Dr. Richard West

Richard West, Assistant Professor of Chemistry

For Assistant Professor of Chemistry Dr. Richard West, chemistry is a passion. Whether he's studying conductive polymers or using a solid-state laser, the research process is simply exciting.

Growing up, Richard's family moved from Brazil (Manaus, Amazonas) to California and then to Michigan, where he attended college. Richard earned a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in chemistry from Wayne State University in Detroit before working at the Henkel Corporation for five years. Ultimately, he chose to continue his education and obtained a master's degree in chemistry from Oakland University in Rochester, Mich. He then moved to Cleveland in 2007 and earned his Ph.D. in chemistry from Case Western Reserve University, graduating in 2012. Along the way, Richard published a number of research papers in national chemistry journals such as the American Chemistry Society journals.

Richard joined the faculty at LEC in August 2014. Though he has only been here for one semester, he already appreciates the value of a liberal arts education. This aspect of the College was actually one of the main things that drew him to Lake Erie. "I have noticed that a liberal arts education provides a student with effective written and communication skills, which is extremely valuable," he said.

Specific to his discipline, Richard was particularly excited about the opportunity to join Dr. Johnathan Tedesco in shaping the already rigorous chemistry program at LEC. "I find teaching to be extremely rewarding," he said. Therefore, he strives to push and challenge his students. "I love the feeling when you work with a student who is struggling with a particular material and a breakthrough is made so that the concept just "clicks." I look forward to each day teaching students all about chemistry."

Richard's main focus within chemistry is electrochemistry because, as he says, "I love working on projects that are practical." He continued, "Publishing results that help push science forward is great on its own, but it's even better to have a practical impact on society." To help his students embrace the practicality of chemistry, Richard gears his lessons to explain real-world concepts such as airbags. By applying different lessons from the course, students are able to fully understand the engineering problem of making products such as airbags that will save a person's life.

When asked what one concept he wants his students to take away from his courses, his answer is "the ability to think." According to Richard, "Students who have the ability to think and solve a problem will separate themselves from their peers. I tell my students that they will all end up with the same degree, but what makes them different from one another is their thinking abilities."

Richard's appreciation of Lake Erie extends far beyond the students alone. "My favorite thing about LEC is how all levels of administration, staff and faculty work together to provide a great college experience for the students of LEC," he said. "Students are not simply numbers at this institution. We care about their futures and take a vested interest in their lives by helping them get closer to their goals."