Lou Charkoudian ’03 Wins 2019 Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award
The associate professor of chemistry is the sixth recent member of her department to receive the award, which recognizes young faculty at primarily undergraduate institutions who are both accomplished researchers and outstanding educators.
Associate Professor of Chemistry Lou Charkoudian is one of eight early-stage faculty in the chemical sciences from across the country selected for the Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award this year. The award honors outstanding faculty who are both accomplished at teaching undergraduates and conducting their own scientific research.
“The Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award acknowledges the critical role of teaching and mentoring, in addition to research, in the advancement of the chemical sciences,” said Charkoudian. “It means a lot to be recognized alongside a team of teacher-scholars who are working hard to advance the field in rigorous, supportive, inclusive, and student-centric ways.”
Charkoudian, herself a 2003 graduate of Haverford College, returned to campus to join the chemistry faculty in 2013 and was promoted to associate professor earlier this year. Her lab studies how nature creates structurally complex molecules, and uses bioorganic chemistry, biochemistry, and biophysics to understand and discover new ways to make molecules. Charkoudian’s work is supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, and the Research Corporation for Science Advancement, which named her a Cottrell Scholar in 2018.
The Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award is an unrestricted grant of $75,000 given by the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation, a leading non-profit organization devoted to the advancement of the chemical sciences. Charkoudian plans to use her award funds to continue her undergraduate-fueled lab’s research in natural product biosynthesis and to support the creation of inclusive pedagogical practices in Haverford’s Department of Chemistry.
“We hope to use some of these funds to continue our peer-led team learning program that was spearheaded by former Visiting Assistant Professor Stephen Podowitz-Thomas (now Assistant Professor at Thomas Jefferson University) in conjunction with the Office of Academic Resources and Lumina Foundation in our general chemistry and organic chemistry courses,” she said. “I also am eager to create video protocols to supplement the written laboratory procedures used in my research lab and ‘Superlab’ classes to make these protocols more accessible and inclusive.”
Charkoudian is the sixth recent member of the Haverford chemistry faculty to be honored with a Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, following Helen White, Casey Londergan, Joshaua Schrier, Alexander Norquist, and Karin Åkerfeldt. And she credits her success, in part, to her department’s emphasis on a teacher-scholar model that keeps what is best for their students as its guiding principle.
“Our department is amazing,” she said. “My colleagues set an extremely high bar and have flooded me with unrelenting support and encouragement as I develop my own identity as a teacher-scholar. … I think our department is so deep with Dreyfus recipients because the Dreyfus organization appreciates and acknowledges holistic teacher/scholar/mentor and student-centric approaches that my colleagues exquisitely model.”