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Department ofChemistry and Biochemistry


College of Arts and Sciences Welcomes New Faculty Member Ian Carter-O’Connell

When new SCU Professor Ian Carter-O’Connell was an undergrad at The Colorado College, his plan was to study to become an environmental advocate.  That changed during his junior year when he discovered biochemistry: he was fascinated to learn that he could convert corn into ethanol through the process of chemoenzymatic biofuel production. Soon, he was exploring the possibilities of applying chemistry to complex biological systems, finding inspiration as a budding biochemist.

After completing his graduate studies at Harvard University, Carter-O’Connell found himself at a crossroads: he wanted to continue his explorations within the lab, but he also wanted to emphasize the importance of studying and receiving an education in the field of science. He found that a balance between research and teaching fueled his passion and gave him the necessary push to be a better scientist and mentor to a younger generation.  He’s finding a perfect fit in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry at SCU, an institution that supports teaching-scholars.

Like many kids, Professor Carter-O’Connell had big dreams of being a professional football player that were short lived. He also dreamed of being a chef. Okay, maybe he wouldn’t be doing it professionally, but cooking remains a hobby of his. Outside of work, Carter-O’Connell is working on perfecting a homemade sourdough bread recipe.

When asked if he had any advice he could give to college students, he said, “Don’t get caught up in the race toward perfection. It is the failures and the unexpected detours that will ultimately challenge you to grow and will make you who you are.” Wise words for any level of academics or professional life.

Check out the Carter-O’Connell Lab here