MC’s Duncan to discuss brewing during Oct. 14 “Fireside Chat”

MC’s Duncan to discuss brewing during Oct. 14 “Fireside Chat” at RT Lodge

Sept. 27, 2019

Dr. Nathan Duncan, associate professor of chemistry at Maryville College, will discuss brewing during the next “Fireside Chats with Faculty” event on Mon., Oct. 14 from 5 p.m. until 6 p.m. around the firepit at RT Lodge.

The partnership between Maryville College and RT Lodge includes discussions led by Maryville College faculty members.

During the Oct. 14 event, Duncan will explain the chemistry that goes into beer making. Duncan teaches those concepts in his “Introduction to Brewing” course, which he teaches every spring at Maryville College.

“I’ll be bringing different malted grains and hops to aid discussing how each ingredient has a big role in the final product,” Duncan said. “This is a condensed and less formal version of what we do in the introduction to brewing class. I’ll also be talking a little bit about the history of beer, what I look for in a beer, and the things I think about when creating recipes.”

In addition to tasting beer samples made by Duncan, attendees will have the opportunity to purchase Duncan’s “Professor’s Picks” from RT Lodge’s seasonal beer list.

Duncan earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Baylor University in Waco, Texas, in 2004. He then continued at Baylor in the doctoral program in the lab of Dr. Charles Garner, focusing on organic synthesis of tridentate nitrogen ligands for transition metals. He completed his doctorate in 2009 and began a postdoctoral fellowship at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, researching three dimensional self-assembled covalently bonded polymers, as well as contributing to the team of researchers developing the next-generation caustic side cesium extraction process used to decontaminate legacy radioactive waste.

There is no cost to attend; however, only 25 spots are available, so reservations are required. To RSVP, please visit maryvillecollege.edu/fireside-chats and complete the registration form.

Two other “Fireside Chats with Faculty” events will be held this academic year. In January, Dr. Nancy Locklin-Sofer, MC professor of history, will discuss her new historical novel, and March, Dr. Jennifer Oody, assistant professor of exercise science, will discuss the “Exercise is Medicine on Campus” initiative and explain the link between fitness and happiness.

A joint venture

“Fireside Chats with Faculty” is a joint venture between Maryville College and RT Lodge that was launched in November 2018.

In May 2018, officials signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU), which states that Maryville College and RT Lodge will “partner to promote hospitality, environmentally sustainable practices, artisanal techniques and education in natural settings for the local, national and international community.”

Members of the College’s Strategic Partnerships Group (SPG) worked with the staff of RT Lodge to form the MOU and envision the fireside chats. SPG Chairperson Dr. Ariane Schratter said that the faculty who have been selected to lead the upcoming evening discussions will be able to tie their educational backgrounds and areas of expertise to related issues that are of local, national and/or global interest.

“We believe these participants will leave RT Lodge with new information, new perspectives and new friends,” Schratter said. “Maryville College encourages community building and lifelong learning. RT Lodge seeks to bring people together to work, learn and nurture ideas. We believe this is a wonderful, unique opportunity for the College, the Lodge and the citizens of our area.”

While there is no cost to participate in the evening discussion, individuals may enjoy dinner afterward in the Lodge restaurant, subject to availability. Reservations can be made on the online Open Table network or by contacting the Lodge at 865.981.9800. The RT Lodge restaurant is highly rated, and menus showcase fresh, seasonal ingredients sourced from local farms and providers. The cost of any food and drink served during or after the fireside chats is the responsibility of individual participants.


Maryville College is a nationally-ranked institution of higher learning and one of America’s oldest colleges. For more than 200 years, we’ve educated students to be giving citizens and gifted leaders, to study everything, so that they are prepared for anything — to address any problem, engage with any audience and launch successful careers right away. Located in Maryville, Tennessee, between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the city of Knoxville, Maryville College offers nearly 1,200  students from around the world both the beauty of a rural setting and the advantages of an urban center, as well as more than 60 majors, seven pre-professional programs and career preparation from their first day on campus to their last. Today, our 10,000 alumni are living life strong of mind and brave of heart and are prepared, in the words of our Presbyterian founder, to “do good on the largest possible scale.”