Where I Lead: Teaching is in her DNA

Aimée Thomlinson
professor of chemistry at UNG,
teaching an upper-level physical chemistry course that combines chemistry, mathematics and physics. She has bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and chemistry from Purdue University and a doctorate in theoretical and computational chemistry from Carnegie Mellon University.

Where do you get your passion for teaching?

I come from a long line of teachers, which includes quite a few at the grade school, middle school and high school levels. There were a number of school principals in my family, even a school superintendent, so you could say teaching is in my blood.

I was drawn to the field of chemistry as a young child, having developed a love of math and science. I even conducted my own experiments, much to the chagrin of my parents, as a number of them included tests of flammability.

How did your teaching journey lead you to UNG?

In 2007, the chemistry department at UNG was looking to hire its first physical chemist, and this, coupled with the fact that it was a tenure-track position, led me to apply. Once I visited and met with my colleagues and some of the students I decided that this university was a good fit for me. At the time I started, almost all of the students were primarily from within an 80-mile radius of the Dahlonega Campus, so there wasn’t as much diversity back then as there is now.

What do you enjoy most about teaching?

I have enjoyed working with my undergraduate researchers who often have no idea what they are capable of and then providing them with the means to really challenge themselves. I love seeing that light bulb go off for a student that has had a particularly hard time grasping a subject.

For her dedication to helping young women pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), Tomlinson was recognized by INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine as one of the “100 Inspiring Women in STEM” in 2015.