In 1992, I returned to school to study chemistry, and I have been involved in the discipline ever since. After completing my 2 Bachelors degrees (Biology, Chemistry) from VCU, I enrolled in the graduate program at the University of Arizona.
There, I found that teaching chemistry to others interested me more than lab work, and I left after earning a Masters degree, even though I was still on track for the PhD. I, along with my family, returned to Richmond where I taught at VCU as an adjunct, worked in several lab settings, and helped in the Office of Environmental Safety at the universisty.
I began teaching as full-time faculty in 2001 and have continued in this role to the present. My teaching includes the following sections:
2 sections of Introductory Chemistry (CHEM 100)
Approximately 6 sections of General Chemistry I (CHEM 101)
Approximately 6 sections of General Chemistry II (CHEM 102)
Approximately 30 sections of Organic Chemistry I (CHEM 301)
Approximately 30 sections of Organic Chemistry II (CHEM 302)
2 sections of Analytical Chemistry (CHEM 309)
From these numbers, it's clear that my focus in the department is the teaching of organic, however I very much enjoy working with general chemistry students.
I also worked at a private tutoring company for 5 years, working on chemistry with MCAT, DAT, and PCAT students. I also taught the Perceptual Ability portion of the DAT.
Essentially, I have over 20 years experience teaching chemistry at the university level.
Education & Certification
Undergraduate Degree: Virginia Commonwealth University - Bachelors, Biology and Chemistry
Graduate Degree: University of Arizona - Masters, Chemistry
Environmental activism; Political involvement; Physical activiies (running, swimming)
Q & A
What is your teaching philosophy?
Socratic. I ask a lot of questions. My students say that my enthusiasm for the subject is obvious. Whenever possible, I tie real world phenomena into the theoretical presentation of material.
If a student has difficulty learning a skill or concept, what would you do?
It depends on the hang-up. I think I'm experienced enough to personalize an approach, and have the ability to try a different explanation for most topics.
How do you help students who are struggling with reading comprehension?
It's not usually an issue with chemistry, but in word problems, it's important to get the student to focus on exactly what's being asked. Often, they fail to see what information they need to use.
What strategies have you found to be most successful when you start to work with a student?
Introducing myself. Letting them know that I've worked with thousands of students, and that many, many others have had difficulty with chemistry, but there are countless examples of struggling students who have turned into outstanding performers with, often, just a change in approach to the material.