PhD in Organic Chemistry, 2005 University College Dublin
7 Years Industrial Experience R&D, Technical Support and Production
10 Years Chemistry Tutor at 3rd Level and Leaving Cert
Education Co-ordinator for Beyond Endurance Ed. Prog., Antarctica 2008
Collaborated with Ryan Institute and Baboro on Science Outreach Projects: Science Extravaganza shows, Science Exploratorium and Galway Science and Technology Festival.
“I have always been fascinated by chemistry. I studied it at home on my own, for the Leaving Certificate, as it wasn’t a subject on the school syllabus. When I made that choice, to sit chemistry in the Leaving Certificate, I had no idea I would end up attending University College Dublin and obtaining a PhD in Chemistry.
During my degree and postgraduate studies I enjoyed mentoring and tutoring many students and that continued all through my career. There was always someone contacting me requesting help and support with chemistry. After University, I worked for seven years in the pharmaceutical industry. I left the industry and began teaching chemistry privately and creating fun resources and ways to introduce more people to chemistry.
I especially enjoy seeing a student smile, when all of a sudden they get what they once thought was impossible! With that feeling, students engage, build confidence and motivation, and as a result enjoy learning chemistry more. The main reason I wanted to teach chemistry was that I understood that most people believe that it is a really difficult subject and avoid it, or are not given an opportunity to see if they like it.
The skills and qualifications in chemistry are multi disciplinary and open up access to numerous well-paid professions and desirable jobs. (i.e., Veterinary, Pharmacy, Business Management, Librarian and the Pharmaceutical Industry are just a few.) All too often, I believe that many students just don’t end up with the chance to access these jobs, through a lack of confidence in chemistry and a lack of that little bit of extra support along the way in their studies. I believe that with hard work, self belief and access to the right support you can achieve anything.
The reason I am a teacher and the aim of ChemistryGrinds.com is to help students who need a little extra support in chemistry. ChemistryGrinds.com works complimentary to school work, providing students with a platform to work hard, understand better and focus their study time and attention. Paving the way so they can access the opportunities and choices to be successful in their lives.”
ChemistryGrinds.com website is devoted to all topics related to the leaving certificate chemistry programme. Both theory and practical experiments are covered.
The platform supports the teaching/learning of chemistry with more ease and understanding with the following:
- Useful chemistry resources for leaving cert in one place.
- Resources that support learning in the classroom or at home.
- Student access to diverse and interactive forms of learning.
- Expanding the accessibility of chemistry to more students.
- Providing mentoring support for students with the flipped classroom teaching model.
The flipped classroom teaching model encourages students to cover the ideas and concepts through watching videos at home, at their own pace, stopping as they need and answering relevant questions before proceeding. This then allows more effective use of classroom time with their teacher, working through and practicing problems together. Getting help in the moment they get stuck on a problem.
Giving students access to resources like these early in their study of chemistry can have a positive impact on their study techniques, understanding and focus throughout the Leaving Certificate.
In classes with Dr. Sandra Riordan students cover the theory while also understanding why it’s relevant and its applications in the world. Students learn what they need for the exams while expanding their understanding and interest in the most fundamental and creative science.
Sandra uses techniques that allow much more fun and enjoyment in teaching. Students actually enjoy the process of learning chemistry for their leaving cert.
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results