O-Chem at Ohlone College: Dr. Anu Ganguly - Article, Office of College Advancement

Tuesday, February 2, 2016.

By Ohlone College.

Preparing Students for Careers in Science, Medicine, Engineering and more.

Two women wearing protective lenses working with test tube.“Everything I point at is organic,” Dr. Anu Ganguly says and then begins to point and name objects around the room. “My lab coat, your leather shoes, that wooden table, the paint on the wall, the countertop, the soap, your hair, and …you.” That is how Dr. Ganguly begins her class on the first day of the first semester of organic chemistry. Then she leads students through the rigorous curriculum that prepares these advanced chemistry students for transfer to top universities and eventual careers as doctors, pharmacists, chemical engineers or biotech researchers, among the many career choices open to them. Most of her students end up in pre-med programs at some of the top universities, she says. “Last year, I sent students to Stanford, UCLA, and Berkeley. We have 100% transfer rate from my program.”

Dr. Ganguly has been teaching chemistry and organic chemistry (or “O-Chem” to insiders) at Ohlone College for over ten years as a full-time professor. Although a scientist and researcher, she felt the call to teach, and has enjoyed her interactions with students tremendously.

She earned her Master‘s degree from the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, one of the top institutes in the country. Growing up in India, choosing the path of science was not difficult for her as a female. She had the freedom to follow her passion. When she finished her degree, her parents gave her the option of getting a Master‘s in classical Indian music (her mother is a well-known vocalist) or attending school in the US to get a Ph.D. Although the music of India is still very close to her heart, she said, “As a female, I had the option of studying music or pursuing one of the sciences. My brothers, boys, they did not have that option.”

She came to the US to continue her education and graduated with her doctorate from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. She has taught and conducted research at various research institutions in tenure track positions, most recently at Dominican University in San Rafael. Tired of commuting and wanting to spend time with her son, she accepted a position at Ohlone. Dr. Ganguly has learned to love working with students at the community college level. “I enjoy being involved with my students, helping them with their struggles. I learn every day to be a better teacher.”

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