Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born in Saint John and grew up in different communities in southern New Brunswick. I completed my BSc with an Honors in chemistry and mathematics at Mount Allison University, where I met my husband. I completed my PhD in computational chemistry at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. My husband and I traveled to Canberra, Australia where we lived for two years while I completed my NSERC-funded postdoctoral fellowship. We returned to New Brunswick after I secured my first faculty position at Mount Allison University. Although I loved teaching and working with undergraduate students in my research lab, I was attracted to a position at the University of Lethbridge that allowed me to expand my research team to include graduate students.
How long have you been at the U of L and what do you do here?
I joined the U of L in 2006 as a Tier II Canada Research Chair in computational chemistry. I am now a Professor and Tier I Board of Governors research chair. I teach second, third and fourth year physical and computational chemistry courses and work with graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and undergraduate students in my research lab.
What’s the best part of your job?
The best and most meaningful part of my job is working with my students in my research lab. This is really a different type of teaching and mentoring. It is especially rewarding to see my students succeed by publishing their work, receiving high profile national scholarships and winning awards for their research presentations at national and international conferences.
What are you most looking forward to for National Chemistry Week?
I am very much looking forward to the 2021 National Chemistry Week because of the hard work done by our students to establish three important chemistry clubs at the U of L that are local chapters of those run by the national Chemical Institute of Canada and the Canadian Society of Chemistry.
My goal in spearheading the establishment of these clubs over the past six months has been to rejuvenate the student experience in chemistry following the online learning environment we have experienced because of the pandemic. We have fantastic students at the U of L and they deserve to have safe spaces to get support that helps them achieve their goals in the chemical sciences. I felt that the support that did exist on campus disappeared last year because of Covid. Although the 2021 events will take place in a virtual environment, the student executive members of all three clubs have shown such enthusiasm that I am confident we will inspire more students to participate in chemistry.
What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?
I am very much a family-oriented person and enjoy spending time with my husband, daughter, and son outside of work. We enjoy hiking and biking, locally and in the mountains. My family would tell you that I am also an extremely competitive person during family game nights.