Teaching chemistry in the School of Nursing allows me to bring together two of my passions. The first is to be able to teach a course that has significant relevance to the student and one that serves as a pillar for their future studies. The second is to foster a student-centered learning environment in the classroom in order to promote active and engaged learning. A solid foundation in chemistry is essential to the education of the modern BSN. The chemistry course I teach to the BSN students is intimately intertwined with health, physiological and medical applications they will encounter in their nursing career. Throughout the course we explore applications of basic chemical concepts. For example in covering oxidation-reduction reactions, we examine the role of the oxidation states of iron, which enable it to bind oxygen and play important roles in respiration. In acid-base chemistry we examine the importance of the carbon dioxide levels in the blood stream and how it serves as a buffer, maintaining normal physiological pH. It is with examples like these, that I spark the interest of the students, who will contribute to the health community. The interactive learning environment is fostered in my classroom, where we employ technology, team-based learning and “process oriented group interactive learning” approaches to engage students in active learning. These approaches transform the classroom into a vibrant thinking and engaged community of students.

Research Focus

My current research focusses on developing interactive and relevant classroom experiences while teaching the basic science of chemistry. I have devoted extensive time in training and grant acquisition in preparing for this focus. I have attended workshops on teaching with technology, learning in teams and forensic science. In 2013, I was awarded a University of Virginia, President’s Hybrid Challenge Grant, which focuses on “Enhancement of the Student Learning Experience through Student Centered Learning Approaches utilizing Technology”. Our NSF-HBCU-UP Targeted Infusion Project proposal entitled: “Enrichment of the B.S. Chemistry Program through Forensic Science Concentration at North Carolina Central University” was funded for a three year award in 2011.

Teaching Focus

Teaching chemistry with health science applications and engaging students in interactive learning centers inside and out of the classroom.


Journal Articles

Hou, J., Szaflarski, D. M., Simon, J. D. (2013). Quantifying the association constant and stoichiometry between poly-acrylate coated gold nanoparticles and chymotrypsin. Journal of Physical Chemistry B, 117(16), 4587-4593. doi:10.1021/jp3087489

Szaflarski, D. M., & Simon, J. D. (1997). Integrating the internet into the high school science classroom. Book of Abstracts, 213th American Chemical Society National Meeting,, CHED-826.


Anderson, L. D., Barlett, J. M., Szaflarski, D. M., Widder, K. J. (1995). U.S. Patent No. 5385147 - Composition for use as a negative contrast medium for ultrasonically imaging the gastrointestinal tract. Washington, DC: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.