My interests lie in providing students with authentic learning experiences throughout their undergraduate degree. These efforts include providing undergraduate students with research opportunities where they perform fundamental studies investigating the fate of fluorinated organics in the environment and biological systems. This experience is extended to the students in my classes through project-based learning initiatives that tie the in-term assessments together by a single narrative. These projects provide context for the theory discussed in class and place students in the relevant and interesting roles of consultants or scientific advisors.
I am also interested in harnessing the power of the undergraduate laboratory to describe the world in which we live. I do this in the capstone laboratory course, CHM 410-1410 Analytical Environmental Chemistry, by infusing its laboratory curriculum with research quality analyses. CHM 410-1410 students analyze flame retardants in dust samples they bring to lab and they evaluate the quality of the air they breathe both outdoors and indoors. The class is involved in the long-term monitoring of a site on the Welland River that was contaminated by fluorinated organics as a result of Firefighter training activities at the Hamilton airport. CHM 410-1410 also includes a laboratory project where each lab group of 3-6 students investigate diverse topics from pharmaceuticals in university pool waters to aldehyde emissions from food trucks.
As an environmental chemist I am also interested in teaching and learning related to climate. To this end I led an effort to add climate and the greenhouse effect to our first-year laboratory curriculum, which has been a huge success! Building on the learning gains observed we are developing a cohesive first-year laboratory curriculum that will provide all in-coming life science students with a foundation in green and environmental chemistry.