I entered college intending to be a pre-med student, but within two weeks I had completely changed my mind and decided to pursue a degree in chemistry. The abrupt change of heart came about due to the talent my general chemistry professor had for making connections between the molecular world and the macroscopic world of everyday experience. I became convinced that everything we see touch, smell, and taste could be explained and understood by the interactions between atoms, ions, and molecules (objects no larger than one ten-millionth the size of the period at the end of this sentence). I have spent the intervening years seeking to make connections between molecular and macroscopic phenomena and to share this insight with my students.
In my teaching I try to show my students that the chemical world is just as logical and predictable, and hence comprehensible, as the world they inhabit by teaching them the principles that underlie chemical behavior rather than encouraging rote memorization of seemingly random and arbitrary facts. My ultimate goal is to convince students that chemistry is not an impenetrable and inherently difficult subject, and that if they are able to accept and understand the forces that govern the interactions between atoms, ions, and molecules that they too can be successful in the study of chemistry.
Outside of the classroom, much of my time is spent guiding students in original chemical research. Students in my research group have access to modern instrumentation and equipment that allows them to synthesize and characterize extremely air- and moisture-sensitive organometallic complexes for use as catalysts. Recently my students have presented their research at a regional symposium hosted by the University of Chicago, and at the National Meeting of the American Chemical Society in Anaheim, CA. I anticipate opportunities to present our research at conferences and in scholarly publications in the near future.
- B.A., Augustana
- Ph.D., Cornell