Being a good educator means continuing to learn for Bryan Nell ’09

During his junior year of high school, Bryan Nell ’09, now of Morris, Minnesota, visited Ripon College as a delegate to Badger Boys State. He later chose Ripon because if its size and liberal arts nature. “I felt very comfortable when I visited and knew it would be a great fit for me,” he says.

At Ripon, Nell majored in chemistry and minored in economics. He competed as a student-athlete on the Red Hawks cycling team during his senior year. After graduating, he earned his Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Oregon, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Nell currently is an assistant professor of chemistry at the University of Minnesota, Morris.

“Not only did my classwork prepare me for what was ahead for me, but the research experience I was able to get at Ripon put me in a very good position going into graduate school,” Nell says.

He finds the relationships made at Ripon College the most rewarding part of his education and says, “I am still very close with many of my peers from Ripon, as well as the chemistry faculty!”

As educator, Nell says, he finds it “very rewarding to share my knowledge of a subject with my students and pass along what I know. It is a very challenging, but gratifying, experience.”

He believes that being a good educator is a constantly evolving process of learning how to be better at teaching. He says that teaching subjects which he is passionate about helps engage students and teach them how to actively learn in the classroom. Other key factors include patience, being a good listener and asking questions as an educator himself.

“I hope that my students come away from my classroom being able to solve problems and to think critically,” he says. “Not every student will continue on in chemistry, but they can still learn valuable skills they can use the rest of their lives!”

Dakota Marlega ’21
Waupaca, Wisconsin


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