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Occidental College’s magazine features UCLA alumnus Professor Phoebe Dea (BS Chemistry ’67) as she prepares to retire from the college after 22 years. 

In 1964, Prof. Dea was the first undergraduate to join the lab of Professor Emeritus Chuck Knobler. She received her Ph.D. at California Institute of Technology and joined Occidental College in 1993 as the Fletcher Jones Professor of Chemistry.

Excerpt from Occidental Magazine (by Peter Gilstrap):


Prof. Phoebe Dea was Prof. Emer. Chuck Knobler’s first undergraduate researcher. Photo by Kevin Burke, Occidental College.

Phoebe Dearest

One of Oxy’s most decorated and beloved faculty is calling it a career after 22 years in the chemistry department. But Phoebe Dea isn’t packing up her things just yet.

Inside the Norris Hall of Chemistry, just past research lab NC 108, you come to a poster on the wall titled Influence of Cis and Trans Unsaturated Lipids on an Interdigitated Membrane. Across from that, at the end of the hall where the breeze seeping through the double-glass exit doors hums a constant bass note, is office NC 107.

This is the Occidental home of Professor Phoebe Dea, who will retire in August after 22 years at the College. In that time—and during the previous 17 years teaching at Cal State L.A.—the list of honors she has earned would surpass the length allotted to this story, honors dwarfed only by the love and respect she’s won from colleagues and students.

Further in the article – 

“As a freshman at UCLA in 1964, the foundation for Dea’s mentoring approach was sparked by her own mentor, Charles M. Knobler, now a professor emeritus. “I was fortunate, because I was able to work with a professor in his lab for three years and participate in this kind of activity,” Dea says. “That kind of experience is incredibly useful”.

Knobler, who joined the UCLA faculty as an assistant professor of chemistry 51 years ago, remembers Dea vividly. “Phoebe was the first undergraduate to do research with me,” he says. “She was in my freshman chemistry class, she had come from Hong Kong, pretty much on her own.” (Then Phoebe Wong, she came to UCLA from an Anglican girls’ school whose enrollment included Thai royalty.) “The first student you have working with you is someone you remember, and having such a good student as Phoebe, that really made it something special.”

Read entire article here.