Carnegie Mellon University

Leonard Vuocolo

Leonard Vuocolo

Associate Teaching Professor, Chemistry

  • Doherty Hall 2114
  • 412-268-7033


2000     Ph.D. in Chemistry, Carnegie Mellon University


Areas of Specialty

Effective Use of Technology/Software at the introductory level; contextual approaches to general chemistry; implementation of green chemistry and bioinorganic chemistry in the undergraduate curriculum; interdisciplinary experiments between chemistry and engineering; interdisciplinary courses between chemistry and non-science and non-engineering programs, peer learning techniques, advising effective recitation instruction, academic and career advising.

Educational Interests

My lecture courses focus on a “concepts first, numbers next” approach to learning. I integrate activities and software that encourage students to apply concepts to new and/or practical situations and to derive new concepts from those they currently know. In the Professional Communication Skills (PCSC) course, students learn about faculty research in the department and communicating professionally both on their own and from their peers, enforcing the notion of learning information through communicating/teaching it in various formats. Further implementation of peer learning techniques will be in the Introduction to Experimental Chemistry course where some parts of experiments will involve small groups deriving procedures to reach a goal and class pooling of data for interpretation of results. In the safety seminar students not only learn about current waste procedures and safe laboratory practices, but they also get to inspect a laboratory on campus and report whether these practices are currently enforced. The Junior and Senior seminar enforce the literature experiences from PCSC and the safety training from the sophomore seminar through providing feedback on seniors’ research or literature presentations.


2009–present Assistant Teaching Professor of Chemistry, Carnegie Mellon University
2005–2009 Special Lecturer in Chemistry, Carnegie Mellon University
2000–2005 Assistant Professor of Chemistry, Allegheny College

Awards and Distinctions

October 2007 and 2009 Co-recipient of the Carnegie Mellon Panhellenic Role Model Award.
June 1999 Co-recipient of the 1999 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award (In recognition of contributions made to the development of Professor Terrence Collins’ “TAML™ Catalytic Oxidant Activators: General Activation of Hydrogen Peroxide for Green Oxidation Technologies”)
April 1999 Carnegie Mellon University Graduate Student Teaching Award
April 1998 Mellon College of Science Graduate Student Teaching Award
April 1995 Department of Chemistry Graduate Student Teaching Award

Teaching Interests

Course numberCourse title
09-101 Introduction to Experimental Chemistry
09-103 Atoms, Molecules and Chemical Change
09-106 Modern Chemistry II
09-105 Introduction to Modern Chemistry I
09-204 Professional Communication Skills in Chemistry (formerly Issues in Chemistry)
09-202 Undergraduate Seminar II: Safety and Environmental Issues for Chemists
09-302 Undergraduate Seminar IV
09-402 Undergraduate Seminar VI
09-445 Undergraduate Research