Alumni Spotlight: Ruth (Rivers) Bowers ’98
Ruth (Rivers) Bowers graduated from the Academy in 1998. Some of her favorite activities while she was there included performing with the improv comedy troupe, serving as a student resident assistant, participating in Envirothon, and assisting Dr. Adams with lab demonstrations broadcast as part of the distance learning for AP Chemistry. Her AP Chemistry experiences taught her how to study effectively and instilled in her a fascination with the subject.
Ruth went on to graduate from Purdue University in 2002 with a B.S., majoring in chemistry with a minor in psychology. At Purdue, Ruth continued performing improv comedy and worked as a tutor in the chemistry resource room, where she became increasingly interested in best practices for teaching chemistry.
Ruth then attended graduate school at The Pennsylvania State University where she completed work in both the chemistry and education departments, ultimately earning her M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction and a Pennsylvania State teaching certification. For her master’s degree, she studied the impact of an atoms-first approach to general chemistry on student comprehension of select chemistry topics.
In her current position as adjunct instructor of chemistry at Alfred University, Ruth has taught both general chemistry lectures and laboratories, and also developed and implemented curricula for teaching the chemistry of consumer products as an honors seminar course and a regularly occurring high school summer camp. Ruth’s teaching interests focus on the high school to college transition and teaching chemistry through practical examples. She regularly uses her improv training to think on her feet during classes and credits the Academy with instilling high standards to which she tries to hold her students.
Most recently, Ruth and her husband Geoff co-authored the book, “Understanding Chemistry Through Cars.” The book is the first of its kind to cover chemistry from an automotive perspective and is designed with multiple levels of students and enthusiasts in mind. You can interact with them and read about additional topics related to chemistry and cars at their blog, www.thechemistryofcars.com.
Ruth lives in western NY with her husband, two sons, and dog. She teaches part time while raising their boys, believing strongly in participating in their early education. Ruth is thankful for the lifelong bonds of friendship she formed at the Academy and treasures the interactions she has with fellow alumni.