Pitzer College Professor of Chemistry Awarded National Research and Teaching Honor

Pitzer Professor Katie Purvis-Roberts with student in W.M. Keck Science Department laboratory Claremont, Calif. (August 5, 2013)—Pitzer College Associate Professor of Chemistry and Associate Dean of Faculty Katie Purvis-Roberts is one of seven outstanding undergraduate chemistry professors from across the country to receive the prestigious Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award. The award includes an unrestricted research grant of $60,000 to fund Purvis-Roberts’ research into air pollution’s chemical composition and the formation of particulate matter.

Funded by the Camille & Henry Dreyfus Foundation, the Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Awards Program supports the research and teaching careers of talented young faculty in the chemical sciences at undergraduate institutions. Professors are selected for their commitment to teaching and the quality of the research that they conduct with undergraduate students.

“The Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award is one of the most prestigious awards made to chemistry faculty and recognizes the outstanding contributions made by Dr. Purvis-Roberts, as a teacher-scholar,” said Pitzer College Dean of Faculty Muriel E. Poston, a plant biologist and environmental analysis professor.

Purvis-Roberts teaches at the W.M. Keck Science Department and was named Pitzer’s associate dean of faculty in July. She recently co-authored an article on secondary aerosol formation in the journal Atmospheric Environment, which was based on research conducted with Keck Science students, including Eric Praske ’13, who plans to pursue his PhD in atmospheric chemistry at the California Institute of Technology this fall. Purvis-Roberts frequently invites students to join her at scientific meetings so they can present their original research and experience the world of academia in action.

“I’m most proud that this award recognizes the collaborative work that I have done with undergraduates in the research laboratory,” Purvis-Roberts said. “It’s so important to me to incorporate students into independent research projects and enable them to present their findings at chemistry conferences. It gives them an understanding of what it’s like to be a scientist—it really is a hands-on endeavor. Teaching isn’t only in the classroom.”

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About Pitzer College

Pitzer College is a nationally top-ranked undergraduate liberal arts and sciences institution. A member of The Claremont Colleges, Pitzer offers a distinctive approach to a liberal arts education by linking intellectual inquiry with interdisciplinary studies, cultural immersion, social responsibility, and community involvement. For more information, please visit www.pitzer.edu.

About the W.M. Keck Science Department

The W.M. Keck Science Department is the interdisciplinary home to all biology, chemistry, and physics faculty for Pitzer, Claremont McKenna and Scripps colleges. The department is administered cooperatively and is housed within an 81,000-square-foot center located at the intersection of the three colleges. The department offers 13 discrete degree options, including dual-degree programs in partnership with schools of engineering and majors in conjunction with disciplines outside the sciences. The W.M. Keck Science Department provides comprehensive, interdisciplinary instruction in small class settings and numerous opportunities for students to conduct research.

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