Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

Thandi Buthelezi

What I teach:  “Chemical Principles,” “Chemical Thermodynamics,” “Quantum Chemistry,” and “Lasers in Everyday Life”

What keeps me excited about teaching: I enjoy sharing chemistry knowledge and interacting with my students. I find that actively engaging students in lecture and hands-on lab experiences enhances the teaching and learning process.

Why I chose Wheaton: I chose Wheaton because it is a liberal arts college that offers small-size classes and the “Connections Curriculum.” When students learn to make connections between different disciplines not only does it broaden their thinking, but it also enhances their creativity.

My research focus: My research is on host/guest chemistry of cyclophane/aromatic compound and cyclodextrin/spiropyran complexes. I am interested in measuring binding energies and chemical dynamics of these systems. Potential applications of this work is in biological systems, increasing the solubility of drugs in water, development of drug delivery devices, fluorescent biomarkers, and optical data storage.

The non-science major course I’m teaching now and what I hope my students get from it: I teach “Lasers in Everyday Life.” I hope that my students learn how a laser works and how its use is ubiquitous in our society. At the end of the course they should know how lasers are used in everyday life; examples include supermarket scanners, cell phones, internet,  medicine, military, making holograms, and in the creation of laser light show displays.

What I want every  student to learn: I want students to learn how to apply their creativity and knowledge to scientific and everyday life problem-solving.

One of the best books I’ve read: Anticancer: A New Way of Life by David Servan-Schreiber.