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Rampersad-Ammons, Joanne

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Department of Chemistry

University of Texas- Pan American

Contact: 956-665-2097;


 Teaching Responsibilities


Course level
Student number per academic year
Types of students
General Chemistry (CHEM1301)
All Science and Allied Health majors, some Engineering majors
Introductory Biochemistry (CHEM3303)
Chemistry and Biology majors, some Allied Health and Engineering majors
Introductory Biochemistry Laboratory (CHEM3102)
Chemistry and Biology majors
Advanced Biochemistry Laboratory (CHEM4203)
Chemistry and Biology majors
My Challenge
As a new faculty member at a primarily undergraduate minority serving institution, my biggest challenge involves effectively managing my undergraduate student researchers. This is a challenge all new faculty must surmount. In addition, I firmly believe that we should be striving to go beyond ‘research experiences’ for undergraduates. If we could effectively tap into this vast sea of talent- imagine just how much further along we could take our research projects and advance science! However, working with undergraduates is not without its pitfalls. Apart from their already busy schedule with classes and exams, research has to compete with other activities. For example, many also have to work to support themselves and pay for their education, they may be doing community service by volunteering at various community organizations and they may also be primary caregivers. Depending on their educational stage, many have very limited practical experience and theoretical knowledge. They also often lack problem solving skills and time management skills. Many of us believe that exposing students to ‘real research’ does wonders in enhancing their skills, but what exactly is required to effectively mentor large numbers of undergraduates at the same time?
My Goal
I feel that participation in the Biology Scholars Program will provide me with a unique opportunity to enhance my assessment skills and work with a community of scholars who will be my ‘great teacher’. My eventual goal is to shed light on ‘How does student management software impact undergraduate research experiences?’
My long term goal is to learn how to be the best mentor for my students.
Professional development activities
  • Co- developed the software Student Research Organizer which helps to manage my research and inquiry based teaching activities
  • Co-developed the software MicroTracker which helps to manage data generated in my research and inquiry based teaching activities
  • participated in an NSF sponsored Genome Consortium for Active Teaching workshop in Summer 2008. I remain on their listserve so that I can keep up with the community and issues being raised.
  • led an effort to write a proposal to begin a Masters of Science in Interdisciplinary Science in Chemical Education at my home institution- This program currently has 20 local teachers enrolled
  •  led an effort to write a proposal to begin a Biochemistry Undergraduate degree at my home institution
  • mentored over 38 undergraduate students in research projects over the last four years;
  • authored 3 publications in peer reviewed journals and 10 presentations at local, regional or national scientific meeting with undergraduate student researchers
  • am serving on the thesis committees of three teachers from local high schools who are doing education related research for their thesis projects in our Master’s program
  • served as the chair of the Chemistry Curriculum Committee at UTPA for two years
  • served on the UTPA Institutional Review Board for the past 2 years
  • developed new courses in Biochemistry and a laboratory manual for both Introductory Biochemistry and Advanced Biochemistry
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