Professor Susanne Lewis has been teaching at Olivet College since 2004, and she has taught a wide range of chemistry courses with her primary focus being organic chemistry. As chair of the Mathematics and Natural Science Department, she works with department faculty to administer and advance the academic programs that are housed within the department. Professor Lewis was nominated for the 2013 U.S. Professor of the Year Award for her excellence in teaching and curricular development.
Professor Lewis earned a bachelor’s in chemistry from Regis College and doctorate in organic chemistry from the University of New Hampshire with a focus on mechanistic studies in carbene and polyurethane chemistry. Her dissertation research explored photolysis of a phenanthrene-based carbene precursor, mechanistic studies of triazinanetriols and difunctional isocyanates using calorimetry, and computational studies exploring the lowest energy pathway for the interconversion of axial-methylcyclohexane to equatorial-methylcyclohexane using semi-empirical levels of theory.
As part of her preparation for teaching at the college level, Professor Lewis completed a cognate in college teaching from the University of New Hampshire and was awarded the Future Faculty Scholarship. She is a member in good standing of the American Chemical Society (Chemical Education and Organic Chemistry divisions), the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Council on Undergraduate Research, the Midwestern Association of Chemistry Teachers in Liberal Arts Colleges, the Michigan Chemistry College Teachers Association, Sigma Zeta National Science and Mathematics Honor Society (Alpha Eta chapter) and Alpha Chi Sigma professional chemistry fraternity. Professor Lewis is also the Councilor for the Michigan State University Local Section of the American Chemical Society and advisor to Olivet College’s undergraduate chapter of the American Chemical Society, Gruen Chemistry Society.
Professor Lewis is passionate about providing students with the skills to understand course material by improving on the methods she learned as a student and providing an active-learning setting for learning. She understands that learning is a very interactive process and for students to truly learn something, they must understand it and make it their own. By engaging the students in the learning process, she hopes that students will develop the skill set that is needed for learning at higher cognitive levels. Her most important goal is to help students learn chemistry and enjoy it as much as she does.