Get to know Jessica Bonjour!

JB

Professor Jessica Bonjour is an Assistant Professor in the Chemistry Department.

What’s your educational background?

I have my Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Truman State University, which is in Missouri. Then I got my PhD in Organic Chemistry from UW-Madison.

What courses do you teach here?

I primarily teach Chem 100 lecture, which is Chemistry for the Consumer- the non-science major’s course. I also teach Chem 112, which is a second semester chemistry course for mostly Occupational Safety majors, and then I teach labs- so Gen Chem labs and Organic labs.

What are your research interests?

I research in chemical education, so things like different teaching methods or different types of assignments and courses. I also have a project, involving a picoSpin NMR- just a small tabletop portable model. Now we can bring that technology into high schools, so high school teachers come to campus to learn how to use it, and if they want to bring it to their classrooms they can. I’m also on a grant with the College of Education where we’re trying to get kindergarten through 3rd grade teachers to do more science in class.

How long have you been teaching?

I started here part-time in Spring of 2010, and I’ve been here ever since.

What inspired you to become a professor?

I like the teaching. I like the variety- it’s never the same, so even if you’re teaching the same thing every semester, it can always change and you can always get different interactions with students. Working with non-science majors is always interesting, too. They either come in really excited about it or they come in really scared, and hopefully by the end they’re not so scared. Because I like the teaching, I also started doing my research on the teaching as well.

What do you like most about UW-Whitewater?

I like the size- it’s not too big, not too small. It reminds me a little bit of my undergrad school. It’s twice as big here, but you don’t quite feel it. We have a pretty good department as far as interaction with the faculty. We have pretty small majors, so we know our students pretty well.

What are some of your interests outside of teaching?

I have chickens. We’ve got four hens and a rooster, and we actually have two baby chickens right now and a bunch more eggs in the incubator. That’s kind of a big time sink. We live out in the country, so we take care of 2 ½ acres. We also have three cats.

What’s your favorite movie?

A childhood favorite movie was “Mrs. Doubtfire” for some reason, so it’s usually my go-to all-time favorite.

What is something that your students may be surprised to learn about you?

I’m an only child- I don’t know if that’s surprising, maybe just a random fact.

Who inspires you and why?

My undergrad research advisor was a big inspiration. I started working with him pretty early, and he definitely got me to go to grad school- which wasn’t my original plan. Teaching here reminds me a lot of what it was like there, so how he interacted with the students and things like that. He would probably be my primary inspiration.