Life after a Path-to-Professorship “PTP” Fellow: Synopsis of My First year as an Assistant Professor in Chemistry
Transitioning from a postdoctoral researcher, where my responsibilities were solely on research and mentoring a small group of undergraduates, to a career in academic as an assistant professor, where I now teach large groups of students and multiple classes has been a unique, challenging, yet a gratifying experience.
Stefan Malone Cooper, Jr. is a native of Sumter, SC. He obtained a B.S. in chemistry from College of Charleston in Charleston, SC and a Ph.D. in synthetic organic chemistry from Louisiana State University. His dissertation is entitled: “Trans-Positioning” carbons within strained caged bicyclic(s): ROM/RCM (Ring-opening/Ring-closing) metathesis and Dieckmann/retro-Dieckmann condensation routes to a cis-declain infrastructure.” Stefan conducted postdoctoral research at the University of Maryland in College Park, MD under Herman O. Sintim, working with biological active organic molecules.
Afterwards, he joined, Hampton-Brandeis Universities’ Partnership for Research and Education in Materials (PREM) as a Path to Professorship (PTP) fellow. He worked in developing photosensitive micelles for drug delivery applications along with being integrated into the program’s future faculty initiative. He is currently appointed as an assistant professor in the department of chemistry and physics at Alcorn State University.
"This program was uniquely different from any postdoctoral program I've joined," says Cooper. As part of the Path-to-Professorship program, Cooper participated in numerous professional development opportunities, outreach and service events, and even taught students in a lab. "Before joining Hampton Universiity's PREM, my focus was entirely on research," he says. "However, when I joined PREM, the focus ... was more towards developing me until faculty."
Hear more from Cooper as he discusses his recent transition.