Stella James Sims Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Endowed by Michael J. Bonney ’80, P’09, P’12,P’15 and Alison Grott Bonney ’80, P’09, P’12, P’15, this chair is named in honor of Stella James Sims, Class of 1897. Stella James was the first African American female graduate of Bates College, earning second honor in physics. She became a science professor at Storer College, Virginia University of Lynchburg, and Bluefield Colored Institute, where she served as department chair. This professorship recognizes the role of biochemistry in the curriculum and honors a faculty member whose contributions to biochemistry, accomplishments as a pedagogue, achievements as a researcher, and effectiveness as a leader have enriched STEM at Bates and the college as a whole.
Paula Schlax, Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Professor Paula Schlax joined the faculty in 1998. A winner of the Kroepsch Award for Excellence in Teaching, Paula teaches introductory chemistry; biophysical chemistry; biological chemistry, and for nonscience majors, Biotechnology for Citizens; Structure and Function of DNA, RNA, and Proteins; a first year seminar on epidemics; and a Short Term course on bees. She studies the importance of the thermodynamics and kinetics of mRNA folding in translational regulation. Her research on gene regulation in Borrelia burgdorferi, the causative agent of Lyme disease, is not only of great public health interest, but of student interest as well. Scores of students have worked in the Schlax Lab as her research collaborators. Paula is a leader in STEM, advancing major initiatives from the new Bonney Science Center to our ongoing HHMI-funded work to ensure equity and inclusion in STEM.