A little over a year ago, Saleela Hollingsworth joined Davenport University as an assistant professor in the College of Arts and Sciences. She teaches classes for the Biological Laboratory Sciences and Nursing programs, including general and organic chemistry laboratory and lecture.
“It takes a lot of work to develop these courses and design curriculum to make sure they are up to par with other colleges and universities,” Hollingsworth said.
Hollingsworth sets high standards and enjoys meeting with students one-on-one during her office hours. Her goal is to ensure they are ready for their careers.
“I am interested in making sure that my students are learning something from my class so that when they go out into the workforce they are prepared for the types of scenarios they will encounter,” Hollingsworth said. “I don’t spoon feed my students because I want them to work hard for the grades they receive and learn the material that they need to know.”
She was born in India, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in chemistry. She later earned her doctorate in chemistry from the University of the West Indies in Mona, Jamaica. After a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, she began her career at Michigan State University as an assistant professor in the Microbiology department. She has authored several scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals and presented at international conferences. She retired from MSU in 2011.
After retiring, Hollingsworth became involved in teaching again. In 2014, she became a mentor for the TRiO program at Lansing Community College, which provides support to low income, first generation and disabled students, as well as many students that are recent immigrants and non-native English speakers — many of whom are refugees. She continues to volunteer her time there during the summer months and is an advocate for women immigrants.
“I feel I was so fortunate with the amount of support I had while I was getting my education,” she said. “I feel that a lot of students don’t have that support. I am passionate about giving that support back to someone that needs it. A strong support system and lack of pressures can allow a student to focus on their studies with less stress and do well.”