The Department of Biology and Chemistry welcomes its newest faculty member this year: Assistant Professor of Chemistry, Dr. Carrie Read Spray. With her Ph.D. in Chemistry from Purdue University, Dr. Read Spray joins ENC after a two year visiting professor position at Smith College.
“I am pretty normal,” she said about herself. “I work a lot and spend time with family and friends in my free time.”
Dr. Read Spray began in a small liberal arts college, a branch of the University of Virginia. In her junior year of undergrad, she took both the MCAT and GRE, unsure of whether she wanted to go to med-school or grad-school for chemistry. After tutoring, being a TA, and job shadowing during her undergraduate years, Dr. Read Spray decided that she would rather teach chemistry and perform research. “For a while I thought, if you wanted to go into education you would have to get a master’s in education or teaching certification to teach high school, but I knew I didn’t want to teach high school.” She entered graduate school knowing she wanted to teach chemistry to college students.
Aside from her research in chemistry, Dr. Read Spray is also interested in academic research. “How do we find new ways to get students to learn certain materials?” She explained. “What technologies can you bring into the classroom, or what different pedagogy can you bring into the classroom that helps them understand the concepts more? How can your tailor the curriculum to actually fit that?”
Her chemistry research focuses on materials that can be used for clean energy, such as semi-conductor materials for water splitting devices, “although the efficiency and types of materials need to be improved upon,” Dr. Read Spray said. “There are people all across the globe working on these types of projects.”
Dr. Read Spray encourages students, who might not know what they want to do, by saying, “[Ask yourself,] what is your ultimate goal? What is the type of thing you want to pursue or accomplish?” She continued, “Get experience, first-hand experience, don’t just talk to doctors, or think about what you want to do, but actually get hands-on experience to see what they do on a daily basis. Once you follow someone through their day, you yourself can determine if that’s what you want to do… If you’re unhappy in your job, you’ll never be able to bring joy to others.”
Dr. Read Spray lives with her husband Ryan and their dog Porter.