By Emma Reilly
When Assistant Professor of Chemistry Dr. Jeremy Bard tells someone that he is an organic chemist, he is often met with surprise.
“My dentist is the go-to,” Dr. Bard said. “Every single time I go he says, ‘that’s why I’m a dentist, because I hated organic chemistry.’”
Dr. Bard comes to Washington College from Roanoke College. He began teaching at the College in the fall. Here, he is hoping to instill a passion for chemistry in his students.
“I often get students that are very terrified of chemistry in many ways,” Dr. Bard said. “I want to try to illustrate to students that, while it can be challenging at certain higher levels, there are a lot of more accessible things and more interesting things that apply to our day-to-day lives.”
After earning his Bachelor of Science in Chemistry at Eastern Oregon University, Dr. Bard went on to pursue his PhD at the University of Oregon.
According to Dr. Bard, he thoroughly enjoyed the undergraduate organic chemistry courses that he took, and that was what motivated him to shift his focus toward the subject in graduate school.
In graduate school, Dr. Bard experimented in the lab with molecules that fluoresce in different colors. According to Dr. Bard, this kind of work has practical implications related to molecule imaging and sensing.
Dr. Bard incorporates everyday connections to chemistry into his courses at WC.
“As an organic chemist I have a good subject area to be able to introduce how certain things are made, and how that applies to our lives, and how certain types of molecules show up in different natural sources and all that,” Dr. Bard said.
Dr. Bard teaches a range of courses at WC, including an upper level organic molecules synthesis course, a suite of organic molecules reactions courses, and organic principles.
Working on projects with students was one of Dr. Bard’s favorite parts of graduate school; he is hoping to recreate that experience here at WC.
“One of the most rewarding things was working with an undergraduate student as a graduate student in the research lab,” Dr. Bard said. “Working with that student over a year and change, we were able to get one paper fully published and another should be published [in the future].”
The College’s Senior Capstone Experience will offer Dr. Bard the opportunity to achieve similar goals with his students here.
“Being able to see [my undergraduate lab partner] go from a teaching lab to applying that knowledge in a research setting and beyond…that’s something I’m excited for here too, with the Senior Capstone Experience program,” Dr. Bard said.
According to Dr. Bard, he worked closely with two supportive advisors while completing his PhD.
He “aspire[s] to create the same experience for my students that I had when I was an undergraduate,” according to the College’s website.
In addition to research, Dr. Bard values outreach, which he was involved with as an undergraduate student.
“In my four years at EOU,” Dr. Bard said, “we focused a ton on outreach with the chemistry club, going to local schools throughout the county. That was one of the really big things that made me want to stay on the education and outreach aspect [of the field]. WC seemed pretty amenable to that.”
When it comes to chemistry, Dr. Bard wants students to keep an open mind.
“While chemistry is a topic that not everyone wants to choose, I at least want to help create more appreciation for chemistry. There’s a lot of cool stuff out there that chemistry is behind,” Dr. Bard said. “I would encourage students to go for it. Everyone in the chemistry department loves teaching it.”