Christine Pharr, Ph.D.Chemistry

Q: In addition to your graduate degree from the University of Idaho, what other degrees have you earned?
A: I have a MA from the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, SD in Analytical Chemistry and a BA in Chemistry and Biology from Mount Marty College in Yankton, South Dakota.

Q: What is your current position?
A: I am the Vice President for Academic Affairs at College of Saint Mary in Omaha, Nebraska

Q: What’s your favorite part about your job?
A: That's difficult to answer because there is much that I like.  I think my favorite two things are when students get enthused about their education and begin to really "find their voice".  The other thing is to see all the amazing things that faculty are doing to help students grow and accomplish their educational and life goals.

Q: How did your education and experiences from the University of Idaho help prepare you for what you’re doing today?
It's interesting how many parallels I find between Analytical Chemistry and college administration.  Being "analytical" comes in handy in my current position when decisions must be made based upon data and analysis.  Also it helps to be inquisitive, skeptical and to think outside the box when problem-solving.  These are skills I honed in the chemistry graduate program at the University of Idaho I and use extensively in my work today.  A skill of paramount importance to my career success is the improvement of my writing by publishing papers with Peter Griffiths ─ someone I consider to be a guru on all of the above ─ but especially excellent professional writing.  If you can write well enough for Peter....I think it will take you a long way!

Q: What advice can you give high school, undergraduate, or graduate students who are considering studying science at the University of Idaho?
A: Find the right major and the right advisor.  We spend too many hours of our life at work to not be passionate about what we do each day.  When you find what you care about seek out a mentor who can help you find experiences that will set you apart from every other graduate in the country with your same major.  Differentiate yourself.  Step outside yourself and meet people in your discipline from other universities and from companies.  These relationships can be invaluable when you are trying to solve a scientific problem and need some outside perspectives.  Have is short!

Q: Any other advice or thoughts?
I'm incredibly grateful to the University of Idaho for the excellent graduate student educational experience I had while there.  I made friends that will last a lifetime.  I was challenged, rewarded and fulfilled by my experiences.  I am especially grateful to Peter Griffiths, the department chair and my major advisor as well as the other faculty in the chemistry department who allowed me (and some of my crazy cohorts) to develop a graduate student science outreach program to elementary and secondary school students.  The experiences I had in graduate school at the University of Idaho had a profound influence on my philosophy of education and prepared me well for my eventual faculty position and future career.  Thank you for the opportunity to express my gratitude to the hardworking, dedicated faculty at the University of Idaho.  I truly enjoyed my years in Moscow!