Perfect Chemistry

Chemistry professor Kathleen Purvis-Roberts joins a select few this year as a 2013 recipient of the prestigious Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award. One of only seven people in the nation to receive the award this year, Purvis-Roberts is also the first faculty member in the W.M. Keck Science Department to claim the prize.

“I was honored,” says Purvis-Roberts, who will use the unrestricted $60,000 research grant to help fund continued research on chemical compositions in our air pollution. “It recognizes the research we do with our undergraduate students in the chemistry laboratory, which is one of my favorite aspects of being a professor.”

Purvis-Roberts joined the Keck faculty staff in 2001 and teaches general chemistry, analytical chemistry and environmental chemistry. She co-authored the book “Chemistry of the Environment” in 2011 and will release “Chemistry in Context,” a textbook for non-science majors, in January 2014.

“I love interacting with students and opening their eyes to concepts and ideas that they never thought of before,” she says. “The research laboratory is one of the best places to do this because we are working on completely novel projects and do not know exactly what we will discover in the end.”

The Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Awards Program, which administrates the grant, supports the research and teaching careers of young faculty in the chemical sciences at undergraduate institutions. The award is based on accomplishment in scholarly research with undergraduates, as well as a compelling commitment to teaching.