School of Science professor named American Chemical Society fellow

Release Date: 
Jul 18 2017

Pratibha Varma-Nelson, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology in the School of Science at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) has been named a fellow of the American Chemical Society in recognition of her outstanding accomplishments in chemistry and important contributions to the world's largest scientific society.

Varma-Nelson is among 65 individuals selected to join the society as fellows this year, including Indiana University Bloomington Herman T. Briscoe Professor of Chemistry Dennis G. Peters. Both faculty members are distinguished for their contributions to chemistry education and international outreach.

Varma-Nelson is widely recognized as a pioneer in studying how students learn chemistry in face-to-face and online learning environments under a teaching model called Peer-Led Team Learning. This work has been supported by the National Science Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

She is also the founding co-principal investigator on the NSF-funded Center for Authentic Science Practice in Education, as well as the founding executive director of the STEM Education Innovation and Research Institute. Previously, Varma-Nelson served as the executive director of the Center for Teaching and Learning at IUPUI.

Internationally, she has served as a delegate to China on behalf of Project Kaleidoscope, which is now part of the Association of American Colleges and Universities. She also served as an American Chemical Society delegate to India and Cuba in 2014 and 1998, respectively, and a consultant on the establishment of Centers for Teaching and Learning in China, India, Italy and Turkey.

Varma-Nelson is the author of multiple publications about Peer-Led Team Learning and the Center for Authentic Science Practice in Education, and she is a co-author on the American Association for the Advancement of Science's 2011 "Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education" report. She has been previously recognized by the American Chemical Society for contributions to education and diversity in chemistry.

Varma-Nelson will be recognized as a fellow Aug. 21 during a ceremony and reception at the society's 254th National Meeting & Exposition in Washington, D.C.

The American Chemical Society is a not-for-profit organization chartered by the U.S. Congress. The organization is a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related information and research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences.