Blake Reed, Ph.D., serves as assistant professor of chemistry at Olivet College. His passion for teaching stems back to his time in high school, and Professor Reed hasn’t felt a tug toward another role since. He is particularly interested in inorganic chemistry and even holds a Ph.D. in the subject. While this may be Professor Reed’s first full-time teaching position, he sees himself as more than just a professor. He’s also a full-time mentor, role model and supporter to OC students.
Why do you love Olivet College?
Olivet College gives students many experiences that aren’t available to students at larger colleges. We are able to provide research opportunities, opportunities to go on trips around the world and opportunities to engage with members of the community. The faculty and staff are very helpful to students, and I love that we are able to get to know our students.
What is your favorite memory from your time serving OC?
My favorite memory so far is graduation. I love seeing how excited the students are about starting their life and how proud their parents are for the accomplishments they have had over the course of their college career.
Where do your passions for teaching and chemistry stem from?
My passion for teaching goes back to middle school. I had a math teacher who had injured her back and couldn’t stand in front of the class, so she would let me teach the class. I loved it and have loved teaching ever since. My favorite part of teaching is the moment when a student finally understands a concept they have been trying to learn. It is almost as if you can see the light switch turn on in their brain.
Chemistry is a language. It tells all of the secrets of the universe, and humans have spent thousands of years working through the intricate puzzles that chemistry presents. There is so much to learn and so much we will never learn, and that is fascinating to me.
What is your teaching style like?
A teaching style I have adapted is the “I do, we do, you do” method. I introduce topics in class via a lecture, then the students work through worksheets in class, and then they do homework problems on their own. This style allows me to present new concepts while allowing students to ask questions. They’re then able to attempt problems in class so that I can make corrections to errors in their thought process before they do homework by themselves.
What’s the average day in your role or some of the unique things you are responsible for?
My day consists of classes in the morning and afternoon and lab in the evening. My door is always open to students to come and get help with homework, as well as just to come in and chat. One of my favorite roles is being a senior class adviser. This allows me to help the graduating seniors transition from college to the real world. This was one of the most exciting points in my life, and I love getting to experience their transitions as well!
Why is attending OC the “Best. Decision. Ever.” a student can make?
Olivet College is a great place to learn, a great place to meet new people and a great place to call your “home away from home.” It is a place that will provide memories that will be with you for the rest of your life.
What do you look forward to in your role?
Every year, we attend Battle of the Chemistry Clubs, which is a chemistry competition between the chemistry clubs from all of the Michigan colleges. In 2018, we took second place, and I look forward to winning in the future!
What advice would you like to share with students?
If you work hard, you can accomplish anything you set your mind to. Don’t think that anything is beyond your reach.
What is an interesting or little-known fact about yourself?
I was a state champion in both freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling as a youth.