I began teaching at Randolph College thinking that I would only be here a year. But when the opportunity arose to make the temporary position permanent, it wasn’t hard to make a decision. Randolph is a completely different world than I was accustomed to from my educational background at large state universities, and I really liked the personal feel of the college. The red brick campus began to feel like home almost immediately.
Environmental chemistry is my favorite course to teach because it brings together all of the material learned in introductory courses and places it in the context of important national and global issues. Smog, ozone depletion, greenhouse gas emissions, global warming, alternative fuels, and ground water contamination are all issues of tremendous current importance, and are also all issues that cannot be understood without understanding the chemistry of the species and processes involved. Although many of these issues represent great concerns, they also provide great opportunities for future creative chemists to make meaningful improvements to people’s lives.
I knew I wanted to be an organic chemist in high school and that I wanted to teach it at the college level by my sophomore year, so I'm pretty sure I've found my dream job! I also get to teach Biochemistry, a course in nutrition and Topics in Organic Chemistry. I advise students interested in the health professions and enjoy helping students both sort out their interests in the many fields available and work through the admissions prerequisites and required paperwork.
My current research interests involve the study of techniques to quantify antioxidants in foods and beverages as well as developing TLC staining methods for antioxidant fingerprinting. My students and I have analyzed chocolate, fresh and bottled juices, herbal teas, and colored rices most recently.
Physical chemistry has been a passion of mine ever since my first undergraduate thermodynamics course. Physical chemistry gracefully connects the fundamental physical descriptions of matter with the everyday properties of matter that we know and love. I teach courses in quantum mechanics, thermodynamics, materials science, as well as introductory general chemistry. I also advise chemistry majors interested in pursuing graduate school.
My current research interests are related to phenomena that occur at surfaces. We primarily use simulation techniques such as molecular dynamics and Density Functional Theory to understand surface structure and properties on the atomic scale.