Dr. Paul House has been a member of the Chemistry Department for nine years.
What is your educational background?
I grew up just outside Kalamazoo, Michigan, and I went to a small school in Kalamazoo called Kalamazoo College. That’s where I got my undergraduate degree. Then I worked for a year before starting grad school. I ended up going to Northwestern University just outside of Chicago. I worked with a physical chemist who studied kinetics and thermodynamics. I enjoyed it a lot even though grad school is kind of miserable sometimes. After that I did a post-doc. I worked with a molecular biologist and studied enzymology, kinetics, and enzyme systems at the University of Texas Medical Branch.
What courses do you teach?
I teach physical chemistry lectures and labs. I teach inorganic chemistry, and organic chemistry laboratories. I’ve taught general chemistry- the 2nd semester lecture and the lab. I’ve done a lot of different courses, but physical chemistry are probably my primary courses.
What are your research interests?
I’ve got a couple different research interests. One of them started out in collaboration with Dr. Chan and Dr. Harrahy. We’re interested in a group of compounds called micropollutants- they are in low concentration in the environment. Specifically we’re thinking about things like pharmaceuticals and health products- things like acetaminophen and caffeine. They are going to affect environmental systems because they are biologically active compounds. They can be chemically modified during the waste water treatment, and sometimes they are converted into more toxic compounds. The students who work with me are figuring out how these compounds are modified during waste water treatment.
How long have you been teaching at UW-Whitewater?
I think this is my ninth year.
What inspired you to become a professor?
When I was a student I didn’t understand a lot of stuff, but the subject matter really excited me. Then I had a professor in college that I did a research project with. He was an inorganic chemist studying inorganic compounds but the methods were focused on physical chemistry theories. Because he didn’t know much about the methods, I ended up being responsible for moving the project forward. The project went really well and he told me that I could do this stuff in grad school and beyond and I believed it. I also always liked the college environment and working with students. It’s just a job I like to do.
What do you like most about Whitewater?
I like the school in terms of my colleagues. I think they have the right ideas- they are focused on helping students learn and be successful in life. I think for the most part they are very dedicated to that. The work environment is really good, and I like the students a lot- it’s fun working with them. I like the people I’m working with- both students and faculty.
What are some of your interests outside teaching?
I like to cook a lot. My mom taught cooking classes when I was growing up, and she wrote a couple cook books. It’s something that I share with her.
What is your favorite movie?
There’s all these goofy movies around that I like. There’s one called The Secret of Roan Inish that I really like. It’s set in Ireland and it’s about seals that turn into humans. I also like Lawrence of Arabia.
Who inspires you and why?
That’s hard. My mom is a very kind and giving. She helps a lot of people, and I always liked that she has a really good sense of humor.