Chemistry Professor Rigoberto Hernandez to present Helen Murray Free Lecture on diversity in academia

Rigoberto Hernandez

The College of Wooster will welcome Rigoberto Hernandez, professor of chemistry at Johns Hopkins University, to present a public lecture on diversity and inclusion in academia for the College’s annual Helen Murray Free Lecture on Thursday, Feb. 23. Hernandez will present “Managing Inclusive Excellence in Academia” at 7:30 p.m. in the Lean Lecture Room of Wishart Hall (303 E. University Street).  

The public lecture will highlight Hernandez’s role as the director of the Open Chemistry Collaborative in Diversity Equity (OXIDE), a position he has held since 2011. He will discuss approaches to increase awareness of effective policies and practices that decrease inequitable barriers and improve the diversity in research-active chemistry departments. He will also explore how diverse academic climates encourage disadvantaged students to pursue academic careers in the chemical sciences. A reception sponsored by the Wooster chapter of the American Chemical Society will follow Hernandez’s presentation. 

Hernandez is also the Gompf Family Professor of Chemistry at Johns Hopkins University. His research area is broadly classified as the theoretical and computational chemistry of systems far from equilibrium with applications to colloidal suspensions, liquid crystals, sustainable nanotechnologies, protein folding and rearrangement, autonomous computing machines, and energetic formulations. He previously served as a professor at Georgia Institute of Technology’s School of Chemistry and Biochemistry and received his doctorate in chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley in 1993. 

A fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Chemical Society, the American Physical Society, and the Royal Society of Chemistry, Hernandez previously served as the as the District IV Director on the American Chemical Society Board of Directors and currently serves on the Sloan Minority Ph.D. Advisory Committee, and the AAAS Committee on Opportunities in Science. 

While he’s on campus, Hernandez will also present a technical lecture at 11 a.m. on Feb. 23 in the Lean Lecture Room of Wishart Hall (303 E. University Street). Titled “Spiral feedback between computation and experiment at the nano-bio interface,” the technical lecture will focus on theoretical and computational frameworks to bridge across molecular scale structure and motion, and the behavior of nanoparticles in complex environments at macro and meso scales. Following this presentation is a lunch with Hernandez at noon for students interested in learning more about him and his work. 

The Helen Murray Free Lecture Series is endowed by the Al and Helen Free Foundation. Named for chemist and Wooster alumna Helen Murray Free ’45, the series supports an annual lecture that allows a renowned chemist to interact with chemistry students on a technical level and present an all-college convocation on the contributions of science to the quality of life.  

Both lectures are free and open to the public. For more information, contact Mary Cornelius in the Department of Chemistry at mcornelius@wooster.edu, or by calling 330-263-2418. 

Posted in News on February 6, 2023.