Faculty Spotlight – Dr. David Cartrette
Meet Dr. David Cartrette, Pfeiffer’s Associate Professor and Program Coordinator for Chemistry. Dr. Cartrette teaches General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, and Biochemistry for the nursing major. He also teaches Organic Chemistry I and II, Physical Chemistry I and II, Biochemistry, and Chemistry Research.
Dr. Cartrette says that his interest in pursuing chemistry started with an organic chemistry class that he had to repeat when he was an undergraduate. “I’m not entirely sure whether there was a genuine interest in the subject, or whether I was determined not to let it “beat me.” Whatever the case, I didn’t fully understand organic chemistry until I was a teaching assistant for it in [graduate] school. After that experience, the light came on for me and that really propelled my interest,” Dr. Cartrette said.
Dr. Cartrette reflected on his experiences in college and what he would like for his own students to take away from his classes: “I remember very little from many of my undergraduate courses in terms of content. From all of my undergraduate (and graduate) courses, I took away an appreciation for the subject, even if it didn’t interest me deeply. That’s what I hope my own students take away: a greater appreciation for all the work that scientists before us have done to bring us to this point of understanding,” he said.
When asked about his career achievements, Dr. Cartrette said, “I would say the most notable of my achievements are publishing original research work in several highly ranked journals; obtaining a competitive grant from the National Science Foundation to assist with changing chemistry instruction in the first two years; and attending conferences both nationally and internationally. It should be noted, though, that all of these things were collaborations, and would not have been possible without the contributions of colleagues and students!”
Dr. Cartrette is currently collaborating with a friend and colleague at NC A&T University on a project that links the learning of chemistry to the learning of foreign languages. He and his colleague believe that the project will be of significant assistance in helping students learning chemistry.