Chemistry students in lab

Science Isn’t for Everyone at First, Even for Your Professor

Written by Breana Noble

You came to Hillsdale to be educated in the liberal arts—emphasis on the arts. Yet, students are still required to have some knowledge of the sciences. Don’t like chemistry? Don’t worry—you’re in good company. In fact, you might even end up liking it.

That’s the story of assistant professor of chemistry Courtney Meyet, and it’s what she shares with her Science 101 students on the first day of class—right before she explodes balloons with fire.

“I got a C in high school chemistry,” Dr. Meyet recalls. “I wasn’t a fan of chemistry. It was my worst class.”

The struggle continued in college. She failed her test in college general chemistry and earned a D in it after re-enrolling in the course. She then changed her major to animal science to avoid taking organic chemistry.

Upon graduation, Dr. Meyet did veterinary technological work with the breeding of horses, but she wanted to return to school. Nursing seemed the logical path to follow. A prerequisite to become certified for nursing, however, was organic chemistry—the class that her upperclassmen friends told her would be far worse than general chemistry, the class she had changed majors to avoid.

“I took that course and really loved it,” Dr. Meyet says.

After writing the nursing application deadline down incorrectly and missing the date, Dr. Meyet went to graduate school for organic chemistry and now teaches that class here at Hillsdale College.

“I ended up teaching the class I ran away from as an undergraduate,” Dr. Meyet says. “It’s kind of funny.”

For this reason, teaching Science 101 is one of her favorites. “I find these students to be challenging—they don’t want to be there, but they have to be there,” Dr. Meyet says. “If I can convey science to them in a way that is interesting, that they can apply to everyday life, then my goals have been met.”

But ultimately, Dr. Meyet hopes her students will give science a second shot and like chemistry—maybe some of them as much as she does.

Breana NobleBreana Noble, ’18, is a student from Michigan studying American studies and journalism. She is a member of the Dow Journalism Program; is an assistant news editor for Hillsdale’s school newspaper, the Collegian, and has interned at Newsmax Media in Washington, D.C. through the National Journalism Center.