20 Questions: A Sketch of Centre chemistry professor Jennifer Muzyka

RELEASED: Dec. 1, 2005

Jennifer and son Maxwell at Martha's Vineyard
DANVILLE, KY—1. Position/title: Associate Professor of Chemistry

2. Hometown: Texas. I know that's not a town, but I lived in several places there during the formative years of my life, including El Paso, Irving (home of Dallas Cowboys), Austin, and Alvin (Nolan Ryan's hometown, south of Houston).

3. Career highlight: Receiving the Kirk Award for Excellence in Teaching in spring 2003

4. Signature class: Organic Chemistry

5. Recent publication/exhibition/performance: I recently submitted "Electrophilic Aromatic Substitution: The Nitration of Veratrole" (coauthored with Centre professor Joe Workman) to the Journal of Chemical Education. We're awaiting word on whether the manuscript will be accepted.

6. Family details: I'm married to Mark Meier (UK organic chemistry professor) and have a nine-year old son. Discussions at our dinner table often revolve around science topics—we're quite the bunch of nerds.

7. Hobbies: Beadwork, reading, and hiking

8. Pets: One strange cockatiel (Willow will wolf whistle at a piece of popcorn while holding it right next to his eyeball using his foot) and a bunch of fish (aquariums at home and in my office).

9. Prized possession: My new house in the woods. It took 18 months to build after planning for more that four years. Never tell an architect you're not in a hurry.

10. Last book read: Da Vinci Code

11. Memorable trip/vacation: Scuba diving in Bonaire, summer 1997. The coral reefs around the island are a national park and it's illegal to do anything that will damage them. (That includes touching them.) On the side of the island away from the open ocean, you can walk off the shore anywhere and find interesting things to see while diving. There's not a significant current, so the diving is very relaxed.

12. Favorite movie: The Big Chill

13. Favorite album: Lyle Lovett, Pontiac

14, Favorite food: Anything with LOTS of garlic and onion

15. Favorite smell: Chocolate chip cookies with lots of brown sugar

16. Person you most admire: My grandmothers. They both calmly and unflappably love and accept all of their grandchildren in spite of the wild and crazy things that some of us have done.

17. Living figure you'd most like to meet: Margaret Thatcher. In addition to her well-known position as Prime Minister, she's also a chemist!

18. Historical figure you'd most like to meet:
Audubon. I'd love to go bird watching with him.

19. What would you be doing if you weren't teaching at Centre: Patent law

20. Describe yourself in three words: Outspoken adrenaline junkie


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Founded in 1819, Centre College is ranked among the U.S. News top 50 national liberal arts colleges. Centre alumni, known for their nation-leading loyalty in annual financial support, include two U.S. vice presidents and two Supreme Court justices. For more, visit http://archive.centre.edu/web/elevatorspeech/

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