New Faculty Q & A: Mary Layne Harrell, Assistant Professor of Chemistry

DeVolder Family Science Center
WOU Assistant Professor of Chemistry Mary Layne Harrell smiles for a photograph. They are wearing a zip-up sweatshirt, and blue skies, water, and mountains can be seen in the background
Mary Layne Harrell

As part of our ongoing new faculty feature series, we spoke with Mary Layne Harrell, Assistant Professor of Chemistry. We asked Harrell about fall term classes, adventures outside of WOU, and the joys of chemistry.

Why did you choose WOU? 
When I interviewed, I got the sense that the school cares a lot about teaching which is important to me.

Why did you choose your field of study? 
I never expected to study chemistry. I didn’t even take a chemistry course until my sophomore year of college, but I just fell in love with it. It was so different than anything I had studied before and I found the concepts and labs to be really interesting.

Where is your office located? 
DeVolder Family Science Center, room 214.

What classes are you teaching this fall? 
Organic Chemistry I and General Chemistry I Lab.

How many years have you been teaching? 
This will be my third year.

What is a book that you recommend everyone read?
The Emperor of All Maladies is a phenomenal book. I’m not sure I’ve ever read a better science writer than Siddhartha Mukherjee.

What is your favorite place to vacation?
The beach or national parks.

On a Saturday morning, you can find me___?
Probably reading a book or catching up with friends and family.

What is your favorite class to teach?
I love teaching organic because it is so different than any other class. I struggled with it at times so I get really excited when students understand a difficult topic.

What was your favorite class to take as a student?
My favorite chemistry class was quantitative analysis which is really weird for an organic chemist!

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