Making Chemistry Classes Work for SJNY Online

Dr. Andrea Stadler developed a way to make lab courses accessible to online learners

By Samantha Cheyenne Miller ’13
Dr. Andrea Stadler and student in lab
Doctor using a laptop in lab
Inspirational educators led Andrea Stadler, Ph.D., to where she is today: serving as an associate professor and associate chair of chemistry at St. Joseph’s University, New York.

Now, she’s having the same positive impact on her students.

“Teachers absolutely inspired me every step of the way for me getting here,” said Dr. Stadler, who changed tracks from doctor to research chemist to professor after formative experiences with her own college professors. “And that’s what I try to do with my students. I love hearing from them after they graduate and learning about all their successes.

“Those are the things that really stand out — to see them succeed, and to hear from them, to know I made a difference,” added Dr. Stadler, director of undergraduate research at the Long Island Campus. “I love that.”

One of the many ways in which Dr. Stadler makes an impact at St. Joseph’s University is through her implementation of online lab classes within the chemistry program.

Shortly before the pandemic, she applied to get certified to teach online, which ended up being a blessing in disguise when all classes became remote.

“Before the pandemic, I took my biochemistry class and started getting that online because it had no lab component,” explained Dr. Stadler, who, with the help of students, has been developing greener, more environmentally friendly labs. “Then with COVID, that opened the door for developing a lab-based course.”

Dr. Stadler got creative, developing labs using household supplies and materials to demonstrate the concepts students were learning about. Eventually, companies started making take-home lab kits, and she was able to partner with them to bring the content even more to life for students who were learning online.

“Even after remote classes were no longer necessary, I decided to keep labs available online,” she said. “It’s been great. Now, both my semesters of biochemistry are online. Students from Brooklyn can take the class, and we had a couple of non-matriculated students that needed the requirement. It opens the door too, for more creative assignments and discussions.”