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Mary Crawford

Professor of Chemistry

2 East South Street

Galesburg, IL 61401-4999



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Purple and yellow umbrellas on the Gizmo Patio.

Mary Crawford

At Knox Since: 1997

Professor of Chemistry

The support and guidance of her professors helped Crawford aspire to -- and become -- a chemistry professor at her alma mater.

You worked in private industry before returning to Knox. Do you ever regret that decision?

If I hadn't made that decision, I wouldn't have realized my passion. Those four years are so transformative in a person's life -- from high school to college graduate. There's no other time like it. And I get to help guide young people and help them realize their dreams and potential. I have no regrets.

Why is a liberal arts setting such a great place to learn chemistry?

(As a professional), you not only have to know how to do work in the lab, you have to know how to communicate about chemistry. You have to know how to interact with people, and it's not necessarily going to be people that do the same thing you do. Chemists and other scientists need to be able to speak and write well so they can get their ideas across to fellow scientists, as well as to non-scientists. I think people assume that scientists don't need writing skills. They need writing skills like you wouldn't believe.

You received a National Science Foundation Grant that allows your students to use new research-grade equipment to better understand the connections between their studies and real-world applications. One example of how this equipment will be used is to determine the authenticity of medieval documents. How do you think this will benefit your students?

Archaeology is something you don't think about, in terms of physical chemistry. But archaeologists use physical chemistry techniques to do their jobs. Challenging students to think about complex chemical reactions is what colleges like Knox are about. We challenge students to think outside of the cookie-cutter labs. We want them to investigate.

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Professor of Chemistry Mary Crawford with students in the lab.

#I know that I'm here because someone took an interest in me. So I try to take that same interest in my students.

Knox College

Printed on Thursday, April 19, 2018