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Raychelle Burks

Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry
American University

After working in a crime lab, Dr. Burks returned to academia, teaching, and forensic science research. Her research team is focused on the development of colorimetric and luminescent sensing systems with integrated image and chemometric analysis for forensic applications. She is co-creator of the Digital Imaging and Vision Applications in Science (DIVAS) project which created a pedagogical and programmatic "onramp" that empowers natural science majors to engage in authentic computational problems as members of community of practice.

Beyond the bench, Dr. Burks is a popular science communicator appearing regularly on TV, radio, podcasts, and print outlets. Most recently, she was a series regular in the Smithsonian Channel show "The Curious Life and Death Of..." and writes a science-meets-true crime column called “Trace Analysis” for Chemistry World. In 2020, she was awarded the American Chemical Society's Grady - Stack Award for Interpreting Chemistry for the Public.

Central to Dr. Burks' research, teaching, and service is the central tenet that equitable, diverse, and inclusive spaces and practices both respect people and produce scientific outcomes of greater integrity. She is a member of several local, national, and international committees, task forces, and projects focused on social justice and STEM.

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