Faculty Profile: Lori Petrovich
Dr. Petrovich's areas of interest are broad enough to include different topics, but her main priority remains to teach the younger generation how to fall in love with chemistry.
Dr. Lori Petrovich, Teaching Associate Professor of chemistry, has been teaching General Chemistry I and II at NC State since 2002. But her daily tasks don’t stop here. For many years she was the Director of the General Chemistry Laboratories. In addition, she operates the Chemistry Tutorial Center and supervises the administration of the Chemistry Placement Exam.
Dr. Petrovich holds a Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry after studying organo-metallic compounds in Graduate School. After her graduation, she worked for two different polymer companies for six years before she landed at NC State where she started as an instructor.
Q: What got you initially interested in teaching chemistry?
A: Chemistry is like magic. You see things change colors and shape. Chemistry is math applied to observations and I enjoy that part of it. Also, I like the creativity that comes with teaching and interacting with young people, and that is what made me choose the teaching path.
Q: What is your favorite part about working in the Department of Chemistry?
A: The highlight of my day is when I have a meeting with a student to cover content and I can see that at the end of the meeting, they understand the concept. Watching people’s eyes change when they understand is wonderful. I also like that chemistry is somewhat of a trade, in that upon graduating, many students have to apply the techniques they learned over 4-5 years immediately in the job that they accept.
Q: Who is a mentor that sticks out in your mind or a person who helped you get to where you are today?
A: My freshman chemistry professor at Hope College was named Dr. Silver which is an excellent name for a chemistry instructor. He always livened up the lectures with demonstrations and made understanding chemistry very fun. That’s why I like to do demonstrations.
Q: What advice would you give to students today in getting started with their careers and finding their path?
A: Out of many, the one piece of advice that sticks out to me is to treat your education like a job. Devote time to it each day to be successful with each day’s tasks. And, have an end goal in mind. Know where you want to finish in 4 years. And even if that end goal changes, that’s fine; just have an end goal in mind.
Q: What is your favorite place on NC State campus and why?
A: That would be the Gardner Arboretum because I love plants and flowers and bees and butterflies.
Q: What’s your favorite place to eat when at work?
A: Lime & Lemon. My husband doesn’t like curry so the only time I can get Indian food is at work.
Q: What are some of your hobbies/interests?
A: I like gardening and working on my pollinator garden at home. I also like reading science fiction books. Currently, I am working my way through the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. My son got us into playing Arkham Horror as a family, which is a murder mystery board game and I know the characters well enough now.
Q: Where would you like to spend your next vacation?
A: There are a lot of places I would like to see. Rome would be number one on the list but I’ve already been there. The next destination would be to go on a cruise on the Rhine river and see the different cities and castles. I’d love to see Japan, I’d love to see the Middle East, Egypt, the Pyramids, the Nile, …
Q: Would you like to share your thoughts with your department?
A: I would say I’m very enthusiastic about the way the Department of Chemistry has come back from COVID times. The department is expanding and growing with new hires and new technologies to be of good service to our student body.