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Lori Stepan

Teaching Professor


Professional Appointments and Affiliations

Teaching Professor

Chemistry Department Learning Assistant Coordinator

Eberly College of Science Outreach Fellow

Director, Summer Experience in the Eberly College of Science (SEECoS)

Faculty Co-Advisor for the Nittany Chemical Society Student Affiliate of the ACS (NCS)


B.A., Northwestern University, 1984

Ph.D., Indiana University, 1991

Honors and Awards

ACS Chemistry Ambassador 2015 - 2017

ACS Chemistry Outreach Volunteer of the year, 2014

Priestley Prize for Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching in Chemistry, 2012

About Me

I have been teaching general chemistry at Penn State since 2007, and I especially enjoy getting to know a new group of smiling students every semester!  My classes incorporate active and collaborative learning, and I believe my role is to be a coach for my students as they master new skills. I have a large group of undergraduate learning assistants (LAs) on my educational team, and I enjoy teaching the science pedagogy course that trains LAs on best practices in teaching and learning. 

I love chemical demonstrations, because I believe chemistry in action is worth a thousand words.  I’m a Co-Advisor for the Nittany Chemical Society, which focuses on service and outreach in the form of demo shows and hands-on science activities.

I earned my doctorate in inorganic chemistry at Indiana University and Los Alamos National Lab, and I especially enjoy the intricacies of transition metal organometallic chemistry. My thesis work involved the characterization of a new class of metal complexes containing a labile dihydrogen ligand bound to iron, ruthenium or tungsten. Currently my interests are in research on chemical education. 

I live in beautiful State College with two cats and a piano, and I have three sons. The youngest is a currently a student in the College of Education at Penn State.

Selected Publications

Vol. 1; PSU-E CHEM 110: Structure and Properties, and Vol. 2; PSU-E CHEM 112: Reactions and Materials; Maslak, P.; Bojan, M. J.; Van Der Sluys, L. S.; Copyright Ó 2011-2017,

“Chemistry Rocks, Norwood, V.; Abrams, N.; D’Amelia, R.; Duerst, M.; Fivizzani, K.; Litin, Al; Van Der Sluys, L.; 2017 National Chemistry Week edition of Celebrating Chemistry, copyright 2017, American Chemical Society, Washington, D.C.

“An Attractive “Cis-Effect” of Hydride on Neighbor Ligands:  Experimental and Theoretical Studies on the Structure and Intramolecular Rearrangements of Fe(H)2(η2-H2)-(PEtPh2)3.”  Lori Stepan Van Der Sluys, Juergen Eckert, Odile Eisenstein, John H. Hall, John C. Huffman, Sarah A. Jackson, Thomas F. Koetzle, Gregory J. Kubas, Phillip J. Vergamini, and Kenneth G. Caulton;* J. Amer. Chem. Soc., 1990, 112, 4831.

“Dihydrogen: a Better Ligand Than Water?  IR and X-ray Evidence for Aquo Coordination in W(CO)3(PR3)2(H2O).  Thermodynamics of H2O Versus η 2-H2 Binding, and H2O/D2 Isotopic Exchange.  Implications on the Biological Activation of Hydrogen.”  Gregory J. Kubas, Carol J. Burns, G.R.K. Khalsa, Lori Stepan Van Der Sluys, Gabor Kiss, and Carl D. Hoff, Organometallics, 1992, 11, 3390.

“Protonation of W(CO)3(PCy3)2.”  Lori Stepan Van Der Sluys, Gregory J. Kubas, Kimberly A. Kubat-Martin, and Kenneth G. Caulton*;  Inorg. Chem., 1991, 30, 306.

“Deprotonation of Uncharged Transition-Metal Dihydrogen Complexes with Copper Alkoxides, Characterization of the Heterometallic Complexes  (PR3)xMHyCu(PR3) (M = Fe,W), and X-ray Crystal Structure of (PEtPh2)3FeH3Cu(PEtPh2),”  Lori Stepan Van Der Sluys, M.M. Miller;  Gregory J. Kubas* and Kenneth G. Caulton;* J. Amer. Chem. Soc., 1991, 113, 2513.

“Reactivity of Ru(H2)(H)2(PPh3)3;  Dimerization to Form (PPh3)2(H)Ru(μ-H)3Ru(PPh3)3 and Decarbonylation of EtOH Under Mild Conditions.”  Lori Stepan Van Der Sluys, Gregory J. Kubas* and Kenneth G. Caulton,* Organometallics,1991, 10, 1033.

“Molecular Hydrogen Complexes of the Transition Metals.  7.  Kinetics and Thermo-dynamics of the Interconversion Between Dihydride and Dihydrogen Forms of W(CO)3(PR3)2H2 Where R = iso-propyl and cyclo-pentyl.”  G. Rattan K. Khalsa, Gregory J. Kubas*, Clifford J. Unkefer, Lori Stepan Van Der Sluys, and Kimberly A. Kubat-Martin; J. Amer. Chem. Soc., 1990, 112, 3855.

“Tricarbonyltris(nitrile) complexes of Cr, Mo, and W.” Gregory J. Kubas*, and Lori Stepan Van Der Sluys, Inorg. Syntheses,1990, 28, 29.