Dr. André K. Isaacs is bringing his love of chemistry to TikTok by taking part in viral challenges and choreographing dances with his students. His goal is to connect with students and those potentially interested in the STEM field.

“The whole point of the dancing is to meet students where they’re at, in whatever ways they need,” he said in a segment that aired on The Today Show.

Dr. Isaacs is an associate professor of chemistry at the College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts. Posting on social media was an idea suggested by his undergraduate students, who he says came up with most of the choreography.

The professor notes the importance of inclusivity in the field. It is why he wears a rainbow lab coat to perform his work as a professor.

“It’s very important for us to realize that science can be conducted by anyone,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what you look like. It doesn’t matter how you identify. I want students to realize that whatever they bring is an asset and that science is better when people bring their unique qualities and skills to the table.

Dr. Isaacs’ love for chemistry stems from his childhood in Kingston, Jamaica. He was inspired by his uncle, a science teacher, who introduced him to chemistry and math.

“If it wasn’t for his guidance, I would not be a chemist today. I would have probably gone down another path, but he gave me a start and helped me to figure out my strengths,” he told Advanced Science News.

He advises anyone studying chemistry to realize that mistakes and failure is part of the process.

“That is something I struggled with. I wanted every reaction to work, but I’ve learned more from my failures than I learned from my successes. I think they’ve made me a better scientist. Embrace failure as a part of the process,” Dr. Isaacs said.


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♬ original sound – Andre Isaacs

Ultimately, he believes his teaching style resonates with his students and helps build rapport.

“My teaching style is something that resonates with a lot of my students. I think the TikTok videos are just an added bonus,” Dr. Isaacs said. “What it shows them is that I’m accessible, I’m approachable. For a lot of students, this professor is trying to meet us where we’re at and sees value in the way we communicate and, the social media platforms we use, the jokes we make, the language we use, and it’s taught me too. I think it’s helped me be a better professor because I now know what a lot of the phrases they use mean.”