Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Compassionate Chemistry

Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Compassionate Chemistry

Article excerpt

In India, teachers are highly respected. Growing up in a town about a hundred miles from New Delhi, Dr. Sardar Yousufzai was surrounded by educators, many of whom worked in the sciences. With influences from both his society and relatives, Yousufzai set forth on a path that has led to his position as an assistant professor in the Division of Natural Sciences at Paine College in Augusta, Georgia.

As a professor, Yousufzai not only educates students who attend the historically Black institution, but he introduces science to younger students in the Central Savannah River Area. This summer, he is celebrating a decade of hosting a free summer chemistry camp for middle school and high school youth.

Yousufzai was introduced to science at an early age by his brother-in-law, who had a "compassionate and loving style of teaching," he says. In response, he "became fascinated to learn."

During the summer camp, Yousufzai mimics this approach by providing a mix of basic instruction and demonstrations. "I make chemistry like a pie, so easy to eat, so easy," he says. The program began in 2006 with three or four students and has grown to about 100 participants each year, courtesy of Yousufzais simple formula.

In 2008, Yousufzai joined the American Chemical Society, where he is a local chapter chairperson with the responsibility of organizing programs to promote chemistry in minority communities. Along with Paine College, the ACS has been a resource to ensure that the summer program is free for students. And while he asks parents for donations, they are not mandatory, "so it's not a burden for anyone," he says.

Garnering a love of plants and animals in his youth, Yousufzai went to study science at Agra University, where he earned a bachelor's in chemistry in 1967. In order to become a professor in India, Yousufzai furthered his education, receiving a master's in microbiology and organic chemistry from Pantnagar University in 1971; a master's of philosophy in biochemistry from Aligarh Muslim University in 1975; and a doctorate in biochemistry from Aligarh Muslim University in 1977.

After working as a lecturer in India, Yousufzai received a scholarship to become a research associate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He worked in the Departments of Physiological Chemistry and Nutritional Sciences from 1978 until 1982. …

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