Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, and my family moved to Canada when I was six years old. We lived in the Ottawa area for 12 years then the rest of my family moved back to the UK while I moved to the University of Guelph. As an undergraduate, I was a co-op student, which was a fantastic experience. I got to work on projects applying chemistry and biochemistry to a diverse range of projects from environmental remediation to vaccine development, and I made contacts that got me a job at a pharmaceutical company between degrees. I also moved 10 times in five years while having no family members living in the same country as me — which is likely a large part of why I tend to consider myself a citizen of the world rather than being "from" anywhere in particular. 

After completing a BSc in Applied Chemistry with an emphasis on Microbiology, I moved to Montreal to work for Merck Frosst Canada before moving to the University of Calgary to work on my PhD in Organic Chemistry in Brian Keay's lab. As much fun as I was having in the lab, teaching has always been my first love. 

My first ever job was as a chess tutor when I was eight years old and I've been teaching in some capacity ever since. 

So, after finishing my PhD, I moved to Lethbridge to teach full-time. Two years after I moved here, my parents moved to Lethbridge as well and, having grown up with the vast majority of my family overseas, I absolutely love the fact that my children are able to have dinner with their grandparents every weekend.

How long have you been at ULethbridge and what do you do here?
I have been teaching chemistry at ULethbridge for almost 20 years. As Introductory and Organic Chemistry Coordinator, I am the face of first- and second-year chemistry to hundreds of students every year. I work with my teaching teams to ensure consistent experiences in CHEM 1000, 2000, 2500 and 2600 so that every student is set up for success in the next course in the sequence, and I am the go-to person when students are looking for advice about anything relating to chemistry courses. I also create, manage and provide technical support for online homework in these courses, and I host both a YouTube channel and a website with thousands of chemistry resources. Visit me at Susan Findlay (!  

In addition to this work, I teach a highly interactive course on the organic chemistry of pharmaceutical design, my recent Teaching Fellowship project involved flipping the delivery of our second-year organic chemistry courses, and I was honoured with an Excellence in Teaching Award in 2021. I am also the ULethbridge institutional lead with the Canadian Consortium of Science Equity Scholars. 

Six years ago, I became both Associate Chair and Graduate Assistantship Coordinator for the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. As such, I am responsible for all things timetabling in our department as well as anything relating to our undergraduate chemistry programs. I have also become an active member of the General Faculties Council, several ULFA committees and working groups, and I am the chair of the Arts & Science Curriculum Committee. In the summers, I enjoy running outreach activities that introduce children to the wonders of science.

What is the best part of your job?
The best parts of my job are my colleagues and my students. 

I have been blessed to work in a truly supportive department and I cannot say enough wonderful things about the other members of my teaching teams. With that being said, my absolute favourite part of my job is being part of that magical moment when a student finally grasps a concept with which they'd been struggling. There is nothing better than knowing that you've made a positive impact on somebody's life.
The best part of chemistry specifically is getting to make beautifully coloured solutions, crystals or flames — and I absolutely adore any activity that allows the combination of chemistry and art.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I love reading, games, crafts and spending time outdoors; I'm also a musical theatre junkie. Over the years, I've enjoyed meeting people from all over campus playing Pokémon Go. At home, I have an extensive board game collection — some of which you may have seen over my shoulder in a Zoom or Teams meeting. My favourite game is Railroad Tycoon because you get to build a railway network on a giant map with lots of brightly coloured trains; I tend to prefer games where the goal is creation rather than destruction or obstruction. I've also played in the annual Student-Faculty Chess Challenge for most of my time at ULethbridge.

When I was younger, I was actively involved in Girl Guides of Canada — both as a youth member and as a Guider while working on my BSc and PhD. I also became a music trainer and taught other Guiders fun and simple science activities. Now that I have two sons, I have moved to Scouts Canada and am currently a Scouter with their Cub pack. My favourite parts of Guiding and Scouting are hiking, camping, canoeing and singing silly songs.