Dr. Anna Tan-Wilson
“Our students are so excited and so interested, and many enter top doctoral programs after graduation. I love my job and can’t imagine being anywhere else.”
While completing her post-doctorate in biochemistry at Purdue University, SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor and Undergraduate Director Anna Tan-Wilson answered a job advertisement for a position at Binghamton University. Although familiar with the SUNY system from having earned her doctorate at SUNY-Buffalo, she found something she hadn’t anticipated: a student-centered, high-quality university where “integrating research and learning were part of the DNA.” That was more than 30 years ago.
“My hypothesis on why we combine research and teaching so well,” Tan-Wilson says, “is that Binghamton began as a four-year college with faculty members who wanted to teach and do research, so they invited undergraduate students to partner with them on their projects. We have a long history of helping students drive their own learning.”
Tan-Wilson believes her colleagues share her passion for being a mentor as well as a teacher and a scientist. In her current project, funded by the National Science Foundation, Tan-Wilson and her students are using sophisticated processes to identify plant proteins and protein sequences and to study ways plants use their stored proteins — a project Tan-Wilson says would be reserved for graduate students elsewhere.