Has organic chemistry become UCLA’s most beloved class? Yes, say Neil Garg’s students, who are back this year with nearly 100 new chemistry-related music videos.
UCLA Newsroom (By Stuart Wolpert): Over dinner at Neil Garg’s home, several of his second-year honors students recalled the advice they heard before even starting UCLA: “Make sure you take Neil Garg for organic chemistry.” All of them said they now pass that same advice on to younger Bruins.
“Getting into this class was like ‘The Hunger Games,’” said life sciences major Dianne Lumaquin. “I know people who waited two years to get in. People have celebratory dances when they learn they’re enrolled — including me — and the ones who don’t get in are devastated. People sit in the aisles for all 10 weeks, which is crazy; in other classes, that usually stops by the second week.”
Neil Garg (far left) teaching Chemistry 14D (Credit: Coral Von Zumwalt)
Why the passion for Chemistry 14D, the class Garg teaches each spring quarter?
“We all feed off his passion for organic chemistry,” said Elizabeth Matusov, a second-year student majoring in molecular, cell and developmental biology. “He feels like a friend who happens to be teaching a really difficult class. He’s easily the best professor I’ve ever had. I would take any class with him. We all would.”
Garg has won just about every teaching award there is, including UCLA’s prestigious 2013–14 Eby Award for the Art of Teaching. The 35-year-old professor of chemistry and biochemistry was also chosen as BruinWalk.com’s Professor of the Year in 2013, just two years after earning UCLA’s Hanson–Dow Award for Excellence in Teaching. It’s little surprise to his students, who say he somehow manages to make a personal connection with every individual in his class of nearly 400 students.
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