Deanna O’Donnell is an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Hamline, where she teaches Analytical Chemistry and Instrumental Methods. She began her scientific career at McMaster University in Canada receiving her BS degree in Chemistry. She earned her PhD from the University of Notre Dame in Physical Chemistry where she studied aqueous radicals using Time-Resolved Resonance Raman Spectroscopy. Dr. O’Donnell continued her training in a joint postdoctoral appointment at City College of New York and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Her post-doctoral work focused on developing Surface-Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy as a nondestructive method to analyze molecular dyes found in cultural heritage objects and controlled substances in forensic evidence. During her post-doc, she was also an adjunct instructor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice teaching General Chemistry. At Hamline, Dr. O’Donnell has continued to develop analytical methods for the analysis of small molecules relevant to the fields of forensic sciences and cultural heritage.
Whether she is leading a class or mentoring a research student, Dr. O’Donnell’s goal is to help her students build themselves a tool box full of skills so when they are confronted with a challenge they are able to fix it themselves. She emphasizes the development of skills; problem solving, communication, and teambuilding. In all of her classes, she emphasizes the importance of communication in both written and oral form. To assist in the students’ growth and the curricular team-based learning, she has introduced the StrengthsQuest™ program in her Instrumental Methods course. Students leave her class with a better understanding of their natural talents and how to use those talents for the betterment of the group’s scientific endeavors.
“Ultimately I want my students to leave my classroom with a greater understanding of themselves and a new perspective of the world. I believe my role as an educator is not to teach at my students but rather to empower students, providing them with the tools they need to navigate through any situation they encounter in the future. I feel I will have succeeded as an educator if my students improve their problem solving and communication skills and if I motivate them to apply this knowledge to synthesize solutions through self-conscious action.”
- Deanna O’Donnell