Lone Star College-CyFair’s founding chemistry professor Lourella Cruz is the American Chemical Society - Greater Houston Section’s (ACS-GHS) 2013 Outstanding Chemistry Teacher at a 2-year College.
“Aside from being humbled, I also was very thankful that an organization, as exceptional as the American Chemical Society, took notice of me and what I do,” said Cruz. “The award validates all the other reasons why I do what I do. This will motivate me to even aspire for more superior quality teaching, and probably inspire others to do the same or better.”
The ACS-GHS award recipients are recognized for meritorious contributions to the welfare and distinction of the local section within the Greater Houston area, as demonstrated by contributions to education, research and service to the section as well as community service.
Cruz’s interest in the ACS-GHS began 10 years ago with an interest of keeping apprised of current education and industry trends in chemistry. In addition to attending ACS-GHS conferences, forums and local events, she uses ACS-prepared test questions and mentors young chemists and new chemistry teachers.
“Every chance I get, I talk to students to foster science education and research and to promote public understanding of science,” said Cruz.
With Cruz’s support, her students enroll in Learning Community courses, earn honors credit, participate in Service Learning projects and volunteer as the college’s chemistry tutors. She also encourages her students to discover their own talents, inspires them to succeed academically while maintaining their health and well-being as well as advises them to preserve their family values along with good relationships with their community.
Bringing her 18 years of experience working in the oil industry as a chemical engineer to her chemistry curriculum, Cruz incorporates concepts and principles as applied to real-life situations, especially in pollution control and industrial processes. When local employers call her to fill a laboratory or engineering position, Cruz helps prepare her students with the application and interview processes.
While her first teaching experience was in 1976 in the Philippines teaching chemical engineering courses at the University of San Agustin, Cruz’s nearly 20-year career teaching chemistry began in 1994 at LSC-Tomball College with the past 10 years at LSC-CyFair.
“I love to teach,” said Cruz, who considers the success of her students as her crowning glory which is evident with the photo collages of their graduations, award ceremonies, weddings, babies and family events. ”Chemistry runs everyone’s life … so what better profession is there than this? “
For information on ACS-GHS, go to http://www.acs-ghs.org/. For information on LSC-CyFair, go to LoneStar.edu/cyfair.