Students in field

Finlandia welcomes new Assistant Professor of Chemistry, Dr. Ashok Khanal

August 22, 2018

Ashok Khanal

Finlandia University is pleased to welcome new Assistant Professor of Chemistry Dr. Ashok Khanal.

Khanal brings a wealth of experience in teaching and chemistry to the position. Originally from Nepal, Khanal earned his Bachelor’s of Science and Master’s of Science in Organic Chemistry from Tribhuvan University

Although Khanal loves chemistry now, he said it wasn’t always that way.

“Up until my undergraduate experience, I wasn’t passionate about it,” said Khanal. “But after I learned organic chemistry, I got really excited and developed a passion for it.”

He served as a lecturer and chemistry department chair at the National School of Sciences in Lainchour, Kathmandu, Nepal until 2011, when he decided to continue his education in the United States.

“I realized I had to pursue further education so I applied for a U.S. university,” said Khanal. “I got the offer from Michigan Technological University and have been here for six years. I like the community and the people here are so nice. Nowadays, if I go to the big city, I feel a little suffocated.”

Khanal worked at Michigan Tech as a chemistry instructor and organic chemistry lab supervisor while working toward his Ph.D. While at Tech, he earned the Outstanding Chemistry Teaching Assistant Award, Outstanding Graduate Student Research Award, Endowed Graduate Fellowship, Finishing Fellowship, Portage Health Foundation Graduate Fellowship and the Dean’s Award for Outsanding Scholarship. He completed his Ph.D. in Synthetic Organic Chemistry in May 2018.

Although he is an accomplished chemist with a provisionary U.S. patent on the solid phase stepwise synthesis of polyethylene glycols and numerous articles in scientific journals, his true passion lies in teaching.

Khanal said he employs a ‘learn-with-fun’ strategy in the class so that students are attentive and don’t get bored.

“Here, I have the opportunity to mentor the undergraduate students who are interested in research,” said Khanal. “I try to use real-life examples and demonstrate how chemistry is used in daily life. My mission is to encourage students to discover a passion for research and chemistry.”

Khanal also acknowledged that chemistry is a difficult subject for students. He hopes he can be a valuable asset to them and encourages students to approach him if they need help.

“I encourage them to come to my office and talk to me in person,” said Khanal. “I can provide them with sufficient of office hours. I’m willing to go through the basic levels and find out what they don’t understand to help them understand it better.”

Khanal also said he is an avid bicyclist and enjoys watching soccer.

When asked whether he would root for the Huskies or the Lions, he said Lions all the way.

“I used to be a Husky, but now I am a proud Lion,” said Khanal.

Khanal will be teaching general and organic chemistry and their corresponding labs. He can be reached at ashok.khanal@finlandia.edu.

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