When teaching complicated chemistry concepts, it takes talent to engage students in the classroom.
“I work hard to convince students that the molecular basis of life is a really compelling subject,” said Susan Pedigo, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Mississippi.
Pedigo undoubtedly has a talent for teaching. She was recently named 2012 Outstanding Teacher of the Year for the College of Liberal Arts. “As a professor, research director, adviser, mentor and friend, Dr. Pedigo is incomparably held in such high esteem by her students,” said a former student who nominated Pedigo for the award. “Her passion and love for her work is highly underrated for an exceptional instructor on the collegiate level. She is extremely knowledgeable and current in the discipline that she has undertaken and imparts all of what she knows upon her students. “Dr. Pedigo is extremely understanding, a good listener and attuned to students needs beyond the classroom. As a woman, I look up to Dr. Pedigo. She personifies the success and increasing presence of women in the STEM fields, which until recently has been dominated by males.”
Another UM alumnus is thankful for Pedigo’s instruction during his time at the university.
“I had the pleasure of having Dr. Pedigo my junior year as my biochemistry professor for two semesters,” he wrote in his nomination letter. “I have enjoyed and profited from few courses in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry as much as hers. In every class, Dr. Pedigo took a myriad of fine and subtle details and wove them into synthesized picture that was clear and succinct.
“Now that I have moved on to professional school at the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy, … I have appreciated her tutelage more than ever. We are now finishing up our biochemistry class, and I have excelled in this class far beyond my colleagues, even those who have had biochemistry courses before. I believe that’s not because I somehow memorized these facts better than my peers, but because Dr. Pedigo showed me how all of the relevant facts of biochemistry work together to accomplish a common purpose: the working of life itself.”
Pedigo’s enthusiasm for teaching is one of the reasons that she was awarded Outstanding Teacher of the Year.
“I like the sense of a shared experience, a journey that I am on with the students,” she said. “I tell them a story and have to read whether they are with me or not, and how to work the explanation to make sure they follow me. It is a dance.”
Dor more information about the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, go to http://www.olemiss.edu/depts/chemistry/.