Dr. Pamela (Vaughan) Benz

  • Position:  Associate Professor
  • Department:  Chemistry
  • Office Location:  Building 58, Room 3
  • Campus: 8504743152


Dr. Pamela (Vaughan) Benz, an Associate Professor who holds a Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry from the University of Maryland, teaches instrumental, analytical and general chemistry and works with undergraduate students on independent research projects. Benz's primary research focus is photo-chemistry examining environmental impacts of toxic contaminates. In 2016, her paper examining the effects of photo-chemical degradation of oil was featured in the “highlights” section on the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill (GoMRI) website.

Publications carrying her work include Marine Pollution Bulletin, Journal of Applied Sciences, Limnology and Oceanography, Photochemistry and Photobiology, and the Journal of Physical Chemistry. Benz is also a member of teams which won competitive external grants for research projects, including an ADVANCE grant for ~ $600,000 from the National Science Foundation to develop ways to recruit, retain and promote female faculty in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

She has served as a reviewer for the National Science Foundation, Marine Chemistry, Journal of Chemical Education, and Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. Benz earned a B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Florida in 1993 and a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland in 1999. She was a National Research Council Fellow at the EPA from 1999-2000. Since joining UWF in 2006, Benz served in various leadership roles including college leadership councils and founded the Office of Undergraduate Research in 2010.

Degrees & Institutions:

National Research Council Post-Doctoral Fellow (U.S. EPA)
Ph.D. Analytical Chemistry, University of Maryland
B.S. Chemistry, University of Florida


Research focuses on photochemical reactivity of natural waters components including CDOM (colored dissolved organic matter) and petroleum products. Analytical techniques such as radical-trapping are used to quantify photochemically produced reactive oxygen species (i.e. hydroxyl radical and superoxide). Current research looks at the relationship between photochemical degradation and bacterial toxicity of these compounds.

Current Courses:

  • CHM 1020 Concepts in Chemistry
  • CHM 2045/L General Chemistry 1 w/ lab
  • CHM 4130/L Instrumental Analysis w/lab
  • CHM 4930/CHM 5932 Environmental Chemistry

Classes Taught:

    • CHM 4930/CHM 5932 Environmental Chemistry (Advanced Topics)
    • CHM 4912/4905 - Undergraduate Student Research/Directed Study
    • CHM 4130/CHM 5134- Instrumental Analysis lecture
    • CHM 4130L/CHM 5134L- Instrumental Analysis lab
    • CHM 3120 - Analytical Chemistry lecture
    • CHM 3120L - Analytical Chemistry lab
    • CHM 2045 - General Chemistry I lecture
    • CHM 1032L- Fundamentals of Chemistry
    • CHM 2046 - General Chemistry II lecture
    • CHM 2046L - General Chemistry II lab
    • CHM 1020 - Concepts in Chemistry lecture
    • CHM 1020L - Concepts in Chemistry lab


    Carl J. Saint-Louis, Julie A. Wilson, Andrew R. Schroeder, Sarah E. Harrell, Nicolle S. Jackson, Jamie A. Trindell, Saraphina Kim, Alexander R. Fisch, Lyndsey Munro, Vincent J. Catalano, Charles E. Webster, Pamela P. Vaughan, Karen S. Molek, Alan K. Schrock, and Michael T. Huggins, "The Synthesis and Characterization of Highly Fluorescent Charge Carrier Heteroaromatic Polycyclic Chromophores - Containing Azaborine", Journal of Organic Chemistry, 2016, 81(22), 10955-10963, doi:10.1021/acs.joc.6b01998.

    Pamela P. Vaughan, Tashiema Wilson, Rebecca Kamerman, Melissa E. Hagy, Amy McKenna, Huan Chen, Wade H. Jeffrey “Photochemical Changes in Water Accommodated Fractions of MC252 and Surrogate Oil Created during Solar Exposure as determined by FT-ICRMS” Marine Pollution Bulletin, 2016, 104 (1-2), 262-268., recently featured on the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative website:

    P. P. Vaughan, M. P. Bruns, C. L. Beck and M. Cochran "Removal Efficiency of Heavy Metals Using Various Resins and Natural Materials" Journal of Applied Sciences, 2012, 12(19), 2065-2070.

    Pamela P. Vaughan, Avery Bullock, Fabien Joux, Wade Jeffrey “The effects of solar radiation on the stability of 3H-thymidine and 3H-leucine during bacterioplankton production measurements” Limnology and Oceanography: Methods, 2010, 8, 562-566.

    Pamela P. Vaughan, Paul Novotny, Nicole Haubrich, Luther McDonald, Michael Cochran, Julia Serdula, Raid W. Amin, Wade H. Jeffrey, “Bacterial Growth Response to Photoactive Quinones”Photochemistry and Photobiology, 2010, 86, 1327-1333.

    Pamela P. Vaughan, Michael Cochran, and Nicole Haubrich “Quinone Photoreactivity: An undergraduate experiment in photochemistry” Journal of Chemical Education, 2010, 87 (12), 1389-1391.

    Amanda Miller, Pamela Vaughan, Tara Sirvent “Effects of storage conditions on lycopene stability in tomato extracts, an undergraduate experiment” Journal of Chemical Education, 2009, 86, 1304-1306.

    Daqing Gan, Min Jia, Pamela P. Vaughan, Daniel E. Falvey, Neil V. Blough, “Aqueous Photochemistry of Methyl-Benzoquinone”, Journal of Physical Chemistry A, 2008, 112, 2803-2812.

    Emily M. White, Pamela P. Vaughan, Richard G. Zepp, “Role of the Photo-Fenton reaction in the production of hydroxyl radicals and photobleaching of colored dissolved organic matter in a coastal river of the southeastern United States”, Aquatic Sciences, 2003, 65, 402-414.

    Aude Pochon, Pamela P. Vaughan, Daqing Gan, Peter Vath, Neil V. Blough, Daniel Falvey, “ Photochemical Oxidation of Water by 2-Methyl-1,4-benzoquinone:  Evidence Against the Formation of Free Hydroxyl Radical”, Journal of  Physical  Chemistry  A, 2002, 106, 2889-2894.

    Pamela P. Vaughan and Neil V. Blough, “Photochemical Formation of Hydroxyl Radical by Constituents of Natural Waters”, Environmental Science and Technology, 1998, 32, 2947-2953.

    Pamela P. Vaughan; Trudy E. Thomas-Smith; Neil V. Blough, “Photochemical Production of the Hydroxyl Radical and the Hydrated Electron from Colored Dissolved Organic Matter”, American Chemical Society, Division of Environmental Chemistry Extended Abstracts, Boston, MA, August, 1998, Featured in Chemical and Engineering News, “At Sea with Photochemistry”, October, 19, 1998.

Keywords: toxic organic compounds, heavy metals, solar radiation during bacterioplankton production measurements, lycopene stability, photoactive quinones, photochemical oxidation of water