Kandace Hurst

Dr. Kandace Hurst

Instructor, LSU Department of Chemistry 

Kandace Hurst grew up in Baton Rouge, LA.  She attended Scotlandville Magnet High School and participated in the LS-LAMP Timbuktu Academy at Southern University the summer between 11th and 12th grades. She received her BS in Chemistry from Southern University and A&M College.  During her time as an undergraduate she had four summer research experiences: in the Department of Physics at Southern, as part of the SMART program, developing lanthanide cathodes with physics applications, a summer of computational chemistry at Iowa State University and two summers at Albemarle R&D where she worked on flame retardants in polymers. 

For graduate school, Kandace didn’t need to think too hard … she loved Chemistry and she wanted to stay in Baton Rouge.  Her older sister, Jasmine was already in the PhD program at LSU.  So, she joined LSU the first time in the Fall of 2005 as a graduate student.  Initially, she joined Professor Brian Hales’ research group.  That turned out not to be a good fit.  A little difficult to admit, she realized the chemistry that interested her was also the chemistry that attracted Jasmine.  She changed gears and joined Professor Julia Chan’s research group.  As well as her primary advisor, Kandace acknowledges the help and support of Professors Watkins, Warner, Stanley and Maverick.

During her time as a graduate student, Kandace participated in the ChemDemo outreach program.  Looking back, she says, “the experience was so enriching that it served as the catalyst in my decision to begin a career in education.”  Later in her graduate career she also participated in the GK-12 program, directed by Dr Frank Neubrander, that aimed to implement new scientific subject areas into local middle school classrooms.  She served as a TA for a range of courses as a graduate student.

Kandace graduated in December 2010, after successfully defending her dissertation titled, “Synthesis and Characterization of Rare Earth-Nickel-Gallium Ternary Intermetallics.”  Her graduate research also led to four publications.  Asked for advice to students currently in the graduate program, Kandace said, “Appreciate and enjoy your time here.  The connections you make, both professionally and personally, will go forward with you in your careers and lives.”

Following graduation, Kandace went on to earn Secondary Teacher Certification through the Louisiana Department of Education.  At East Ascension High School in Gonzales, she taught chemistry and science classes from 2012-14, and was a member of the Secondary Teacher of Science & Instructional Leadership Team.  During the summers of 2013 and 2014, she served as a Master and Supervising Teacher for the Louisiana Resource Center for Educators in Baton Rouge.

In Fall 2014, Dr Kandace Hurst returned to LSU as an Instructor.  She is teaching General Chemistry I and II Lecture and Lab as well as the Honors General Chemistry Lab.  In 2016 she assumed responsibility for teaching the students in the Science Residential College.  In Spring 2017, she received a University College Tiger Athletic Foundation Teaching Award.  Of the path that led her to her current role, Kandace says “my combined experiences, successes and failures have brought me exactly where I should be.  I am doing what I love, and I get to do it in a supportive environment.”

 Profile contributed by Ashley Taylor and Carol Taylor