Jackie Dillon: alumna to professor


Kinsley Alley

Dr. Jackie Dillon began teaching in the science department at Baker University in the fall of 2021.

Dr. Jackie Dillon, an alumna of Baker University, is one of the newest editions to the science department. Dillon is excited to be a part of the Baker community again, but this time as a professor. Before starting her new job at Baker, she was working in both agricultural biotechnology and pharmaceutical sciences. 

After Dillon completed her graduate degree, she worked for a small start-up in St. Louis called Benson Hill and then moved to Kansas City where she worked for a contract research organization called KCAS in Shawnee, Kansas.

Dillon graduated from Baker University in 2012. While attending Baker, she was a peer tutor, worked in the library and was a part of the all-chemist organization.

What drew Dillon to Baker as a student was the small class sizes and the opportunity to interact directly with the professors.

”I majored in chemistry and had a minor in studio art,” Dillon said. “I came to Baker knowing that I wanted to major in chemistry but I discovered a love for ceramics and studio art my freshman year and ultimately decided to get the minor.” 

When she met with the chemistry faculty during a campus visit, she immediately felt at home and knew that Baker was where she was meant to be.

Dr. Erin Morris, Chair of the Department of Biology and Chemistry, said, “I had Jackie as a student when she went to Baker and she was intelligent, outgoing and even enthusiastic about chemistry.”

Dillon is teaching Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry, which are considered by some to be notoriously challenging classes in the science department.

”The one thing I love more than science itself is sharing science with others,” Dillon said. “While I enjoy research, I have found that my passion is interacting with people and sharing my enthusiasm for science.”

Dillon’s predecessor, Dr. Michael Barbush was a professor of chemistry for 30 years. He taught organic chemistry, biochemistry, instrumental methods of analysis and basic chemistry. Following his departure from Baker, Dillon has taken on his role.

“She is the professor we needed in the science department because she is capable of taking on this new transition and is up for the challenge,” Morris said.

Students like Junior Kayla Landes believe that Dillon is effective with her class format and her teaching etiquette. “Dr. Dillon is a lot more open to answering questions and helping students understand the material,” Landes said.

Along with making sure that students understand the material, Dillon is also committed to lab safety and works hard to make resources available for all.

“Her teaching style is to have a brief slide on display while writing more in-depth on the board about topics. I find this to be my favorite way to take notes and it helps retain information,” Landes said.

Dillon’s goal as a professor is to train her students to become science-minded as they head into the field they want to be in.

“I’ve gotten to know her personally from talking to her after class and even during class,” Landes said. “I know she’s going to do great things for the department.”

Dillon enjoys the entire Baker community and is excited to return to her alma mater as a faculty member. She is grateful to for the opportunity to show her students the passion she has for chemistry.