Chemists in the Real World

Ingrid Montes

 


Ingrid Montes,
 Professor


Ingrid Montes is passionate about chemistry, her students, and ACS. A professor of organic chemistry at the University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras campus, Montes has served as the faculty advisor for the ACS student chapter for 22 years. She recently joined the ACS Board of Directors.

“For me ACS is not only the best professional organization, it has changed my life,” she says. “The ACS has given me many opportunities to serve and take my footprint far beyond what I ever imagined. ACS has been an integral part of the person, the educator, and the professional that I have turned out to be.”

Montes credits ACS with connecting her to excellent mentors throughout her career that have inspired her to be the same for her students. “I love to be an educator,” she says, “because it gives me the opportunity to meet students and contribute to their development as future professionals.” In her tenure as a professor, Montes has mentored and inspired thousands students, most specifically Hispanic women. 

What's a typical day on the job like?

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.

Are there any apps/software/instrumentation/tools that you can't live without?

I can't live without my Mac! And my favorite software: MS Word and Chemdraw

Describe your work environment.

I spend much time on 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.

Andrew at work

Does your job follow a typical 9-to-5 schedule?

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. http://www.acs.org/festival

What is your 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. 

What's the best career advice you've received?

Every day is a new day to improve ourselves!

Do you have any special talents or traits that make you a great fit for your job?

I am always open to new ideas and I love to be creative.

What essential habit do you have now that you wish you'd started much earlier?

The best habit is be organized and to set priorities.

What is your favorite ACS resource?

I have many favorite resources, including ACS journals, C&EN, ChemMatters, Celebrating Chemistry (NCW and CCED). All of them are very useful for my job and volunteer service.