Nathan Tice: Finding Success as a Scientist
BY SUSANNA SPENCER
3 MIN. READ
To some, the definition of success is climbing the rungs of the ever-high career ladder. To others, it’s making a hefty paycheck. But to Anderson University (AU) alum Nathan Tice ’03, it’s about making a horizontal impact through sharing knowledge and helping others succeed.
Graduating with bachelor’s degrees in chemistry and international relations, Tice is now working for the University of Findlay (UF) as a professor of chemistry. He was recently named chair of UF’s Department of Physical Sciences — but when asked what he considers his greatest accomplishment within the field of chemistry, his answer was not about this recent promotion or about his research, but rather his growth as a 15-year educator.
“Graduate school does a wonderful job teaching students how to be research proficient,” said Tice, who earned his graduate degree from the University of Kentucky (UK). “But, traditionally, it doesn’t do as much to teach students how to educate others, so I’ve been learning on the job for some time now.”
Being an effective educator is one of the hardest, most rewarding roles Tice has had so far. He’s ready to take on the position as department chair at UF, though, and is excited about the opportunity to impact more students who feel called into chemistry and other areas of science.
Part of this desire to make an impact comes from his own experience as a student. While he appreciated all of his AU professors, he was closest to Dr. Chad Wallace, professor of chemistry and dean of the School of Science and Engineering, who served as Tice’s undergraduate advisor and mentor. Tice shared that Wallace “modeled how to teach, develop a research project, and carry oneself as both a scientist and a person of faith.”
Tice emphasized, “Having that investment in students is so important and something I take seriously in my current role.”
Tice’s mentoring from Wallace led to a summer internship through the Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program at UK, working under well-known Professor of Chemistry, Jack Selegue, just as Wallace did as a student.
After AU, Tice began his graduate studies at UK, again following in Wallace’s footsteps and continuing his research under Selegue in organometallic chemistry, which, according to Tice, is a blend of organic chemistry and transition metal chemistry.
Since then, Tice has applied his learning from AU and UK to his own career. Benefiting from his second AU major in international relations (a mixture of history, political science, psychology, and sociology courses), Tice learned to see the world from different perspectives — something he’s incorporated within his own classroom and now in his position as department chair.
“We have to develop students to be more than just scientists,” Tice said, “but effective communicators, critical thinkers, and overall good citizens.”
Additionally, while at UK, Tice appreciated how Selegue explored different types of chemistry and was willing to collaborate with other scientists. “It’s something that’s stuck with me, and that I try to incorporate into my own research” — research that built upon Dr. Wallace’s success.
“That’s how good science works,” Tice explained. “We all build upon the successes of others. Then, it’s time to pass the baton off to other students.”
And while he’s grateful for where his education has led him professionally, he’s also blessed to have met his wife, Julia, while at AU. “So, I suppose I owe some of my personal success to Anderson, as well!” he said.
It’s clear that Tice’s education and approach to learning have taken him far within the field of chemistry, and there’s no doubt he will continue to make an impact in his new role with UF, preparing students for success as the world’s future scientists.
Anderson University is on a mission to educate students for lives of faith and service, offering more than 60 undergraduate majors, 30 three-year degrees, 20 NCAA Division III intercollegiate sports, alongside adult and graduate programs. The private, liberal arts institution is fully accredited and recognized among top colleges for its business, computer science, cybersecurity, dance, engineering, nursing, and teacher education programs. Anderson University was established in 1917 in Anderson, Indiana, by the Church of God.