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Michelle Richards-Babb, Ph.D.

Professor – Associate Chair – Director, Office of Undergraduate Research



Ph.D., Lehigh University

Research interest in chemical education, particularly the freshmen chemistry learning experience, undergraduate research and STEM outreach.

Recipient of a 2013/2014 Eberly College Outstanding Teacher Award.

Michelle Richards-Babb (PI) and Brian Popp (co-PI) administer the REU Site: Research in Chemistry at West Virginia University: 

REU Site: Research in Chemistry at West Virginia University
Offers a unique 10-week summer research experience for chemistry and biochemistry undergraduates in a research and training environment akin to that of a graduate student. Students carry out research on projects that address fundamental questions related to the chemistry of health and catalysis in chemistry. Projects focus on the potential of research to benefit society both directly and indirectly in the fields of health care, forensics/criminology, energy, sustainability, and transportation. Room and board and a competitive stipend are offered.  WVU students are not eligible.

Courses Offered

  • Chem 110, Chem 115, Chem 116, Chem 231, Chem 233, Chem 401, and Chem 790 or preparatory chemistry, general chemistry I and II, short course organic chemistry, organic chemistry I, organic chemistry laboratory, chemical literature, and teaching practicum for future faculty.


Chiu, Y.-C., Jenks, M., Richards-Babb, M., Ratcliff, B., Juvik, J., Ku, K.-M. ( 2016). Demonstrating the effect of surfactant on water retention of waxy leaf surfaces.  Journal of Chemical Education, (accepted for publication).

Richards-Babb, M., Curtis, R., Georgieva, Z., & Penn, J.H. (2015). Student perceptions of online homework use for formative assessment of learning in organic chemistry.  Journal of Chemical Education92, 1813-1819.

Richards-Babb, M., Curtis, R., Smith, V., & Xu, M. ( 2014). “Problem solving videos for general chemistry review: Students’ perceptions and use patterns”.  Journal of Chemical Education91, 1796-1803.

Richards-Babb, M., Penn, J.H., & Withers, M. ( 2014). “Results of a practicum offering teaching-focused graduate student professional development”.  Journal of Chemical Education, 91, 1867-1873.

Richards-Babb, M. & Jackson, J.K. “Gendered responses to online homework use in general chemistry”,  Chemistry Education Research and Practice  201112, 409-419.

Richards-Babb, M., Drelick, J., Henry, Z., & Robertson-Honecker, J. “Online homework, help or hindrance: What students think and how they perform”,  Journal of College Science Teaching  201140(4), 70-82.

Richards-Babb, M., Carroll, R.L., & Sweeney, R.J. “Ferrofluid synthesis: Concurrently teaching laboratory techniques and enhancing interest in nanoscience”,  The Chemical Educator  201015, 1-6.

Vannatta, M., Richards-Babb, M., & Sweeney, R.J. “Oxalate synthesis and pyrolysis: A colorful introduction to stoichiometry”,  Journal of Chemical Education  201087(11), 1225-1229.

Vannatta, M., Richards-Babb, M., & Sweeney, R.J. “Thermochemistry to the rescue: A novel calorimetry experiment for general chemistry”,  Journal of Chemical Education  201087(11), 1222-1224.

Richards-Babb, M., Bishoff, J., Carver, J.S., Fisher, K., & Robertson-Honecker, J. “Keeping it safe: Chemical safety in the high school laboratory”,  Journal of Chemical Health and Safety  201017(1), 6-14.