- President's Award for Distinguished Teaching (2023)
An experimenter both in the laboratory and the classroom, Laura Brown has been instrumental in creating a more equitable and inclusive learning environment for chemistry students at IU Bloomington. She is committed to modernizing and improving the chemistry curriculum and has successfully overhauled and updated several courses and aspects of the organic chemistry major since joining the chemistry department faculty as a lecturer in 2011.
Dedicated to fostering equitability and inclusivity in the classroom, Brown was inspired to act after attending an informational session at the Learning Analytics Fellows program where she discovered male students tend to perform better than female students in introductory STEM courses. She was stunned by the performance gap and committed herself to implementing evidence-based strategies to make organic chemistry at IU more equitable. She developed a new course, updated two existing upper-level elective courses, and changed the way experiments are conducted in the organic chemistry laboratory to enhance the learning experience for all students across demographics. Her methods have proven to be successful in increasing the number of students who continue to higher level courses in the curriculum.
An avid advocate for enhancing the student experience, Brown has been instrumental in expanding research opportunities for students. She converted an ongoing research collaboration into a three-week research module in an upper-level lab elective and later expanded this program into a year-long Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Research Experience (ASURE) chemistry research experience. Students have since conducted several impactful research projects under her tutelage. This demonstrated commitment to increasing opportunities for chemistry students earned her the 2022 David and Cheryl Morley Award for Outstanding Teaching in the ASURE program.
Outside IU, Brown is dedicated to making organic chemistry more accessible to the public through the creation and curation of travelling museum exhibits. She co-curated two exhibits at WonderLab relating structure to scent which have helped children easily understand scientific connections. Throughout her career in Bloomington, she has successfully identified, addressed, and fulfilled numerous needs within the IU curriculum and beyond.