“Our complex society requires interdisciplinary collaboration, and it is my hope for GCC students that they learn the value of teamwork for the attainment of a common goal.”
Dr. Chulsung Kim, who is a professor of chemistry at Stella and Charles Guttman Community College, attended New York University for his Master’s degree, and he received his Ph.D. from Iowa State University. After receiving his Ph.D., Professor Kim worked at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology as a post-doctoral researcher, concentrating on water chemistry. “My research and trained disciplines are environmental chemistry and analytical chemistry, focusing on the remediation of contaminated natural resources,” says Professor Kim.
The opportunity to participate in building a new science curriculum attracted Professor Kim to Guttman College, which he joined in 2013. For the last eight years, Professor Kim has overseen the City University of New York Research Scholars Program (CRSP) at Guttman College. “I have observed Guttman CRSP students’ ambition and successes during this period,” says Professor Kim. Professor Kim was particularly encouraged by the student’s academic accomplishments, with their enthusiasm for their research inspiring Professor Kim in his own work. “I believe all voluntary research advisors feel the same way I do,” says Professor Kim. Professor Kim’s present research has focused on the application of non-toxic, environmentally friendly, natural products to detoxify contaminated wastes. When asked what professional accomplishment is his greatest source of pride, Professor Kim mentions his activities in upper-level chemistry courses.
“Students gained exposure to science research experiences in the early stage of their STEM careers,” says Professor Kim. “As a teaching instructor, it is a valuable opportunity to transfer professional experiences to students.” Professor Kim notes that being able to work with one’s peers can be a determining factor for academic and professional triumphs, which is why the ability to collaborate effectively is one skill he is most keen to pass on to his students. “Our complex society requires interdisciplinary collaboration, and it is my hope for GCC students that they learn the value of teamwork for the attainment of a common goal.”
To help realize this pedagogical goal—i.e. of students recognizing the value of teamwork—Professor Kim describes his own teaching style as a “hybrid pedagogy, including traditional lectures with hands-on, activity-based learning.” At Guttman, Professor Kim teaches courses on chemistry, statistics, and quantitative reasoning. “As a scientist and educator,” says Professor Kim, “it is essential to help students consider science as a method of inquiry and process to find potential solutions.” This method of inquiry and process benefits from working with peers who can identify blind spots in our own ways of thinking.
Professor Kim practices what he preaches—teaches—as he has worked with more than 20 Guttman students in three primary research directions: (1) developing toxic chemical analysis techniques; (2) applying environmentally friendly chemicals for the remediation of contaminated natural resources; and (3) determining antioxidant amounts in various citrus fruit peels. Most students have participated in regional and national conferences to present their findings.