Good Chemistry


Professor Dwight Stoll believes in paying it forward in his teaching and in his research. “I like to use the skills and abilities I’ve been given to positively impact people and communities at different scales,” he says. “This ranges from the scale of the individual – through my mentoring of students – to the scale of the scientific community in a global sense.”

He knows with students the yield may not become obvious until after they leave Gustavus. “They later send notes of thanks after they’ve reflected on what they learned,” Dwight says. “I think with the students it just boils down to time and energy. There are no shortcuts. We often refer to teaching moments, those times when we can point out a misperception or capitalize on an observation that will help the student learn,” he says. “Hundreds of teachable moments add up in ways that can significantly and positively affect a student’s life.”

…every day at work I learn about the amazing things other people are doing on campus. It makes me strive to do my part ...

Dwight has developed and maintains websites that openly and freely share the results of the Chemistry department’s research. “I frequently hear from researchers around the globe about how they’ve found our tools useful in their work,” he says. Dwight is recognized worldwide as one of the top ten separation scientists and a leader in the emerging field of multidimensional liquid chromatography separations. Named to The Analytical Scientist’s “Top 40 Under 40 2014 Power List,” Dwight also won the 2016 Gustavus Faculty Scholarly Achievement Award. “As more and more people doubt the credibility of science and scientists," he says, "I hope that people can look at my teaching and research and believe that I’ve done the work with integrity and without bias.”

Two things Dwight especially likes about his students at Gustavus are that they’re forgiving and generous. “In general I find Gustavus students to be smart, engaged, humble, and curious. They aren’t just invested in their field of study. They’re invested in friends, family, and community. They’re wonderful people to know. It’s the combination of qualities that makes it fun to work with them,” he says. “The fact that they’re forgiving makes teaching more fun because as a teacher you can take more risks, try new things in the classroom. If it doesn’t work, the students will not hold it against you forever. I also work with a lot of student researchers in my laboratory where there is a huge range of experience going from first to fourth year at Gustavus,” he says. “I’m often very impressed by the generosity of the older, more experienced students to bring the younger Gusties along. They give not only their knowledge, but also their time.”

On campus, it’s the people that inspire Dwight the most. “They have both great intentions and outstanding talent,” he says. “And I mean everyone, including faculty, staff, and students. On the Gustavus campus, this the norm. Most people choose to be part of the campus community because they really believe in the mission of the institution, that it’s about more than an excellent education. It’s an education with a purpose, lived with integrity and respect for others. Every day at work I learn about the amazing things other people are doing on campus. It makes me strive to do my part to contribute great things to the community as well.”