Professor of Chemistry Walda Powell to Present Faculty Distinguished Lecture

Professor of Chemistry Walda Powell will deliver Meredith College’s Faculty Distinguished Lecture on Tuesday, March 19, 2024, at 7 p.m., in Jones Auditorium. 

The lecture, “Life in Chemistry,” will focus on Dr. Powell’s own life as a chemist and how chemistry touches every life.

Walda Powell smiling in a bright red shirt.“Chemistry is not just an isolated academic experience that happens in a classroom. It is something that is all around us impacting our lives daily,” Dr. Powell said. 

She hopes her Faculty Distinguished Lecture will make chemistry more relatable and engaging by showing its practical applications.

“Before I leave my house each day I have been immersed in chemistry,” Dr. Powell said. “Coffee? Cooking breakfast? Using a cell phone? [All of these things involve chemistry.]”

Powell’s lecture will also help convey her love for chemistry.

“I love understanding how chemical structures predict the properties and reactivity of organic compounds,” Dr. Powell said. “Chemistry is a creative science through which you can experiment and discover new compounds, reactions, and applications. Chemistry contributes to solving real-world problems and improves our quality of life.” 

About Dr. Walda Powell
A member of Meredith’s faculty since 1995, Dr. Powell taught a wide range of courses from Introductory Chemistry to the Science Behind CSI to Fermentation Science. Her primary areas of expertise are in general chemistry and organic chemistry.

Dr. Powell earned a doctorate in chemistry at NC State University and began postdoctoral studies at UNC-Chapel Hill in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics. She worked at Boron Biological, Inc., as a synthetic chemist and rose through the ranks as a senior research chemist and a manager before coming to Meredith. 

For several years, Dr. Powell served as head of Meredith’s Department of Chemistry, Physics, and Geoscience. She has won two awards at Meredith for her teaching.

She has a special interest in fluorine chemistry. Her research has been published in academic journals including the Journal of the American Chemical Society, Journal of Fluorine Chemistry, Journal of Organic Chemistry, Biochemistry, Anticancer Research, Advances in Neutron Capture Therapy, Radiation Research, Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, and the Journal of Chemical Education.

About the Faculty Distinguished Lecture
The Faculty Distinguished Lecture was designed to represent a significant achievement of research by a Meredith faculty member. The first lecture was presented in 1964 by Professor of English Norma Rose.

This event is free and open to the public. The lecture counts as an Academic/Cultural Event for General Education for Meredith students. A reception will follow in Johnson Hall Rotunda.

The Faculty Distinguished Lecture is presented by the Convocation Committee and co-sponsored by the Meredith College Chapter of Phi Kappa Phi. A chapter of the Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society was established at Meredith College in fall 2023 and the first student members will be initiated in spring 2024. Founded in 1897, Phi Kappa Phi is the nation’s oldest and most selective collegiate honor society for all academic disciplines. 

Melyssa Allen

News Director
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