ROBERT CLARK, Ph.D., assistant professor of chemistry, often sits down for a meal with students who are interested in pursuing a career in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (stem). “Our get-togethers are for community building among the students,” Professor Clark explains. “They look forward to it, and it’s also energizing for me. We are like a family.”
These experiences are just one example of Professor Clark’s innovative teaching. He has “inverted” his classroom — moving away from classic lectures and integrating hands-on activities. He was presented with Valpo’s Excellence in Teaching award in 2015 in recognition of his innovative teaching.
“For me, the overarching theme in everything I do is to foster student success. I want my passions for science and education to contribute in a worthwhile way to making the world a better place,” he says.
The impact of his passion and mentoring are evident in the early career path of Katelyn Stermer ’14. With Professor Clark’s encouragement, she worked in underserved clinics in Central America and Africa during service-learning trips. That experience strengthened her interest in public health, leading to her current pursuit of a master’s degree in public health at the University of Illinois – Chicago.