Associate Professor of Chemistry
Mtech - Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, India
Ph.D., Northwestern University
Sunil's Teaching Philosophy:
The contours of my philosophy of teaching have been shaped by the field of biochemistry, my academic area of focus. Biochemistry as a scientific field is a rich, integrative field that stands at the nexus of chemistry and biology; at the nexus of the microscopic and macroscopic worlds.
A biochemist uses knowledge from fields as diverse as physics, computer science, genetics, geometry, statistics, etc.; and in turn contributes to the understanding of fields as diverse as physiology, crystallography, molecular biology, immunology, etc.
Each of these fields has its own emphasis and mode of experimentation, with various knowledge strands weaving together to create a tapestry of the molecular basis of life. It is this richness and inter-connectedness I emphasize in teaching. I hope to be the students’ guide on their journey of discovery, using multiple approaches to motivate students and keep them interested.
Sunil's Professional Involvement:
I am one of the organizers of a faculty workshop on teaching Food Chemistry conducted through the NSF-funded Center for Workshops in the Chemical Sciences.
I, along with Jason Stecklein, was awarded the 2008 HP Technology for Teaching grant titled “A Mobile Technology Enabled Collaboratory for Physics and Biochemistry”. Tablet PCs and other technology were valued at $84,000.
I was invited to the POGIL Biochemistry Core Collaborators Workshop, to develop classroom teaching materials in Summer 2009 at St. Thomas College, St. Paul, MN.
I am the Chair-elect for the IA-IL section of the American Chemical Society.
Clarke's Impact on Sunil:
I have always been open to experiences outside my field, but I never imagined that I could compose music and do a Biochemistry project with Art students. I have broadened my horizons in ways I could not imagine.
How Sunil Impacts Students:
One of my proudest moments was convincing a student that he should apply for a summer internship at the National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network- he was one of only 70 students nationwide who was accepted.
Why Sunil Chose Clarke:
Two reasons: (1) a small department allows me to teach multiple courses, and indulge my passion for Biochemistry and Food Chemistry (2) a liberal arts atmosphere that allows me to interact with bright minds across multiple disciplines. The beauty of Dubuque did not hurt!
Why Students should choose Clarke:
At Clarke, you are not a statistic. You are part of a family. And in the biochemistry program, we make sure you are prepared for success.
Sunil's Extracurricular Activities and Interests
I do a lot of theatre- working both on stage and backstage. My proudest moment on stage was when I played 17 roles in A Perfect Ganesh, from an uptight professor (typecasting!) to a hate crime victim. I have directed prize-winning plays and will soon be directing my first full-length play Naomi is an ocean in Nigeria written by Clarke Professor of English Gary Arms.
I have also done sound design for more than 20 productions- composing my own pieces for several of them. Clarke’s music department graciously lets me play with their high-tech toys in the Composition lab.