Wade Johnson, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department Chair | Chemistry
I tell students to take every opportunity to explore, to experience, to learn—both in and out of the classroom. All experiences are valuable at some point in your career.
It’s a great idea to become an EMT, for example, or to shadow a professional. Do anything you can to get a better understanding of where you’re going and what you want to do. It’s worth it to spend time doing lots of different things—whether it’s basic research, field work, being a tech for an assay lab, or whatever. In the end, it will make you a better, well-rounded professional.
Before my graduate career, I was a laborer for a small chemical manufacturing company and later a field hand doing maize genetics. Working in those fields and being in industry taught me perspective and many things that I share with my students.
The low student-to-faculty ratio at Susquehanna provides me with an opportunity to truly mentor students in scientific research techniques. I teach a wide range of courses, from introductory classes for first-year students to Senior Seminar, so I get to know a lot of students at different stages of their academic careers. As I work with undergraduates, I enjoy watching them develop from just learning basic techniques to undertaking more complicated projects to work on in the lab. It’s very satisfying.
Many of our faculty members are doing research that complements health studies, and all involve students in their research. This is something that’s quite unique to Susquehanna. Even with faculty members whose research is not directly related to the field of health care, the students still benefit by understanding and learning research techniques that can be applied to health studies research.
Some of my research is currently isolating and characterizing novel bacteria. The research techniques are the same as those used by a physician faced with identifying an unusual infectious disease presented by a patient. The skills are transferable.
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