Lyman Briggs College Professor of Chemistry Dr. Rob LaDuca focuses his energy and passion into teaching and mentoring of undergraduates.
Since he joined LBC in 2004, Dr. LaDuca has mentored numerous undergraduate students in his research into crystalline metal-organic polymers. He loves seeing students who may start off uncertain gain confidence and truly learn to see themselves as scientists.
It was this passion for the undergraduate research experience at LBC that inspired Dr. LaDuca to make a $125,000 planned gift to create the Robert L. LaDuca Fund for Lyman Briggs College Undergraduate Research Stipends, an endowment to support undergraduate research experiences for first generation LBC students.
One of the biggest challenges facing students today, Dr. LaDuca feels, is a lack of preparation in some Michigan high schools. Students from underfunded schools have often missed out on valuable math and science experience that leaves them feeling unprepared and uncertain about their ability to become a scientist.
Dr. LaDuca hopes that his planned gift will allow a bright and motivated student who might not have been able to afford to take an unpaid research position the opportunity to gain valuable experience learning new techniques, giving presentations and even publishing their work.
"Having published articles and lots of experience opens all kinds of doors to graduate schools or careers in the industry." said Dr. LaDuca.
Dr. LaDuca received his Bachelor's Degree in Chemistry from Yale University in 1989, and his Doctoral Degree in Inorganic Chemistry from Cornell University in 1995. He was a Professor at King's College in Pennsylvania until he joined the LBC community in 2004.
At LBC, Dr. LaDuca is known for his very lively and interactive general chemistry class sessions infused with remote response pad technology, group problem solving sessions, keen chemistry related humor, and popular internet memes.
Over the course of his career Dr. LaDuca has mentored over 75 undergraduate research students, whose hard work has resulted in over 200 scientific publications in international inorganic chemistry and crystallography journals. He has made a special effort to recruit research students from groups traditionally under-represented in scientific fields. His students' work has been featured as the featured front cover article on ten journal issues, including at the prestigious Royal Society of Chemistry (UK) journal CrystEngComm.
His passion for LBC stems from its unique mission, with a strong commitment to undergraduate education, world class lab resources, and living-learning community that allows him to form strong mentoring relationships with his students.
According to Dr. LaDuca, the best part of being a Spartan in LBC is being able to "mentor and teach hundreds of students over the years, getting them excited and interested in chemistry, and seeing them achieve more than they ever thought possible."
If you have interests in learning how you could support the students and programs of LBC using simple, and in some cases free, gifting options, please contact Jackie Richardson, director of development at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 517-353-4869.