Isovitsch Research Group

WIsovitsch Research Group. Back row (left to right): Michael San Angelo, Ralph Isovitsch, Kyle Guillemet, Gabriel Calove.  Front row (left to right): Rachel Alhanati, Leslie Lien, Breianne Bolos, Matthew Voegtle.

Dr. Ralph Isovitsch

Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry, Whittier College, Whittier, CA

Dr Ralph Isovitsch was born and raised in Butler, in the west of Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh. He attended Grove City College in Grove City, PA, graduating in May of 1992 with a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry. A month later, Ralph joined the Department of Chemistry at Louisiana State University as a graduate student.  In keeping with his interests in inorganic and organic synthesis, as well as inorganic photochemistry, he decided to work with Professor Maverick.  He successfully defended his dissertation, titled, “I. Photophysics and photochemistry of molybdenum-oxo complexes;  II. Synthesis of a ferrocene based monomer for use in ring opening metathesis polymerization.” He graduated in May of 1997. During his time as a graduate student, Ralph published three papers. When asked what he appreciated most about being an LSU graduate student in the Department of Chemistry, Ralph answered, “At the time, the chemistry department was a small place, and I got a lot of individual attention from my professors, which helped me mature as a person and as a chemist. I came from an area and went to college in a part of the country that was at the time not diverse. Being immersed in the different cultures in southern Louisiana was an exceptional experience.”

After graduation, Ralph experienced a major turning point that led him to his dream career.  He recalls “leaping into my first teaching job at the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) after enduring a less than fun post-doc for eight months. At UVI I learned I really enjoyed teaching, and haven’t looked back since.” Ralph is currently an Associate Professor of Chemistry at Whittier College, a small, four-year, liberal arts school in Whittier, CA. Ralph explained what he does on a daily basis, “I teach organic lecture and lab to diverse bunch of students from a variety of majors. I also teach senior-level chemistry and biochemistry majors. I work with my research students and do committee service.”

Ralph was asked if there was anything he would do differently in his experience.  He replied, “No. Looking back, things have turned out really nicely. I’ve had great jobs, great students and great colleagues, and am now settled into a job that challenges and fulfills me.”

When asked if there was any advice he would give to current and prospective students in the Department of Chemistry, Ralph answered, “Publish! Also, take a very active role in preparing your work for publication. Learning how to clearly and concisely present your ideas and research in writing is one of the important things you can learn in graduate school.”

Profile contributed by Ashley Taylor and Carol Taylor