Submitted by Sergio Lovera / University of California, Riverside on Wed, 06/29/2022 - 14:17
My Notes

The slides are geared for students at any level of chemistry. The objective is to give an example of a scholar who followed a non-traditional path to becoming a professor, working while taking classes, taking more time to graduate, and becoming an accomplished researcher. An activity based on obtaining information from a group website is attached at the end of the slides. The hope is to have students obtain information relevant to a certain PI and hopefully will help them make future choices. 

Learning Goals

After reviewing this LO, students should understand that there isn’t one perfect route into STEM and that while following a non-traditional career path, and especially a non-traditional career timeline may prove difficult, it is still possible.  They also will gain experience navigating through a professor’s website and extracting any relevant information from it like contact info, research goals, funding, and examples of CVs and publications.

Implementation Notes

First, go through the linked slides and use the PPT talking notes (below) to discuss Dr. Lavallo’s background and career path. Then, allow the students to individually navigate through each of the tabs of Dr. Lavallo’s website (5 minutes). Afterwards, break the students into groups of 3-4 and allow them to answer the discussion questions. Finally, after 15-20 minutes, lead a class discussion based on the questions above. Answers are provided on final slides and may need updates in the future.

Timeline Talking Points 

  • Box 1:
    • Born on base at Camp Pendleton
    • Raised in Vista, CA
    • Dropped out of high school and received his GED
  • Box 2: CC and odd jobs
    • Started taking courses at Palomar Community College while working at McDonalds and as a janitor
    • 5 years of CC: mostly at PC and a short stint at East LA College 
  • Box 3: BA Chemistry, UCR
    • After 5 years of community college, Vince transferred to UC Riverside and graduated with a BA in Chemistry in 4 years while performing undergraduate research with Guy Bertrand.
    • Projects: Novel Stable Carbenes/ Transition Metal Catalysts, CAACs.
  • Box 4: PhD
    • Vince then decided to stay at UCR for his PhD and completed it within 2.5 years, an uncommon and impressive feat. 
  • Box 5:
    • He then spent 3 years as a postdoctoral scholar working with Dr. Robert H. Grubbs (Nobel Laureate, 2005)
    • Project: Exploratory Iron Chemistry/Catalysis (2008 - 2011)
  • Box 6: 
    • Vince then became an Assistant Professor at UC Riverside (2011 - 2017), and is now an Associate Professor with tenure (2017 - present)
Time Required
30 minutes
Evaluation Methods

While this LO has not been evaluated, it might be interesting to use profiles such as this one throughout an undergraduate course and use a survey to assess whether exposure to these profiles had a positive impact on students and affect their perception of the availability of these career paths.

Evaluation Results

This LO has not been evaluated yet. 

Creative Commons License
Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share Alike CC BY-NC-SA