If you sit in the right place in chapel on Tuesday or Thursday, you will probably have a young blonde woman scan your ID card on the way out. That woman is one of the members of our Department of Chemistry here at Grove City, Dr. Holly Guevara. Dr. Guevara is one of the newest and youngest professors in the department, having just started teaching at Grove City in the fall, right after finishing her graduate work. She got her doctorate from the University of New Hampshire, after completing her undergraduate at Eastern Nazarene University, where she was one of only four chemistry majors in her class. She originally heard about Grove City when she was doing her college search, and then made the connection for the faculty position when she was in New Hampshire. She got to know a lot of alumni in her church while she lived there, and they helped her make the connection when the position opened. Although she has not been here long, she has already become an integral part of the department.
One of the reasons Dr. Guevara came to Grove City was the opportunities that would be available at a school this size. She wanted to be able to have close relationships with students in a mentorship role, and she wanted to be able to focus on teaching and spending her time in the classroom. However, this does not mean all of her time is spent exclusively in the classroom. She is currently working to set up a research project that will begin over the summer and into the next year. They will be researching the metabolism of the benzene ring by the human body, and how it is broken down. This is a continuation of the work she did in graduate school, which is where she was first exposed to the science involved in this research. She also wants to do work with rotaxanes to see how they could be made into polymers to be used in drug delivery. Although this research still has not started, Dr. Guevara is excited about how much room there is for creativity and exploration. The access all students have to research at Grove City is one thing she highlighted, as this is something that is imperative for students to have as they pursue a chemistry education.
Even though she has been here for such a short time, Dr. Guevara is already excited about the relationships she is forming with both the other faculty in her department as well as the students she is getting to know. “I love our department…the faculty are really easy to work with from a faculty perspective, but I think from a student’s perspective they’re pretty accessible as well.” She also commented to me on the respect and community students have that she has noticed here at Grove City. Students are hardworking, respectful, and take the time to get to know their professors, and it is evident to her. “I really like the very friendly, supportive nature…you go other places and that’s not the case, so that’s really nice to have here.”
Dr. Guevara also advocated the benefits of coming to a small Christian school while we were talking, which was pleasant to hear coming from someone who has been here for such a short time. “The personal attention you get at a small school is worth it…you’re more of a name and less of a number. At a place like Grove City, the faculty and other students are advocating for you to succeed, but we do it in a God centered way.” Dr. Guevara has already made a positive impact on the students here, and I am positive she will continue to do so in her time here.