Building Personal Connections to Organic Chemistry through Writing

Nicholas F. Garza, Solaire A. Finkenstaedt-Quinn, Ginger V. Shultz, Steven C. Zimmerman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Organic chemistry courses enroll students from many majors with diverse interests. Although instructors may strive to appeal to these interests by relating course content to real life, it is challenging to intrinsically appeal to students at the personal level, particularly in high enrollment courses like organic chemistry. When students identify personal connections with course content, they may be more interested or motivated to continue learning course content. To help students identify connections, we designed and implemented a writing assignment prompting students to select an organic compound that personally relates to them and write about this personal connection. Herein, we discuss the implementation and evaluation of the assignment. Student feedback survey responses and interviews indicate that the assignment allowed students to identify how organic chemistry is relevant to their lives. We believe the assignment could be effectively implemented at other institutions and in other chemistry courses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1802-1807
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Chemical Education
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 12 2022


  • Applications of Chemistry
  • Communication/Writing
  • Molecular Properties/Structure
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Second-Year Undergraduate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Education


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