Chemistry teacher uses her PhD to inspire her students


Dr. Kartin prepares for a lab before class.

PJ Pfeiffer

A PhD, formally known as a Doctor of Philosophy, is the highest academic degree awarded by universities across the world. According to an article made by The Hill, obtaining a PhD is something only 9.3 percent of people who attend college can say they have accomplished, Redwood chemistry teacher Mutlu Kartin is one of them.

“Getting my PhD is one of the tools that I use right now to inspire more young people so they can go down my path and research and inspire,” said Kartin.

Dr. Kartin went through about 15 years of education to achieve her highly honored title, but her real goal through the years of study has always been to share a positive attitude about chemistry with her students. Dr. Kartin shares her unique body of knowledge daily, hoping they too will find it as compelling as she does.

PJ Pfeiffer
Dr. Kartin helps one of her students with a lab.

After Dr. Kartin finished high school, she attended college in Turkey, where she spent her childhood years. Only one year after graduating from college, Dr. Kartin moved to the United States (U.S.). The U.S. government held an exam in Turkey to help students have the opportunity to live and go to school in the U.S. and get a PhD. She participated in the nationwide exam and won the financial sponsorship. All the books she needed for graduate school were to be paid for, which paved the way to Kartin becoming a teacher.

In 1993, Dr. Kartin moved to the U.S. by herself to begin a new life, starting with graduate school. She decided to attend Clemson University in South Carolina, where she earned her masters and PhD. Dr. Kartin later went to Dominican University in Marin County to receive her teaching credentials before becoming a teacher at Redwood.

At first, Kartin was not sure what she wanted to pursue, having to decide between two options that she enjoyed very much.

“Doing research sounded so interesting. But, teaching also seemed like so much fun and something I would want to do more,” Kartin said.

One huge factor that persuaded Dr. Kartin to become a chemistry teacher at Redwood was her high school chemistry teacher, who used the same attitude and inspiration that she uses in the classroom. Kartin uses these same strategies to inspire her students such as singing, dancing, telling jokes and using funny analogies. Some of her colleagues, including Emily Doran, join in on this teaching style as well.

“[Kartin] brings a new perspective and she shares her experiences with her students. She does a great job of connecting with her students and making chemistry interesting and relevant.”

“It goes a long way,” Doran said. “She is very passionate towards her kids and with chemistry in general. She is always positive and has a bubbly personality.”

PJ Pfeiffer
Dr. Kartin helps one of her students with his homework.

Kartin’s positivity and passion for chemistry is constantly inspiring students to pursue science, one of them, Sedona Campbell. Campbell agrees that Kartin has a special passion for chemistry that helps her students learn and understand the material they are learning better.

“Her positivity and the way she teaches inspires me to learn chemistry every day. I think almost everyone in my class can agree that she looks out for everyone and is inspiring to everybody with her personality and her love for chemistry,” Campbell said.