About Me

Kevin R. Tucker, Ph.D.: A Journey Through Chemistry and Education

Dr. Kevin R. Tucker's journey in chemistry began with a Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry, Summa Cum Laude, from Rollins College, Florida, in 2005. His undergraduate research, guided by Prof. Pedro Bernal and Prof. D. Larry Eng-Wilmot, delved into the volumetric properties of cyclic ethers at various temperatures. This early interest in analytical chemistry and chemical education shaped the trajectory of his career.

In 2011, Dr. Tucker earned his Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His doctoral research, under the mentorship of Prof. Jonathan V. Sweedler, focused on mass spectrometry imaging for probing molecular distributions in the nervous system. This work not only highlighted his proficiency in analytical techniques but also his inclination towards applying chemistry in understanding complex biological systems.

Dr. Tucker’s professional path led him to Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, where he has been a cornerstone of the Department of Chemistry. He began as an Assistant Professor in 2016 and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2022. His teaching portfolio is extensive, covering a wide spectrum of chemistry courses, from general chemistry to specialized topics in analytical chemistry. His dedication to teaching is evident in his Online Instruction Faculty Certification from Parkland College and his numerous nominations for the Vaughn Vandegrift URCA Research Mentor of the Semester.

His research interests are diverse yet focused, ranging from environmental analysis of pharmaceuticals and personal care products in local waterways to toxicological studies and mass spectrometry applications in environmental, biological, and chemical contexts. His work on mass spectrometry imaging, particularly using MALDI in environmental analytical applications, stands out as a significant contribution to the field.

Dr. Tucker’s commitment extends beyond academia to impactful service roles. He has chaired several committees at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, including the Probst and Johnson Committees, and has played a pivotal role in various academic and operational committees. His contributions to professional societies are equally noteworthy, with active roles in the American Society for Mass Spectrometry, editorial duties for scientific journals, and leadership in organizing symposiums and workshops.

His achievements in research and education have been recognized with awards like the Distinguished Servant Leadership Award from the Cahokia Mounds District, BSA GSLAC, and the Cosmos Award from the BSA Greater St. Louis Area Council. Moreover, Dr. Tucker's involvement with the Boy Scouts of America and the Illinois YMCA Youth and Government program reflects his commitment to community service and youth education.

Dr. Tucker’s publication record, encompassing numerous articles and presentations, underscores his active engagement in advancing scientific knowledge. His work not only contributes to the field of analytical chemistry but also demonstrates a commitment to mentoring the next generation of scientists, as evidenced by the long list of students he has guided towards their academic and research goals.

In conclusion, Dr. Kevin R. Tucker's career is a testament to his passion for chemistry and education. His contributions as a researcher, educator, and mentor have significantly impacted his field and the broader community, embodying the spirit of scientific inquiry and dedication to learning.

Professional Experience

Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, 2022-Current

Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, 2016-2022

Mass Spectrometrist, School of Chemical Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2011-2016  

Chemistry Instructor, Department of Natural Sciences, Parkland College, 2011-2016

Adjunct Analytical Chemistry Lecturer, Department of Chemistry, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2007, 2014-2015                       


Ph.D. in Chemistry, research emphasis in analytical chemistry and specialization in chemical education

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL, 2011

Mass Spectrometry Imaging for Probing Molecular Distributions in the Nervous System

Advisor: Prof. Jonathan V. Sweedler

B.A. in Chemistry (ACS), Summa Cum Laude

Rollins College, Winter Park, FL, 2005

Volumetric Properties of Cyclic Ethers at Various Temperatures

Research Advisor: Prof. Pedro Bernal; Academic Advisor: Prof. D. Larry Eng-Wilmot

Teaching Experience

General Chemistry

Engineering Chemistry Lab

Quantitative Chemical Analysis Lecture and Lab

Instrumental Analysis Lecture and Lab

Special Topics in Analytical Chemistry: Mass Spectrometry

Senior Assignment

Advanced Analytical Chemistry

Research (Sophomore, Junior, Senior and Graduate levels)


Awards, Honors and Certifications

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

Vaughn Vandegrift URCA Research Mentor of the Semester, Spring 2017 (Nominated, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019)

BSA Greater St. Louis Area Council

Cosmos Award (2021)

Parkland College

Online Faculty Certification, Parkland College, 2014

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Chemical Education Specialization, 2011

Baxter Innovation Award, Baxter International, 2009

Teacher Scholar Certificate, 2008

Graduate Teacher Certificate, 2008

Roger Adams Graduate Fellowship , 2005

Rollins College

American Institute of Chemists Award, 2005

Thomas Baker Memorial Award in Chemistry, 2004

ACS Division of Analytical Chemistry Undergraduate Award, 2004

ACS Polymer Education Committee Award in Organic Chemistry, 2003

Chemical Rubber Company First-Year Achievement Award, 2002