry, and the introduction of microscale methodology throughout the science curriculum at all educational levels.

Current Director

Byron E. Howell, Ed.D.

The center is headed by its Director, Dr. Byron Howell. Dr. Howell is a professor of chemistry at Tyler Junior College and obtained his B.S. degree in chemistry from Hardin Simmons University, M.S. degree from the University of Texas at Tyler and Ed.D. from Texas A&M Commerce. Prior to his role as director of NMCC he served as Director/Coordinator of the South Central Microscale Chemistry Center (SCRMCC) since 1997. He taught science in public schools for fourteen years, was an industrial analytical chemist for one and a half years, and has been at TJC for twenty six years. Dr. Howell has received honors such as the Who’s Who Environmental Registry 1992,Thomas H. Shelby Jr. Endowed Chair Teaching Excellence 2001-2002, Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers (2001 and 2002), and the NISOD Teaching Excellence Award (2001 and 2016). Emmy recognition by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for Instructional Programming, 2009.

In addition to working with students, Dr. Howell has always enjoyed sharing and working with fellow teachers through conferences and workshops. To date, he has presented at dozens of conferences and workshops including the Conference for Advancement of Science Teaching (CAST), Two Year College Chemistry Conference, South Central Partnership for Environmental Technology Education, the Conference for the New Mexico Science Teachers Association and the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD).

As Director/Coordinator of SCRMCC, Dr. Howell has worked closely with the Texas Education Agency to promote safe hands-on learning in Texas schools. As a co-writer for the Texas Safety Standards: Kindergarten through Grade 12 , the Texas laboratory safety guidelines for public schools, Dr. Howell has been able to demonstrate how microscale chemistry techniques can allow school districts to bring hands-on science back into the classroom in a safe, environmentally green and financially sound manner. Dr. Howell has also authored, coauthored and edited numerous chemistry textbooks and written numerous microscale experiments for use in grades K-12.

Past Directors of the Center

Dr. Mono M. Singh

Dr. Mono Singh is a Professor of Chemistry and obtained his B.Sc. and M.Sc. in chemistry from Gauhati University (India) in 1962. He obtained his Ph.D. at the St. Petersburg Institute of Technology in the former U.S.S.R. Dr. Singh has more than 60 research publications, the majority relating to microscale chemistry and transition metal chemistry, and has presented numerous papers at national and international meetings, seminars and workshops. He has introduced microscale techniques in wet analytical chemistry. He has also co-authored several textbooks on microscale chemistry.

Dr. Zvi Szafran

Associate Director Dr. Zvi Szafran is a Professor of Chemistry and VPAA at New England College, Henniker, NH. Dr. Szafran received his B.S. in Chemistry from WPI in 1976 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1981. Dr. Szafran is co-author of several textbooks and numerous papers on microscale chemistry. He was the initial investigator in microscale inorganic chemistry, and has presented numerous papers and workshops on the subject at national and regional ACS meetings, as well as abroad.

Dr. Ronald M. Pike

Director Emeritus, Dr. Ronald M. Pike received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Chemistry from the University of New Hampshire and his Ph.D. from MIT. He has over 100 scientific publications, and holds 40 U.S. patents. He is a co-author of several textbooks on microscale chemistry. Since 1984, Dr. Pike has presented over 100 papers on this topic, and has given numerous workshops at various colleges, universities and scientific meetings. He has received several awards for his initial contribution in the area of microscale chemistry. He was the initial investigator in microscale organic chemistry.

In the past the center were the recipient of several awards: Two EPA awards, CMA Catalyst Award (Dr. Pike) and ACS, Div. of Health and Safety Award (Dr. Pike).

Microscale Satellite Centers in the United States

There are currently twelve satellite centers located around the United States.

Twelve more Centers have been established at Two Year Colleges in the US. This is an EPA (Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics), PETE and NMCC project (1997-1998).

See the list –>