Maria A. Dean
Professor of Chemistry

Education
B.S., Chemistry, University of Colorado
Ph.D., Chemistry, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

What classes are you currently teaching?
Principles of Structural Chemistry (Gen Chem I), Biochemistry and lab, Intro to Organic and Biochem and lab, Protein Biochem and lab

What activities or campus organizations are you actively involved with?
PreMed Club, Chem Club, STRATA, Playground of Science; Coe partners: Open Minds, Open Doors; Science Olympiad, Eastern Iowa Science Fair

What makes Coe stand out from other schools?
Our sense of community is clearly different. It is palpable and is one of the reasons I came to Coe. In the sciences, we are actively involved in research as well as community outreach. This is unusual in a school of our size.

What is your favorite class to teach and why?
This is a tough question because I have several favorites. Biochemistry is my chosen field and I enjoy it tremendously. Intro to Organic and Biochemistry is also a favorite. Again, this material is a simpler version of the Biochemistry class and it is especially fun because of the enthusiasm of the students in the class. Food Chemistry is a specialty course taught once every three or four years, as my schedule allows. If I could have this course in the schedule every year, I would do it in a heartbeat! It is a great way for me to share my passion about science through a media that everyone understands-- food! And, Principles of Structural Chemistry is a great way for me to meet and enjoy students who are considering science as a major. Gee, I guess they are all my favorites!

Name your most memorable Coe lecture and what it meant to you.
Wow, here you go again with the tough questions! Ok, if I just had to pick one, it would be Robert Ballard's talk on deep-sea oceanography. I believe he had me and every attendee in Sinclair Auditorium wanting to do marine science and exploration! However, all of the speakers from the Contemporary Issues Forum have been outstanding in their own way.

What is your most memorable moment interacting with a Coe student?
I have had many of these: students tell me they got into their first choice for graduate school, or medical school; they let me know by email or phone that they have published their first scientific paper; they have received a scholarship, fellowship, or award. Yes, when students share their accomplishments, hopes, and dreams, my heart jumps for joy!

What research or projects are you currently working on with Coe students?
There are two research projects that are currently active and both involve two sea worms, Phragmatopoma lapidosa & Pectinaria gouldii. Each of the worms makes a biocement that hardens in sea water and may have applications in industry and medicine. The first project involves searching and characterizing genes for unusual proteins from our cDNA libraries for each of the sea worms. The second project is focused on researching the proteins that compose the biocements that each worm makes.

Who is playing on your iPod?
Oldies from the 60's, 70's, and 80's.

What do you enjoy doing outside of class?
I enjoy spending time with my family, reading, photography, cooking and baking, & hiking.

What advice would you give a prospective student?
Decide what you want from your college experience. Come and visit, speak with students and professors, and be informed. Make sure that you feel comfortable with your choice for college. Your gut knows!