Chemistry Alumna Found Her Inspiration at UCF

Tamra Legron-RodriguezTamra Legron-Rodriguez, ’08, ’13, says her time in the UCF Chemistry Department inspired her to strive to be the best teacher she could be.

Dr. Legron-Rodriguez graduated with her bachelor’s in forensic science and then her doctorate in materials chemistry from UCF. As a two-time UCF chemistry graduate, she spent a lot of her time in UCF labs.

Dr. Legron-Rodriguez says her time as a research and teaching assistant at UCF gave her the experience and tools she needed to start a career in education. Her research experience at UCF includes chemistry education research for engaging STEM at UCF, environmental/materials chemistry research, and hair and fiber identification research with the UCF Chemistry Department.

After graduating, Dr. Legron-Rodriguez worked as a visiting assistant professor of chemistry at Rollins College in Winter Park. She went on to work as a visiting instructor at the University of South Florida in Tampa teaching chemistry courses. Dr. Legron-Rodriguez will return to UCF in fall 2015 to teach forensic and chemistry.

“My favorite thing about teaching is seeing the light bulb moment of a student when they understand something that they have been struggling with for a while,” said Dr. Legron-Rodriguez.

Dr. Legron-Rodriguez shared more about her time at UCF and her advice to students and alumni.

Why did you choose to attend UCF?

I grew up in Ohio and always wanted to move to Florida. The cold and snow just aren’t for me. After taking chemistry in high school, I knew that I wanted to learn more about how the subject could be used in the real world. When I found out UCF had a forensic science program, and how forensics was related to chemistry, it seemed like the perfect fit!

Have you stayed connected with UCF since graduation? If so, how?

Over the summers I work at UCF as a laboratory consultant for the AP College board continuing education program for high school AP chemistry teachers.

What is your best UCF memory?

My best memory was hearing my committee congratulate me on passing my dissertation defense. The sense of accomplishment after working so hard for so long is something that I will never forget.

What piece of advice would you give to current students as well as UCF alumni?

To current students, I would say: Enjoy UCF! Get involved and find friends you can count on, it makes college easier. Some of the most amazing people I know I met at UCF.

To alumni, I would say: Make your life what you want it to be. Decide what’s most important in your life and live without regrets.

Dr. Legron-Rodriguez answered some fun questions in our 30-second get-to-know-you round of the spotlight.

Who is your favorite musician/band?

Zac Brown Band

What is the last book you read?

The Disappearing Spoon by Sam Kean

If you could watch only one TV show, what would it be?

Breaking Bad

What is something most people do not know about you?

I LOVE rollercoasters!

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