Typical day on the job:
I have two major responsibilities, one as professor of the organic chemistry course for majors and its laboratory and as a researcher in the areas of organometallic chemistry and chemical education. In the organometallic chemistry area, I explore the synthesis and characterization of a number of ferrocene derivatives and study their potential applications including as redox-sensors, polymers and in drug design. In education, my research work is based upon the theoretical perspective, building on constructivist learning theory, mostly applied to organic chemistry, green chemistry and history of chemistry learning.
My heavy teaching load is concentrated mostly in two days. This includes teaching the organic chemistry course for majors and supervising the class laboratory with the help of TAs and student mentors. The other three days I have the coordination meetings for the course, attend a wide range of committee meetings of and spend quality time with my research students.
I spend a lot of time in my research lab, but I also have a nice private office. I have a personal computer and access to the required equipment, including photocopier, printer, journals, etc.
I work more than 12 hours daily. My days at the University are fast paced and sometimes stressful. Last year I traveled about one week a month. Some travel was to scientific meetings to present my research results, other trips were related to my responsibilities with ACS, including traveling to Bogotá and Chile to implement an outreach event called “Festival de Química.” The Festival de Química is an initiative of the American Chemical Society. These events are designed to promote the public’s understanding of chemistry in the local communities and communicate the value and impact of chemistry in their lives.
Tools you can’t live without:
I can't live without my Mac! And my favorite software: MS Word and Chemdraw
Best productivity trick:
My passion for what I do!
As a long-term educator, my philosophy is to assist students in their career development by encouraging networking, teamwork, effective communication, and critical thinking. In addition to this role, I strongly believe in the development of students’ character and leadership by encouraging strong work ethics, service awareness and building self-esteem and self-insight. Together, this combination and foundation helps instill and inspire integrity, and a better overall technical professional.
Best career advice you’ve received:
Every day is a new day to improve ourselves!
Skills or talents that make you a good fit for your job:
I am always open to new ideas and I love to be creative.
Essential habit you wish you’d started earlier:
The best habit is be organized and to set priorities.
Favorite ACS resource:
I have many favorite resources, including ACS journals, Chemical & Engineering News, ChemMatters, Celebrating Chemistry (National Chemistry Week, and Chemists Celebrate Earth Day). All of them are very useful for my job and volunteer service.