Kurt Neidigh, Ph.D.

Associate Program Director
Assistant Professor
(540) 985-9827
Department: 

Education:

·         B.S. in Chemistry (Mathematics minor) from the University of Utah (1986), after which he worked as a laboratory technician at the Virginia - Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech, until beginning graduate studies. ·         M.S. (1992) and his Ph.D. (1995) from Virginia Tech. Graduate research studies involved organic synthesis, and chemical and biological investigations of anticancer agents. ·         Served several post-doctoral appointments in medicinal chemistry research at MCV-VCU (1996) and at The University of Mississippi and the National Center for the Development of Natural Products (1997 – 1998). During this time investigated nicotine derivatives, and anti-cancer, anti-malaria, and anti-giardia agents. Research has been published in several international chemistry journals and has been presented at numerous research conferences. Scholarship and JCHS Service: Maintains a variety of ongoing research projects to mentor students in the Biomedical Sciences Degree Program. Serves as the JCHS Chemical Hygiene Officer, serves on several college and program committees, and is also the faculty advisor to the JCHS Chapter of the American Medical Students Association (AMSA). Teaching Responsibilities: Assistant Professor of Chemistry for the Mathematics & Science Program at JCHS since 2004. Teaches General Chemistry and Organic Chemistry classes and laboratories, as well as the Research Methodology course. Teaching Philosophy:“In order to teach effectively, a person should be a lifelong student of their discipline. Time brings change and it is important to adjust and implement new information in the classroom and laboratory setting. I also believe that teaching requires a passion for the subject, and that enthusiasm for the subject helps to keep the student engaged. There are many ways of providing information in the classroom, but I have found the most effective way of presenting chemistry is through traditional at-the-board lectures. As I present material, the student can keep up with note-taking, and I can ask questions that reinforce the material. I provide examples to further enhance the student’s grasp of topics. I also encourage the student not to compartmentalize topics, but to recognize that there are certain patterns or recurring themes in chemistry and how inter-related many concepts are. I emphasize the importance of fundamental information and that having a good foundational understanding is paramount to building a solid understanding and gaining a deeper appreciation of chemistry. I have found that students learn and retain material much better when they are exposed to it multiple times. My teaching strategy is structured so that lecture examples are followed by related homework assignments, which are in turn followed by quizzes, and then tests. I also post worksheets and other information on Blackboard to enhance conceptual understanding. I believe that cumulative final exams are important to assess learning outcomes, and to illustrate to the student the importance of understanding “the bigger picture.” One of the most important aspects of my teaching philosophy is to make an otherwise daunting subject tenable to the student. I have found that using analogies, real-world examples, and anecdotal stories from my own experience tend to reinforce my teaching strategy and keep the student engaged, thus aiding learning and retention. One of the most gratifying experiences for me is to teach a student and then mentor that student on a laboratory research project. It is in this environment that the fruits of labor can be observed, as that student’s understanding deepens through applied learning and critical thinking.” Other Information: Also teaches as an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Radford University and Roanoke College After working as a research chemist at Synthons in Radford, VA, began teaching, first as an adjunct instructor, then as a full-time assistant professor/research mentor at JCHS. In September 2010, was recognized as the JCHS Mathematics & Science Program “Mentor of the Year”, and in April 2011, was awarded the JCHS “Excellence in Teaching” Award.
Education: 
B.S., University of Utah
M.S., Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Ph.D., Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University