Real-world research in organic chemistry

Professor Clare Muhoro teaches students more than organic chemistry. She helps them envision careers as chemists who not only make a living, but also make a difference.

Muhoro Kenya research trip
Towson students accompanied Clare Muhoro (right) on a research trip to Kenya to study the impact of pesticides on surface water.

Just ask the students who traveled with Muhoro to her native Kenya to conduct research on the impact of pesticides on surface water. While in Africa, the students did fieldwork, collaborated with Kenyan researchers and shared their findings with everyone from senior officials to rural school children. Back at the Towson lab, Muhoro and the students conducted further tests on the samples and eventually published findings that will help scientists remove the dangerous compounds from water supplies cheaply, quickly and efficiently.

Muhoro believes these kinds of field experiences provide valuable training because they connect what she teaches in the classroom and lab with real-world contexts. She helps them envision careers as chemists who not only make a living but also make a difference.

“ ...students become even more enthusiastic about the potential of what their degrees in chemistry could help accomplish, and the possibilities for contributing to the greater good. ”

Clare Muhoro

Muhoro has also served as research adviser at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) for a number of years, where she shaped programs supporting collaborations between scientists and developing countries.

She plans to infuse her upcoming student research experiences with aspects of how chemistry can affect policy—“tying what we’re doing in the lab and in the field to the policy questions and research questions that the U.S. government is looking to answer.”

And raising a new generation of scientists equipped with an international perspective and prepared to collaborate on solutions to real-world problems.