UW-River Falls

Assistant Professor

I am an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls (UWRF). Originally, I am from West Virginia, and it is there that I graduated from Wheeling Jesuit University with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry for my undergraduate degree. I then earned my doctoral degree in chemistry at the University of Cincinnati, studying greener organic reactions via mechanochemistry under the guidance of Dr. James Mack and Dr. Hairong Guan. While in graduate school, I earned a certificate from the Preparing Future Faculty program. This experience fueled my interest in education and helped lead me to my current position at UWRF. At UWRF, I teach mostly organic chemistry to a variety of students. Additionally, I serve as the secretary for the Minnesota Local American Chemical Society Section and I am continuing my mechanochemistry research with undergraduate students using funding from a Petroleum Research Fund Award sponsored by the American Chemical Society. When I am not in the classroom or the lab, I like to hang out with my husband and cats, play trivia with friends at local breweries, spend time in the garden, and make cross stitch pieces for family and friends.

Teaching and Learning Philosophy

Throughout my academic career, I have tried to center much of my teaching, research, and service around activities that embody equity, diversity, and inclusion. Persistence in STEM majors for women and students of color is lacking, so I focus my attention on evidence-based practices that can help to limit this disparity. One of my main strategies for being inclusive is to be as straightforward and organized with how my class works as possible. My syllabus and schedule are detailed and list what students should expect on any given day, lending to a structured environment. I want my students to be able to easily navigate the course so that they can spend more time working on the organic chemistry content. I employ a flipped classroom so that students can watch and re-watch videos on content as many times as needed. Giving students access to the content outside of class gives me time during our scheduled meetings to connect with students and help them with their problem-solving strategies by working through relevant worksheets. Active learning like this has shown to improve achievement gaps for underrepresented students.

In addition to the nuts-and-bolts of the course, I try to bring my research on green chemistry in as much as possible. The social justice topics that are present in green chemistry can be addressed through the lens of organic chemistry and hopefully give students a connection to the material. My hope is that it shows them that they have a place of belonging in chemistry and that by learning the fundamentals of this science, they can help make change. With a highly structured course and a focus on green organic chemistry, my aim is to create a more equitable learning environment focused on “active learning with relevancy.”