Area of study: Chemistry Education (although I am a physical chemist by training)
Position title: Senior Instructor II
Why chemistry?: It’s all Mr. Smith’s fault! (Mr. Smith was my high school chemistry teacher) UCLA didn’t have a Pre-med major, so I had to pick something to major in. My thought process was something like this “Well, chemistry was fun, I guess I’ll be a chemistry major.” And then I got sucked in by the beauty of chemistry, especially physical chemistry, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Research focus (in non-science terms) or basic job duties: I teach mostly general chemistry and my interests lie in active learning strategies and ways to increasing student success in general chemistry courses.
One thing that I truly love about my job: The students! Both undergraduate and graduate students. I also love that virtually every day is different – it is NEVER boring.
One interesting/strange factoid about myself: In whatever free time I can find I like to quilt.
Area of Study / Position Title: Managing Director, Center for Sustainable Materials Chemistry (CSMC)
Why chemistry? (What about it initially interested you?): I’ve always been interested in math and science. It was easier for me than English or History. I didn’t realize just how much, until my high school physics class conflicted with band. So, I dropped band to study science. Initially, I focused on marine science, so my B.S. is in zoology and physiology. After graduating, I moved to Texas and worked as a technician in a cancer research lab for a few years. I respected my boss and his work, so when I decided to go to graduate school, I stayed in his lab and got a Ph.D. in chemical carcinogenesis. Thus, began my transition from marine science to biophysics / biochemistry.
Research focus (in non-science terms) or basic job duties? I manage a large Center for Chemical Innovation grant funded by the National Science Foundation. The CSMC explores new solution-based methods for producing very high-quality thin films and patterns as building blocks for these next-generation devices. Check us out here: http://csmc.us I work closely with our business center and NSF on the Center’s budget; organize group meetings, conferences, workshops and help coordinate outreach events. I basically try to keep things running smoothly. It’s a very busy Center. I also collaborate with faculty in Chemical and Biological Engineering on a research project in my spare time. We have a grant to study diatoms. Diatoms are marine or freshwater algae that have silicon (glass) shells. The goal of our project is to harness the biosynthetic capacities of algae to make unique and valuable co-products in addition to advanced biofuels in scalable photobioreactor systems. So, I guess you could say that I’ve come back around to marine science.
One thing you truly love about your job? I love being part of cutting-edge research that advances technology without harming the planet.
One interesting/strange factoid about yourself. I also worked as a forensic scientist. I was a firearms and tool-mark examiner.
During my first year as an undergraduate biology major I took General Chemistry and quickly became fascinated by the endless variety of molecules, and by the elements of the periodic table from which those molecules are comprised. This fascination became more profound when I entered organic chemistry in my second year. Through this course, I realized that it is the diversity of the structure and function of organic molecules that makes life possible, and it is their biological activity that imparts to life its mystery, misery, and remedy.
While my primary function is to teach organic chemistry for pre-professionals at the undergraduate level, I am also engaged in Bioorganic Chemistry and Natural Products research activities with undergraduate students. Currently, my group seeks to uncover molecules that have never been discovered before. We do this by isolating pure compounds from genetically-modified fungi that we grow in the laboratory. Additionally, I am currently the only chemist at OSU-Cascades (OSU’s branch campus in Bend, Oregon) and thus helping to lead efforts to establish and grow the chemical sciences at that rapidly expanding university.
I truly love interacting with undergraduate students as they navigate their early-stage careers within the sciences. It is a sincere joy to introduce them to the intriguing world of theoretical and practical organic chemistry, to provide them expert insight to the many career paths there are within the chemical sciences, and to learn from and about them.
I was fortunate enough to participate on a deep sea expedition and dive over 1000 feet deep in a scientific research submersible named Clelia. Yes, it was a yellow submarine.
Area of Study / Position Title: Chemistry – Postdoctoral Scholar
Why chemistry? (What about it initially interested you?)
I used to play with chemistry sets when I was a kid! Later in life, I enrolled in a one-year general science course just to keep me busy during the day as I was working evenings in those days. I became immediately hooked on science during that year and then went to the University of Glasgow (Scotland, UK) to read Biology and Chemistry. I eventually chose Chemistry over Biology as my major because I felt Chemistry had a wider scope, allowing me to learn about atoms, molecules and other relatives, stuff of which all things are made up. In addition, I can keep having fun by making compounds in the lab in the same way I used to when playing with my chemistry sets!
Research focus (in non-science terms) or basic job duties?
My main research focus is to make new molecular metal oxides and study their properties, primarily their ability to destroy nervous gas agents like, for example, sarin.
One thing you truly love about your job?
The one thing I love the most about my job is that I can do science on an everyday basis! My position allows me to formulate hypothesis about how nature behaves, design and perform experiments to test those hypothesis, analyze the results of those experiments and communicate my findings to the wider world. All of this in close cooperation with a bunch of really smart and nice people! What else could I ask for?
One interesting/strange factoid about yourself:
I can juggle with three and four balls, clubs and a little bit of devil stick. Didn’t you see me juggling this year at the Oregon Country Fair?
Area of study / position title: Science Lab Preparator
Why chemistry? (What about it initially interested you, etc.) – I had been working at the EPA on a research project that the funding was ending and found this position. I was always interested in chemistry, but pursued a degree in microbiology as my advisor told me there were more jobs in micro than chemistry. Bad advice.
Research focus (in non-science terms) or basic job duties? My job duties are to prepare the labs for the general chemistry, organic, quantitative and integrated labs in GBAD. I also help with lecture demos in the afternoons,
One thing that you truly love about your job? I enjoy working with the chem majors in the integrated labs. I also enjoy the faculty and instructors I work with.
One interesting/strange factoid about yourself. I collect rocks and minerals from all over the world and have dug quite a few in Oregon and Wyoming.
Area of Study / Position Title: General Chemistry Laboratory Coordinator
Why chemistry? (What about it initially interested you?): I liked science when I was young since it was a way to understand how the world works. I had an excellent chemistry teacher in high school and was very fortunate to receive a scholarship to study chemistry in college.
Research focus (in non-science terms) or basic job duties? I’m the instructor for general chemistry laboratory sections taught in LPSC. I develop course materials and manage the TAs who teach the laboratories. Occasionally I teach general chemistry lecture sections as well.
One thing you truly love about your job? It’s great to be able to work with colleagues and TAs to come up with new laboratory teaching pedagogies, and I love it when it’s clear something we’ve created is helping students gain a better understanding.
One interesting/strange factoid about yourself. I received my pilot’s license while in high school.