Chemistry Department hires new professor

Crystal Zhang teaches biochemistry. She is a new chemistry professor at Southern. Friday, January, 28, 2022. (Photo by: Maiya Banks)
Crystal Zhang teaches biochemistry. She is a new chemistry professor at Southern. Friday, January, 28, 2022. (Photo by: Maiya Banks)

Written by: Maynard Wheeler III

The Chemistry Department has hired a new professor, Chrystal Zhang, to replace Rhonda Scott, who retired at the end of the Fall 2021 semester. 

Zhang’s work history has taken her all over the world. She graduated from Peking University in Beijing, China, and then attended the University of Melbourne, located in Australia, where she received her Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular biology.

 While working on postdoctoral research, she started to think about her next opportunity.

“I still enjoyed doing research, and the United States was well known for great research opportunities,” Zhang said.

Zhang received a job offer from Johns Hopkins University, which she accepted, and she worked there as a postdoctoral researcher for three years. She said Johns Hopkins provided an excellent research program, but she struggled to find a spiritual component at the secular university.

“It’s lacking the spiritual part, and my coworkers were very competitive,” she said.

Zhang said she felt like she was not in the right environment and God was calling her to teach at Southern.

“My husband graduated from Southern with nursing and loved his experience at the school,” Zhang said.

After she arrived, Zhang said she saw a drastic change in her work environment.

 “Everyone is just so nice, and they are always willing to help,” she said.

Not only does Zhang have high praise for her fellow faculty, but also her students. She teaches Biochemistry II and Biochemistry II Lab and enjoys the back-and-forth discussions she and the students present each class period. 

“I have enjoyed Dr. Zhang’s friendly and feedback-oriented teaching style,” said Conner Schell, junior biochemistry major. “I feel this helps promote us to give feedback on assignments and to ask questions about things we do not understand or want to know more about.”

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