Kerry K. Karukstis is a professor of chemistry at Harvey Mudd College. She received both her B.S. degree in Chemistry (1977) and her PhD degree in Physical Chemistry (1981) from Duke University. After her postdoctoral work with Ken Sauer in the Laboratory of Chemical Biodynamics at the University of California – Berkeley, she joined the faculty at Harvey Mudd College in 1984 and regularly teaches courses in general chemistry, physical chemistry, and biophysical chemistry.
Maintaining an active research laboratory with undergraduates as collaborators, Professor Karukstis’ research interests focus on using spectroscopic and light scattering techniques to characterize the structure and physical properties of surfactant aggregates and macromolecular host guest systems. She has conducted externally-funded research (NIH-AREA, ACS-PRF, Research Corporation, Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award 1994), in collaboration with 85 undergraduates at Harvey Mudd, and publishes regularly with undergraduate co-authors. Her students regularly present their research results at national meetings of the American Chemical Society.
Professor Karukstis has co-authored more than 70 publications in scientific journals and two books: Lasers in Chemistry (Jones and Bartlett) and Chemistry Connections: The Chemistry of Everyday Phenomena (1st and 2nd editions, Elsevier/Academic Press). She is a member of the Chemical Education, Physical Chemistry and Colloid and Surface Chemistry Divisions of the American Chemical Society, the Biophysical Society, the Society for Photochemistry and Photobiology, and Sigma Xi.
Professor Karukstis has served the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) as a councilor for the Chemistry Division since 1993, Chemistry Division Chair and Executive Board member (2001-2003), lead writer on CUR’s submission to the NSF-CCLI-National Dissemination program (2004) and currently as Chair of the Outreach Committee. She wrote two CUR resources, Councilors’ Handbook: A Guide to Leadership in CUR and A Brief Guide for CUR Division Chairs, and is a Journal of Chemical Education feature editor on the role of undergraduate research in chemical education.
A 2003 member of the Undergraduate Research Summit (Bates College) steering committee, Professor Karukstis participates in the national dissemination of the outcomes of the Undergraduate Research Summit, serves on the Advisory Panel for the Beckman Scholars Program of the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Research Foundation, serves on the advisory board of the NSF-sponsored Center for Workshops in the Chemical Sciences and chaired the Harvey Mudd Curriculum Committee (2001-2004). She received the 2003 Henry T. Mudd Prize for outstanding service to Harvey Mudd College and CUR Volunteer of the Year Award in 2004.