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Andrew Torelli is a lifelong science enthusiast and DIYer. He is currently an Assistant Professor at Bowling Green State University in the Department of Chemistry and the Center for Photochemical Sciences where he actively combines his efforts in teaching and research. He is Principal Investigator on a collaborative National Science Foundation grant developing instructional strategies based on the use of infrared imaging to help students “see with their own eyes” foundational concepts and phenomena in general and physical chemistry courses. Andrew primarily teaches biochemistry, however his passion for science education has also led to numerous science outreach engagements in partnership with local organizations and the American Crystallographic Society for various age groups.
With broad training that spans chemistry, biology and computer science, Andrew enjoys working with diverse teams that cross traditional disciplinary boundaries. He is leading a team of faculty in 3 departments to develop tools to facilitate the collection, sharing, visualization, and interpretation of environmental water quality data. Technologies developed by Andrew and his colleagues have been used by students in classes and are now being tested by multiple local Rotary Clubs. Inspired by personal experiences losing access to clean drinking water during a toxic algae bloom in Lake Erie, his team created and are testing a prototype smartphone device designed to interpret color-based water quality tests more accurately than the human eye, and then map the results to an interactive map using the phone’s GPS coordinates. This work led to an invitation by the American Chemical Society (ACS) to speak on a panel in Washington D.C. in June 2016 as part of a briefing for members of Congress, their staffs and the general public (part of their “Science and The Congress” series). The topic of the panel was “Citizen Science: Empowering a Robust National Effort.” A follow up press-release occurred at the ACS national meeting in Philadelphia, PA in August, and can be viewed at (http://t.congressweb.com/w/?KYYWHUJWUC ).
Andrew’s work is fueled by the synergy between teaching, research, and collaboration. These efforts are a natural fit with citizen science and have created opportunities to explore innovative solutions to real- world problems.