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Chemistry professor loves her field

Chemistry professor loves her field

Chloe Gregg

Although chemistry may not be for everyone, Professor Dr. Ruyi Qi at LCC has loved it her whole life.

Qi has been a full-time faculty member in LCC's chemistry program for nearly 20 years. From a young age, she knew she loved chemistry and majored in it for her bachelor's, Master's and PhD.

"In China, we start learning chemistry in middle school," Qi said. "The first time I took the class, I loved it.

"One thing that really triggered my interest was, one time my chemistry teacher did a demo in the classroom. He soaked a Chinese dollar bill in alcohol and then burned the money, so the alcohol would burn with the flames, but afterwards, the money was untouched."

Dr. Qi received her bachelor's and master's degree by 1987 in China before moving all the way to the United States to finish out her PhD at Iowa State University.

After she graduated, she went to work at a company. When her husband was offered a job as a physicist at Michigan State University, they moved to Michigan.

Qi said she chose to teach at LCC because it felt like the right fit for her.

"I enjoy working with people and working with students," Qi said. "It's natural for me. The first two years, I taught part time until a full-time position came out and I applied. I've been teaching ever since."

Given that chemistry is one of the harder classes that students can take in college, Qi has advice for anyone who is struggling in her, or someone else's, chemistry class.

"You have to figure out where you struggle, or the reason," she said. "Sometimes, when students work full time or even over 40 hours a week, it's hard to focus. Chemistry is not something for most people (that) they're naturally good at. It will require more effort and time. You cannot wait until the last minute."

For students who are struggling to find the right field for them, Qi also gave some words of wisdom. She said that one truly has to love the field and have a passion for it.

"I love chemistry," Qi said. "Just because you encounter a certain topic and you like it, it doesn't mean that's your true love. Once you actually start learning, you may like (other majors).

"After you explore, and you still feel like that's the best major, then do it. You have to make sure that's what you truly love. College is the place to figure out what you like and what you don't." Madyson Decker, a former student of Qi, offered high praise for the teacher.

"I was never good at chemistry because I only took one class of it in high school, so going into her class I knew nothing," Decker said. "Dr. Qi was by far my favorite professor at LCC. You could tell in her class that she loved her job and teaching people."

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