University Communication is putting a new twist on how Nebraska Today delivers stories about our state’s flagship university and the students, faculty and staff who flourish here.
We’ve thrown our microphones into the ring with Faculty 101, a podcast series that delivers regular insights — some serious, others silly — into the work and lives of Husker faculty.
From biosensors and tenacious science to Harry Potter and fashion, the latest Faculty 101 reflects the many facets of Rebecca Lai, associate professor of chemistry.
Alongside host Mary Jane Bruce, Lai explains how bits of paper, gold and DNA could represent the portable future of detecting water contamination and diagnosing disease. She also discusses how curiosity, creativity and a willingness to conduct basic research help drive breakthroughs in her lab and science as a whole.
Later, Bruce and Lai talk about the benefits of infusing science with elements of pop culture, as Lai has done with an undergraduate class dubbed “A Muggle’s Guide to Harry Potter’s Chemistry.”
Lai then traces her path to becoming a chemist: youngster who read encyclopedias to adolescent with eyes on fashion design to high schooler inspired by a chemistry course that helped chart her own. She wraps the episode with thoughts on encouraging individuality among students, designing color-changing lab coats and striving to improve lives through science.
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