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Meet Dr Jessica Gusthart

Dr Jessica Gusthart
Dr. Jessica Gusthart plays a very active role in the Department of Chemistry at Reading. As both a teaching-intensive lecturer in organic chemistry and the Chemistry admissions tutor, she's here to welcome you at the start of your university adventure and guide you all the way to graduation.

Teaching excellence

Jessica's journey into the world of teaching began during her years as a PhD student when she discovered her natural affinity for guiding and nurturing undergraduate students. Witnessing these budding chemists develop into self-reliant learners ignited a passion for education within her. There's a profound sense of satisfaction in helping others overcome their academic challenges.

As Jessica continues to advance in her teaching career, she is dedicated to breaking down barriers to learning. 

“I hope to explore ways to further increase the accessibility and inclusivity of my teaching so that all students can access the content and support they need to achieve their best.”

Jessica's academic journey has been a remarkable one. After completing her MChem degree and earning her PhD at the University of Southampton, she joined Reading as a post-doctoral researcher in the Department of Pharmacy. In 2020, she seized the opportunity to become a Teaching Fellow in the Department of Chemistry, ultimately leading to her role as a teaching-intensive lecturer in organic chemistry the following year.

Jessica's teaching style is a testament to her commitment to student engagement. She understands that variety is key, incorporating interactive elements into her lectures to keep students actively involved.

“I try to break my lectures up so that I’m not just talking for 50 minutes! This could involve short quizzes, problems for students to practice in class, or a chance for students to discuss a problem in groups before feeding back to the class.”

Students as top priority

At Reading, Jessica finds pride in the close-knit student community that thrives due to smaller class sizes. This unique setting allows her to build personal connections with her students and witness their growth over the years.

Additionally, Reading's resources such as the Chemical Analysis Facility, offer students unparalleled opportunities to excel in their studies.

“We also have the CAF lab on site as well as experts in analytical chemistry which allows us to emphasise this topic and introduce specific analytical chemistry practicals in our lab module. Students also receive training in their third-year project to use any instruments they may need for the research they are undertaking rather than having to rely on a PhD or Post Doc to run their samples for them.”

Getting ready for life after university

Jessica is a valuable resource for students seeking career guidance. She has often mentored students during their placements, ensuring their experiences are fruitful. Jessica's open-door policy means that she's always available to provide advice and connect students with the right resources, even if it means seeking out experts in other fields.

Jessica takes immense pride in witnessing the progress of the students she has taught, from year 1 to year 3, graduate successfully. It's a testament to her commitment to their growth and the relationship she has with her students – In fact one of Jessica’s highlights as an academic is getting to attend events such as formals and day trips with her students. Join us and you may hear about the infamous Mario Kart defeat she suffered during a games night, which she hopes to redeem herself from someday.

Find out more about our teaching

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