Passing the flame

Posted on Sep 10, 2014

Rock Valley College faculty are highly-qualified instructors in their disciplines, with approximately 20 percent holding a doctorate in their field.  Many of these individuals have chosen RVC because of their passion to teach.  The daily interaction with students is their primary focus and that is their preference.

Pearl Kinney, PhDRVC Organic Chemistry Associate Professor Pearl Kinney, PhD talks about what motivates her to teach.

” After receiving my doctorate, I went into industry for two years where I had experience working with very well-trained chemists.  Although I loved the work in the lab, after a few months I realized that what I missed was the accountability of working with the students.

I enjoyed working with students every day, having to be at the top of my game and prepared to answer any question they might have.”

As an undergraduate pre-med student I developed a love of chemistry.  During my senior year, I was a teaching assistant and found that I loved teaching and realized that medicine was probably not my preferred career.

In graduate school, I had an organic chemistry instructor whom I loved, and he was passionate about the subject.  I developed that same passion and knew that would be my field.  So, I found a professor who needed a research assistant and I was able to work on a research project that I really enjoyed.  I was also fortunate to work as an adjunct chemistry professor at Rock Valley College.

Teaching has been the most significant accomplishment of my career.  I have taught at all levels and enjoy being able to work with students who come in afraid of the idea of chemistry and allowing them to see that it’s the same thing they do in kitchens, but in a laboratory setting.  On the other end of the spectrum, I now work with second-year students who are in higher level chemistry with plans for a career in medicine, chemistry or pharmacy.  Their ambition, motivation and determination are exciting.

Every year, I am so energized at the beginning of the school year to be in the classroom.  I love to observe the learning process and to witness when a student truly understands a concept.  It’s so amazing to see that passion stirred in them as it was stirred in me.”


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