I am very interested in the integration of Christianity with the sciences. I am able to share this with both undergraduate and graduate students as the Chair of the Chemistry, Physics, and Engineering Department, and as the Academic Director for Biola's M.A. in Science and Religion program. I live in La Mirada with my family, but some of my students think I live in my office.
I teach a number of introductory courses for science majors and general education courses for non-science majors. I used to be a high school science teacher in Los Angeles and one of my passions is to strengthen and equip prospective science teachers. Accordingly, I am especially interested in using demonstrations in formal and informal science education, safety in the chemical laboratory, and integrating the teaching of science with our Christian faith.
I like to build stuff! Engineering can be an incredibly powerful tool to meet peoples' needs and to wisely steward this incredible world that God has created. My goal is to inspire Biola students to become world class engineers that make a positive impact for the glory of God. I'd also like to break the 65 mph speed limit under my own power on a bike (everyone needs a dream, right?).
My love for physics was kindled by a high school physics teacher in China, where I was born and raised. I came to the United States to further my graduate studies in solid state physics. It was during my second semester at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign that I became a Christian. As a professor, I desire to inspire students to love the beauty of physics and to challenge them to understand and think about the underlying order and structure in God's world. As a researcher, I use high resolution microscopy techniques and numerical methods to look at order in various materials, which in turn makes me more effective in my teaching.
I came to Biola after 18 years in industry developing new technologies for biomedical research and medical diagnostics. My teaching at Biola spans chemistry, physics, and engineering, and I enjoy caring for students across this spectrum of interests. I welcome student involvement in my research interests, which include the application of sensors and new signal processing methods to chemical analysis and to music, including the dynamics of bowed string instruments.
I was among the first graduates of the Master’s in Science and Religion program here at Biola, coming back to teach organic chemistry after earning a doctorate in the field. I love teaching, especially informally in small groups in my office.
In addition to a number of years teaching chemistry, I have experience as a freelance technical writer and had a career developing and marketing spectrophotometers. I love my students and the energy that they bring, an energy that I try to match through kayaking, sailing, swimming, wind-surfing, and skiing. Valerie is married and has three adult children.