Dr. Laura Sessions

Professor of Chemistry

Dr. Sessions was born and raised in Winter Park, FL. For her undergraduate studies, she enjoyed attending the University of Florida, obtaining a B.S. in Chemistry with a minor in French. While there, she performed more than 350 hours of community service with Alpha Phi Omega. For graduate studies, Dr. Sessions attended Dartmouth College where she studied organic polymer synthesis and nanoparticles. After completing a Ph.D. degree, Dr. Sessions was very happy to move back to warm, sunny Florida. She taught part-time at Palm Beach Community College (now Palm Beach State College) for three years while performing various duties for the South Florida Science Museum including science educator, grant writer, and eventually education director. Dr. Sessions was delighted to join the full-time faculty at Valencia College in 2010 and successfully completed the tenure track in 2014.


Contact

Lake Nona Campus
Lake Nona: 1-319
407-582-7138
lsessions@valenciacollege.edu

Hours

SUMMER 2020

(on Zoom - email me for the link)
M-R 10:00-11:15am

F (via email) 9:00am-2:00pm


hours may occasionally change – check Canvas for announcements

Teaching Philosophy: Wondering what online organic chemistry looks like? I use a traditional online format - guided notes with videos embedded on each topic, online homework assignments from the McGraw Hill textbook, and additional resources like worksheets and website activities, practice tests, and class discussions. The tests are proctored online so you will need a webcam. For the labs, we have a lot of videos and a few virtual labs that take you through some experiment experiences with guided quizzes along with informal lab notebook documentation. You will have an understanding of the key lab techniques, lab safety, data recording, and results analysis. The class is mostly asynchronous (no required meeting times), but I have Zoom office hours daily and review sessions before tests. I am available by appointment as well. Is online more difficult than face-to-face for organic chemistry? Certainly, but it's doable and it has its advantages such as being able to learn at your own pace. General Philosophy My goal is for students to learn the fundamental theories in chemistry and to be able to apply them - creating connections between the course curricula, all the sciences, and everyday life. Additionally, I would like students to take away skills that come from application of this knowledge – skills that can be applied across disciplines and throughout life such as problem solving, analytical reasoning, collaboration, and communication. In my courses, I try to create an encouraging environment; deliver a straightforward course experience; and link what students know already to what they want to know and understand. Students must take responsibility for the rest of the process. They must think about why they are taking the class and what they want to know, and then work toward it. My instructional strategy is lecture, punctuated by discussion and group work. Students work in small groups to practice explaining scientific concepts, and to hear one another express concepts and ideas in different ways, increasing retention of the information. Meanwhile, the laboratory provides the opportunity to practice concepts actively and learn the methodology of chemistry. Formative assessment occurs through group work, the occasional quiz, and online homework. Summative assessment occurs through laboratory reports and tests that include many styles of questions including multiple choice (in preparation for graduate school entrance examinations), short answer, essays, and synthesis questions. Some classes include formal laboratory reports as well.