The Power List 2021
Professor & Shimadzu Distinguished Professor of Analytical Chemistry, University of Texas, USA
Heroes? It has been a rough past couple of years on this front, because I recently lost my closest heroes and mentors. My father passed away two years ago. He was a retired chemistry professor; I actually took PChem in graduate school from him. He was my foremost role model regarding what a life as a professor could be like. I am not necessarily speaking of chemistry, because his area was hard core quantum mechanics, but rather that you could have a good and happy life as a professor. I saw the flexibility he had and his enjoyment working with and teaching students; he made it seem fulfilling. He retired the same year I completed my PhD. Since then, he was always very interested in the chemistry I was doing. Earlier this year, I also lost one of my best mentors, Harold McNair. There is no amount of praise that would be sufficient to recognize the selflessness of Prof. McNair and his genuine interest in your life and happiness. Alongside that demeanor, he was an amazing teacher. I count myself lucky to be among the many people he touched with his life. I also take it seriously that, what he taught me, I should pass on to benefit others. He taught me to always “pay it forward.” I miss these two men in my life.