Lionhearted Leaders: Meden Isaac-Lam – Purdue University Northwest


June 13, 2022

Student success is the goal in Meden Isaac-Lam’s classroom

The experimental part of chemistry, watching molecules appear to be alive, interacting and changing, is what most interested Meden Isaac-Lam, an associate professor of chemistry in the College of Engineering and Science at Purdue University Northeast. West (PNW), on the ground. It was the idea of ​​helping to educate the next generation of scientists that interested him most in teaching.

Isaac-Lam, whose specialties include synthetic organic chemistry, spectroscopy, and chemical biology, credits passion, persistence, and patience for helping to create an innovative and engaging educational experience for his students.

success is the goal

“I have high standards for my students,” says Isaac-Lam. “They need to learn skills. Student success means national or international recognition, placing Purdue Northwest students on par with the best in the country or the world. Student success is the primary determinant of my success as an educator.

Creating an effective learning environment for students, according to Isaac-Lam, is an ongoing challenge due to the complexity of the subjects and courses she teaches.

“To create an engaging learning environment, I try to individualize my teaching and understand the obstacles that each student must overcome in order to optimize their learning,” she explains. “One-to-one teaching, or mentorship, is extremely effective in research with my undergraduate students.”

The importance of mentorship

Student mentorship is one of the ways Isaac-Lam develops and trains the next generation. She believes that mentoring should not be a one-sided task, but that the experience should benefit both the mentor and the student. She cites compatibility of student and mentor as a key element of a mentoring program.

“Mentoring is extremely critical to student success,” says Isaac-Lam. “Mentoring our undergraduate students involves well-structured goals, the student’s career path, and the student’s intellectual abilities and motivation. When a balance between these different factors is implemented, mentoring will be very effective. Mentorship opportunities at Purdue Northwest offer students a chance to benefit from the expertise of our faculty.

Inspirational research

In 2020, Isaac-Lam received her latest patent for chlorine-vitamin conjugates, compounds she designed and synthesized as therapeutics for triple-negative breast cancer. Patents serve as a model and source of inspiration for his students by introducing them to the idea and the possibility of being an inventor. She points to the need for more science researchers using the pandemic as an example.

“Scientific research is one of the central aspects of human progress,” says Isaac-Lam. “A patent is recognition of an invention and recognition of an invention inspires others to invent. Experiencing the joy of discovery is what I would like my students to experience as well.

Latest searches

In addition to his cancer research, Isaac-Lam works with American military veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The interdisciplinary research project involves a team consisting of a chemist (Isaac-Lam), a statistician, a social worker, psychologists, radiologists, MRI technicians and doctoral students in medical physics.

“This project will try to understand how molecules in the brain alter a person’s feelings and behavior,” says Isaac-Lam. “It’s a demonstration of how our body chemistry plays a vital role in our mental health. Additionally, this research provides an example for our students on the real-world application of chemistry and shows that cutting-edge research is possible on our campus.

Isaac-Lam is excited about the huge potential of PNW in the region and the opportunities it provides for students. Her favorite part of teaching is simple: “When students learn the material in depth and are interested in the subject,” she says. “That’s what I love most about teaching. That’s why I’m here.

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