Wei Chen

Wei Chen

Name: Wei Chen
Department: Chemistry
Title: Marilyn Dawson Sarles, M.D. Professor of Life Sciences and Professor of Chemistry


  • Ph.D., University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • M.S., Yale University
  • A.B., Smith College

Teaches: Quantum mechanics, chemical thermodynamics, experimental methods, general chemistry and polymer chemistry

“We have amazing, incredible students. Part of my job is to help them see their potential.”

Wei Chen finds inspiration in her students. “They are the reason I’m here. They keep me reaching higher and higher.”

Five years ago, Chen developed a course for first-year students — Introduction to Research — designed to jumpstart their trajectories as scientists by teaching essential lab skills. It covers everything from working with lab equipment to writing a research proposal. In 2018, the Journal of Chemical Education published an article by Chen about the Mount Holyoke class, which to her knowledge is not offered at any other institution.

2009 Meribeth E. Cameron Faculty Award for Scholarship

Preparing students to thrive in a lab setting can ignite a powerful journey. “It’s where students use their knowledge and start to find answers to things that no one actually answered before.” 

Chen’s formula for mentorship calls for a setting beyond the lab too. She asks students in her classes to stop by during office hours so they can get to know one another. And once students start coming, they don’t stop.  

“My students astound me in terms of how much they change after four years — their knowledge, personal growth, maturity,” Chen says. “And they keep doing great things after they graduate!”