Skip to main content

UA Little Rock Chemistry Professor Named Central Arkansas Professor of the Year, Volunteer of the Year

Professor Noureen Siraj
Professor Noureen Siraj

A University of Arkansas at Little Rock chemistry professor took home double honors from the Central Arkansas American Chemical Society.

Dr. Noureen Siraj, associate professor of chemistry, received the Central Arkansas Professor of the Year Award as well as the Volunteer of the Year Award during an April 18 awards ceremony at UA Little Rock.

Since joining UA Little Rock in 2016, Siraj regularly teaches General Chemistry 2, Analytical Chemistry I, Physical Chemistry for Life Sciences, and a special topic graduate course in analytical chemistry.

“When they announced my name, it was very surprising,” Siraj said. “No one had given me any clue that I had been nominated to be professor of the year. I am glad they recognize my efforts regarding helping students, improving my teaching, and connecting students with research opportunities.”

In 2022, Siraj received the Faculty Excellence Award in Research and Creative Endeavors from UA Little Rock, noting that her research has been cited more than 700 times since 2016, and she has received more than $1 million in funding from federal, state, and local agencies.

For the Volunteer of the Year Award, Siraj was recognized for her efforts in coordinating the Central Arkansas Chemistry Olympiad. About 200 high school chemistry students in Arkansas regularly take the annual Chemistry Olympiad exam. The top 10 students selected take the national exam to qualify for the U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad team, which competes in the International Chemistry Olympiad.

As part of her service activities, Siraj has also mentored more than two dozen middle and high school students who conduct research projects under her supervision. In 2018, Meghana Bollimpalli, one of Siraj’s mentees from Central High School, earned more than $58,000 in scholarships for her science fair project at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. The high school student became the first student in the history of Arkansas to attain this level of distinction.

“The Central Arkansas Chemistry Olympiad presents a good opportunity to meet highly talented chemistry students in Arkansas,” Siraj said. “I always invite them to come and do research with me. I like giving students the opportunity to participate in research. I give the students a tour of campus and show them the research we are doing in the Department of Chemistry. They can also reach out to any other research groups if they are interested.”

She earned a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in chemistry from the University of Karachi in Pakistan. Siraj earned a Ph.D. in chemistry from the Graz University of Technology in Austria and completed postdoctoral research at Louisiana State University.