Chair, Division of Natural Sciences, Associate Professor of Chemistry

Welcome to my page. I teach Biochemistry and Molecular Biology as well as General Chemistry at Maryville College. Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to teach freshman- and senior-seminar courses on interdisciplinary topics that are of interest to me, such as US Food and Drug Laws, Explosive Chemistry, and Global Poverty and Public Health (renamed to Health and Wealth Disparities).

Together with, Dr. Maria Siopsis (Associate Professor of Mathematics), I’m co-director of the Scots Science Scholars program, which is supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation and has the goal of increasing the number of students graduating with STEM majors at Maryville College. Over the last several years, graduation rates have increased and many Scots Science Scholars have gone on to fulfilling STEM careers or graduate and medical school.   The Scots Science Scholars have become a positive force at Maryville College, serving as leaders in Student Government Association, The Biology Honor Society (Tri-Beta), and The American Chemical Society. Many of our students serve as athletic trainers, and several have earned research grants and presented their work at national science and mathematics conferences. You can read more about the program here:   Scots Science Scholars Web PageScots Science Scholars Blog and Scots Science Scholars Facebook Page.

I graduated twice from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, with a BS in Biology in 1993 and a PhD in Biochemistry in 1998. An undergraduate research project in the laboratory of Dr. Cynthia Peterson transitioned to a dissertation project. The work focused on characterizing interactions of the plasma protein, vitronectin, with other molecules in the blood and extracellular matrix. Upon completing the PhD, I joined Dr. David Garber’s lab at the other UT (the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center) as a Howard Hughes Postdoctoral Fellow to study guanylyl cyclase receptors.

Eager to gain experience as a writer and educator, I joined a growing company, Physicians Education Resource (PER) as a medical writer in 1999, preparing educational materials for oncologists and review articles for oncology journals. During my time with PER, the company grew and expanded, publishing with its sister company, Cancer Information Group (CIG), more than 10 peer-reviewed oncology journals. I served as medical writer and managing editor for the company in Dallas, until I moved with my husband and first-born son back to Tennessee in 2001 so that my husband could explore the option of working in the family business. I continued to work for PER/CIG until I joined the Maryville College faculty in the Fall of 2005. The experience as a medical writer provided important perspectives on the social impacts of science and medicine that continue to influence both my teaching and research interests and help me advise students on science-related career fields that they may never have known existed.

Currently, my research interests are in the area of structural biology (protein-protein interactions), STEM education research (identifying factors and strategies to help more students succeed in STEM fields), and navigating life with my husband and 4 kids.