Spartans of UD: Adam Hoffman

Oct 28, 2020

Spartans of UD highlights what makes University of Dubuque special – the people.

Adam Hoffman, PhD, is the head of the Department of Natural and Applied Sciences and a professor of environmental chemistry.

1. What do you enjoy most about teaching environmental chemistry at University of Dubuque?

“What I enjoy most are the connections – connecting with our students and connecting the processes of chemistry to help understand the world around them. I love meeting new students and hearing their stories just as much as I love getting updates from former students. It is a privilege to interact each and every day with our students to help them realize the degree in which science impacts them and the degree in which they impact the natural world.”

2. For over 10 years, you have mentored countless students as they conducted research. What have you learned from your students during your time as an advisor?

“My research students have taught me innumerable lessons and have made me a better teacher, researcher, and person. They constantly remind me of the value and joy in lifelong learning. If not for them, I wouldn’t have exchanged emails with Japanese scientists about proteins in teeth, spent hours identifying bees in the lab of Iowa’s premier bee ecologist, or measured mussel shell compression with the help of an arctic materials science researcher. Oh, the places you’ll go as a research mentor.”

3. Looking back on the research you’ve spearheaded, which project are you proudest of? Why?

“I am passionate about water quality and have been blessed to have done research to help improve the quality of water both near (Catfish Creek, Dubuque, Iowa) and far (Växjösjön, Växjö, Sweden). Having said that, the projects I am most proud of are the projects that students have dreamed up and accomplished outside my area of expertise. Anytime I can play even the smallest role in encouraging the next generation of inquisitive scientists fills me full of pride.”

4. What advice do you have for students?

“My advice for students is to make connections and show gratitude. Your life will be immeasurably better if you do those two things.”

5. Where is your favorite spot on campus? Why?

“The greenest spaces are my favorite spots, so anywhere outside with plants or trees. The grounds staff does an amazing job keeping campus green and beautiful. I enjoy walking across the grass of the Quad or Wallace Common and stopping to talk to a fellow faculty member, staff member, or student. Most recently, I've come to appreciate and enjoy the Knapp Amphitheater, located just outside the entrance to the University Science Building. This has been the spot of our DNAS coffee Fridays gatherings, which has moved outdoors to allow for social distancing while making connections.”