2022 Hanson-Dow Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching – Dr. Hung V. Pham

Posted on

Popular chemistry professor and alum Hung V Pham (PhD ’15 Houk group) receives the department’s 2022 Hanson-Dow Award for Excellence in Teaching.  

The Hanson-Dow Award for Excellence in Teaching was established in 1986 as a means to celebrate outstanding teaching within the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry. The award recognizes our ladder and non-ladder faculty members for their efforts in classrooms and laboratories, in overseeing undergraduate student research, and preparing exceptional teaching materials.  

This year two faculty members received the 2022 Chemistry & Biochemistry Hanson-Dow Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching. Professor Hung V. Pham, and Professor Margot Quinlan were recognized at our annual departmental awards ceremony on May 13, 2022.

Since joining the department’s Instructional Faculty in 2016, Pham has made great efforts, both in and out of the classroom, to further the education of his students as well as to support the students and lecturers in the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department.

Pham graduated magna cum laude from the University of California, Irvine (UCI) in 2008, with a B.S. in chemistry and a B.S. in mathematics. He worked as a physical science tutor advisor at UCI’s Learning and Academic Resource Center (LARC) for two years before being accepted to the UCLA chemistry doctoral program. Under the direction of Professor Ken Houk, Pham conducted research in the field of computational organic chemistry, focusing mainly on cycloadditions of allenes and arenes but also dabbling in metathesis reactions, host-guest chemistry, and synthetic mechanistic studies in collaboration with Professor Chris Vanderwal at UCI. He received his Ph.D. in organic chemistry in 2015.

Soon after receiving his Ph.D., Pham began his teaching career as an adjunct professor at Santa Monica College, focusing on organic and general chemistry classes. He returned to UCLA in 2016 as an organic chemistry lecturer and was promoted to Assistant Adjunct Professor in 2019. Pham teaches lower division organic chemistry lecture classes, 14C, 14C, 30A, 30B, and 30C, consistently receiving higher-than-average evaluation scores.  

A portion of Pham’s success with students is his transparency, candor, and approachability. He offers the students in his classes weekly “Fun Fridays” where they discuss something new and interesting that they may not have encountered anywhere else, ranging from interesting molecule names to lessons in metacognition and test-taking tips.   

Outside of the classroom Pham is working hard to support new and current lecturers in the department. Just prior to the pandemic, Pham helped establish a weekly Instructional Faculty meeting which was continued throughout the pandemic using Zoom. The meetings proved to be a very valuable outlet and discussion forum for instructors who, at the time, were dealing with the many challenges of teaching and engaging students remotely. 

Pham has also provided consistent valuable support to the department’s Undergraduate and Graduate Offices as well as serving as an active participating Professor Member of the Alpha Chi Sigma Chemistry Fraternity.

About the Hanson-Dow Award for Excellence in Teaching

Each year this award is presented to one or two faculty members (ladder and non-ladder) of the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry for outstanding teaching. The award was established in 1984, funded by a generous donation from alumnus William J. (Bill) Hanson (A.B. ’41, M.S. ’43 Jacobs) with a matching donation from the Dow Chemical Company. Hanson worked for Dow Chemical for many years and was responsible for establishing this award, which recognizes the impact our faculty have on UCLA chemistry and biochemistry students.

Previous Hanson-Dow Award for Excellence in Teaching Awardees

  • 2022 Hung V. Pham & Margot Quinlan
  • 2021 Anish Nag, Johnny Pang  
  • 2020 Jennifer Casey, Jorge Torres
  • 2021 Anish Nag & Johnny Pang  
  • 2020 Jennifer Casey & Jorge Torres
  • 2019 Alexander Spokoyny & Heather Tienson-Tseng
  • 2018 Zhao Li
  • 2016 Anastassia Alexandrova & Anne Hong-Hermesdorf
  • 2015 Sharon Neufeldt
  • 2014 Joseph Loo
  • 2013 Patrick Harran 
  • 2012 Sarah Tolbert
  • 2011 Neil Garg
  • 2010 Craig Merlic
  • 2009 Catherine Clarke 
  • 2008 Steven Kim
  • 2007 Heather Maynard 
  • 2006 Laurence Lavelle 
  • 2005 Stuart Cantrill & Yung-Ya Lin
  • 2004 Todd Yeates
  • 2003 Albert Courey 
  • 2002 Benjamin Schwartz 
  • 2001 Marjorie Bates
  • 2000 Steven Hardinger
  • 1999 Harold Martinson
  • 1998 Emily Carter
  • 1996 Steven Clarke
  • 1995 Emil Reisler
  • 1994 Charles West & Jeffrey Zink
  • 1993 Mario Bauer
  • 1992 Michael Jung
  • 1991 Michael Jung
  • 1990 Richard Kaner
  • 1989 Betty Luceigh
  • 1988 David Farrelly
  • 1987 Kyle Bayes
  • 1986 William Gelbart

Penny Jennings, UCLA Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, penny@chem.ucla.edu.