Laura Parmentier received her B.S. in Biology and Chemistry from Northland College in 1984 and her Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry at the University of Wisconsin in 1990. Highly motivating professors at Northland set her on an early path of chemical education. She joined the Chemistry faculty at Beloit College in 1991 where she is currently Chair of Chemistry and Biochemistry. In addition to teaching introductory, organic, and medicinal chemistry, Parmentier has taught a variety of courses on food and health, and she has served as Chair of Beloit’s Health and Society Program. She has taught chemistry and environmental studies at the University of Glasgow as a Visiting Lecturer, and she studied glacial lake sediments for evidence of climate change at Sogn og Fjordane University College in western Norway, where she also had the adventure of traveling to and from work across the fjord by kayak!
For the past 30 years, Parmentier has developed, tested, and implemented curricular materials and classroom strategies that focus on student-driven construction of knowledge and inclusive pedagogies. She was active in the NSF sponsored systemic change initiatives that led to the ChemLinks coalition in the 1990s, and she began using POGIL materials in organic chemistry in 2001. Her extensive workshop leading and presentations in feminist pedagogies in the sciences, which ask the questions “whose voice is not heard here?” and “who is oppressed?” led naturally to a more direct focus on the intersectionality of race, class, gender, and ability identities in the classroom. She worked with the POGIL Addressing Equity Strategic Plan Working Group to launch a book discussion group (Ibram Kendi’s How to be an Antiracist, fall of 2020; Zaretta Hammond’s Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain, fall 2021). She is committed to promoting antiracism, equity, inclusivity, and justice.