Professor Snapshot: Dori Karlesky

Trinity College is blessed with incredible professors who mentor and grow students across all disciplines. Get to know Dr. Dori Karlesky, our Chemistry professor who taught at Trinity from 1989–2021. We offer her our sincere congratulations on recently receiving emerita status.


Dr. Karlesky in the lab

Dr. Dori Karlesky, Professor Emerita of Chemistry

 

Q. What made you passionate about teaching Chemistry?
A. Chemistry explains why the world works the way it does. A lot of what you see in everyday life can be explained using it—my mom used to call me all the time to get out stains!

As for teaching, I love it because I enjoy the “aha!” moment when someone understands a concept. I began by tutoring as a high schooler and thought that was really cool. I enjoy trying to translate something really hard into something people can understand.

Q. What common misconception about your field would you like to correct?
A. That faith and science don’t go together. God created the world as much as he created his Word. When we look at two clear liquids coming together to form a bright yellow precipitate and think “wow!” that’s because God puts himself into his creation. When we have that awe, we are reacting to the concept of God as creator, putting himself into his creation.

If we didn’t believe in God, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever, we would never be able to do the scientific method, which requires us to build on things we learned yesterday.

Q. What are your favorite Trinity memories?
A. Seeing kids graduate and succeed in their careers. We encourage students to learn how to be good thinkers. They get into medical school, grad school, or whatever they’re trying to do. When they tell me that and they show me what they’ve done, it’s really great. We have one Chemistry graduate who is the head of the Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Atlanta. We’ve had a lot of graduates in a lot of places, and it’s a highlight to see them thriving.


“When we look at two clear liquids coming together to form a bright yellow precipitate and think ‘wow!’ that’s because God puts himself into his creation. When we have that awe, we are reacting to the concept of God as creator.”


Q. What can you most commonly be found doing outside of work?
A. Something with a pool! I like to swim. I’m a Red Cross instructor, and one of the classes I teach is beginner swimming for toddlers and parents. I work with little kids a lot, so I’m singing silly songs and doing wild hand motions pretty often. For summers, I go to camp and teach lifeguarding, CPR, and first aid. Those have all been things I’ve really enjoyed, so whenever I have free time I’ll usually be in the pool.

Q. What is your family like? Do you have any pets?
A. I’m the middle sibling. I have a lot of nieces and nephews, so seeing them for holidays is really fun.
I also have a cat! His name is Ellijay because I found him in Ellijay, Georgia. He was a tiny little thing with a lot of spunk. He’s been around for a while now, and is the thorn in my side and the joy of my life all at once!


 

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BA in Chemistry

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