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arah (Sally) Quast's brother wasn't excited about his new
chemistry set but eighth-grader Sally was fascinated.
"I remember the alcohol lamps with wicks, watching things
change, chemical reactions."
Then, in high school, Quast's chemistry teacher poured a clear liquid
into a beaker full of a white solid substance. "Suddenly, there was a
black volcano of steam and smoke I was hooked!"
After overcoming her own doubts about a career in chemistry, Quast
has made it her life's mission to share her passion with students
including local girls, who may also be harboring a love of science.
Growing up in a family that prized education, Quast's brothers became
electrical engineers. However, despite her new-found love of chemistry,
she couldn't envision a scientific future for herself. "I didn't see myself
as able to do science," recalled Quast. "I had no role models who said,
`You can do this.' "
She attended Marymount College, intending to major in French. But as
soon as her chemistry professor encouraged her to major in chemistry,
she knew she had found her field. And Quast knew she wanted to
teach ever since she tutored another Latin student in high school.
"There's something magical about knowing something and being able
to share it."
After college, Quast taught middle school and high school in Los
Angeles. She was awarded a National Science Foundation grant in
chemistry, and earned an M.S. from the University of Notre Dame.
However, even in a research-heavy field like chemistry, Quast was
always drawn to teaching. "I did coursework for a Ph.D., but I didn't
want to do research. I wanted to teach." And she was particularly
drawn to teaching at the community-college level.
"My uncle was a World War II Navy veteran. He always spoke highly
about how great it was for him, as an adult, to be able to go back to
Chemistry Professor Is Devoted to
Passing On Her Passion for Science
Faculty Profile
Chemistry Professor Sally Quast enjoys helping Middlesex students find success, as well as introducing science to middle-schoolers at Girls Inc.