Edward Chikwana, Ph.D., chemistry professor at Franklin College, enjoys waking up and coming to work.
“The students and my colleagues have been great. Even the students who struggle with my chemistry classes have a very great attitude and that makes it more exciting to wake up every day excited about going to work,” Chikwana said. “I also have amazing colleagues, both faculty and staff, within the Natural Science Division and outside as well who provide a good support system.”
Currently residing in Indianapolis, Chikwana is a member of the American Chemical Society, Indiana Academy of Science, and National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers.
Chikwana said he wants to help the Science Department at Franklin College grow without losing the rich experiences currently provided to the students.
“As much as I would hope for a bigger department, I am not sure we will be able to provide these rich experiences for students if we were too big. One of my goals is to help the department grow in quality of the experiences we provide for our students which in turn might help us grow in quantity as well,” he said.
A quality experience is something Chikwana takes seriously, and it shows. In 2013, Chikwana was awarded the Faculty Teaching Excellence Award after being nominated by students and colleagues. He said the award “ranks at the top of any professional achievements that I have accomplished.”
In that same year, Chikwana was also recognized as the Academic Adviser of the Year.
He continued, “It’s hard to put into words what we do that makes Franklin College different, but if you talk to our current and former students they will probably tell you it is the personal connections we have with our students. These relationships allow us to get to know our students well enough to help them maximize their strengths and make them marketable to potential grad schools and employers.”
Chikwana has not personally presented at any research conferences, but has had students who have presented at both national and regional conferences.
“We had an unexpected change in staff in the fall of 2013 which affected our teaching responsibilities greatly so research had to take a back seat until things were in order,” Chikwana said. “Now that we have everything taken care of, I hope to put more time into research and I believe the students I have working with me will be able to produce publishable data soon.”
He continued, “I hope we continue providing students with research experiences that are cross-disciplinary as this helps the students make the connections with areas outside chemistry and grow as individuals and be better scientists.”
Chikwana, who hated chemistry in high school, received his Ph.D. in physical chemistry, one of the toughest areas in the field. He is currently working toward a master’s degree in public health.
“I am enjoying the experience of being a student again and learning something outside my field,” he said. “So these days I would say my hobby is learning new stuff about public health.”
When he does find free time, he enjoys traveling to “different places for no apparent reason besides never having been there.”
For more information about what a science degree from Franklin College can do for you, contact the Office of Admissions at (800) 852-0232.
Founded in 1834, Franklin College is a residential, liberal arts institution with a scenic, wooded campus, spanning 207 acres, including athletic fields and a 31-acre biology woodland. Students enjoy the comfort and safety of suburban living, while also experiencing the many opportunities Indianapolis has to offer with a short 20-minute drive to downtown. The college prepares students to think independently, to lead responsibly and to serve with integrity in their professions, their communities and the world. The college offers its more than 1,000 students Bachelor of Arts degrees in more than 50 majors from 24 academic disciplines, 42 minors, 11 pre-professional programs and five cooperative programs. The college also offers a Master of Science in athletic training. In 1842, the college began admitting women, becoming the first coeducational institution in Indiana and the seventh in the nation. Franklin College maintains a voluntary association with the American Baptist Churches USA. For more information, visit www.FranklinCollege.edu. Find Franklin College on Facebook and follow @FranklinCollege on Twitter.