Dr. Rabindra Roy Makes a Personal and Professional Impact
If you are one of Dr. Rabindra Roy's chemistry students, Friday nights often are made for research. Same for Saturdays. In the hours when many students take a brain break, Roy guides unique, productive, intensive and successful research on acid rain, environmental chemistry, global warming, geothermal energy, surfactants
and detergents, a universal pH scale and other topics centered on the thermodynamics of electrolyte solutions. The research is funded by $2.8 million in grants from the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the American Chemical Society and other sources.
At conferences a-round the world and in refereed journals, Roy and his students have co-authored more than 450 presentations, articles and other publications. A group of more than 25 Drury students traveled to New Orleans in March to present their research at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society. "Since 1966, when I arrived at Drury, more than 500 undergraduate students and 125 high school students have performed research," says Roy. "Each one has been able to have an impact on the field of chemistry, even though we are a small university by comparison with the major research universities of the world."
The research conducted by these students fuels a growing list of published papers. And Dr. Roy is not shy about sharing the credit; every paper includes as authors the students who did the experiments and compiled the data. From Roy's point of view, every contributor deserves credit. For a student, the chance to be published in a peer-reviewed journal is invaluable, especially if he or she plans to go to graduate school; a professional citation is like gold on a resume. (Kathleen Vogel, one of Roy's most successful students, is profiled on page 30.)
Dr. Roy understands that even as the excitement of seeing data nobody has seen before jolts a student, the lab experience can link people to Drury. Several students from Central High School also work on projects in his lab, and Roy takes every opportunity to reiterate that the students can continue their research if they come to Drury.
For his commitment to research in the undergraduate environment, Roy received a national award for research at an undergraduate institution from the American Chemical Society in 1998.
He continues to stay busy on research collaborations with 25 universities around the world, including one project with Nobel laureate Johann Deisenhofer.
When Roy was hired in 1966, then-chairman of chemistry Jorge Padron wrote: "He comes to us highly recommended as a man personally dedicated to the development of the individual student, which is essential to the success of the type of education we furnish." That trait has endured.