Faculty Spotlight: Gary Roby

Gary Roby

Gary Roby
Department: Chemistry

Gary Roby's interest in science started at an early age.

"My parents tell a story about how, as a very young child, I was staring out the window for many minutes and finally said, 'Hey, the clouds are moving!' " he said. "In college, the labs were especially fun for me. When it came time to choose a science, I couldn't decide which I liked better, biology or chemistry, so I chose biochemistry as my specialty, and it has been a great choice."

Roby's first job was as a technical service supervisor at a medical device company helping hospital laboratories, physicians and home blood glucose monitoring patients with their medical devices. He then began teaching and training in technical  service and moved into corporate training and development, working in California at Lockheed-Martin Missiles and Space; Resonex, an MRI manufacturer; Cadence Designs Systems; Advanced Micro Devices; and 3-COM.

While he was at 3-COM, Roby developed an intense desire to return to teaching the sciences, so he began teaching chemistry as an adjunct at Waubonsee, Harper and College of DuPage. He also taught honors and AP chemistry at Montini Catholic High School for four years.

"In teaching, you are at once the student and the instructor," he said. "I love watching others get enthusiastic about science and chemistry, especially in biochemistry, where truly remarkable things are happening with genetic engineering and understanding how the systems of the body work or don't work. I constantly keep up with new developments and love it when my students do the same and give me some new tidbit of information.

"I also constantly try to find new ways to make the complex topics easier to understand, or to get students to do the things I know will help them be more successful in science - understanding the concepts rather than just trying to memorize, keeping up regularly rather than cram prior to an exam. I want them to learn how to tackle hard tasks successfully by being proactive and hard-working. Finally, I continually try to bring real-world dilemmas and problems and discoveries into the classroom."

He hopes his students gain a love and appreciation for the world around them and the ability to look carefully at today's complex problems. He wants them to analyze what people are saying and to suggest and implement in terms of good science and careful thinking rather than following what he calls "fad science" and misinformation that comes with the "connected" world.

Roby also appreciates people who can find a positive outlook on the world.

"I often remember a story I once heard about Albert Einstein's answer to 'What is the most important question?' His answer was 'Is the world a safe place?' because regardless of the answer there was ample evidence to prove the point. I take inspiration from those who find the world a safe and friendly place because it helps me to look for the best in others and give them my best."

More about the Chemistry program