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Spectroscopy spoke with Raychelle Burks, PhD, of American University about diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) issues in analytical chemistry and whether applied or fundamental research is more important to the global economy. This interview was conducted as part of Spectroscopy's Eastern Analytical Symposium conference coverage.
Burks spoke at the 2022 Eastern Analytical Symposium in Plainsboro, New Jersey as the keynote speaker, where she delivered the keynote lecture titled “Making Progress with Social Justice and Sensing.”
Before returning to academia and serving as an associate professor of chemistry at American University, Burks worked in a crime laboratory. An analytical chemist, she enjoys the challenge of developing detection methods for a wide variety of compounds. Her research team focuses on developing colorimetric and luminescent sensor arrays for detecting analytes of mainly forensic and national security interests with accompanying imaging and chemometric analysis. She also collaborates with colleagues in a variety of fields to provide application-specific sensing systems employing portable, imaging-based detection.
Spectroscopy sat down with Burks to discuss her research and the industry as a whole, addressing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) issues in chemistry and whether applied or fundamental research is more important to the global economy.