Joan M. Esson

Joan Esson



Science Building 309

Professor & Department Chair
Department of Chemistry

Joan M. Esson, Ph. D., joined the Otterbein faculty in 2007 as a specialist in Analytical Chemistry. She teaches courses in General Chemistry, Analytical Chemistry, Instrumental Analysis, Advanced Laboratory, Senior Year Experience and Integrative Studies (including a faculty-led study abroad course). She also oversees the Cardinal Science Scholars Program, which is funded by the National Science Foundation.

Esson is a graduate of Baldwin-Wallace College where she received a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, which was followed by graduate studies at The University of Michigan. After receiving her Ph.D. under the mentorship of Mark Meyerhoff, shecompleted her postdoctoral research at Penn State University in the laboratory of Andrew Ewing, and taught at Penn State University and Kalamazoo College before coming to Otterbein.

Esson’s research focuses on the development of analytical methods for applications in clinical chemistry, environmental chemistry and technical art analysis. She actively involves undergraduate students in her work. She also has an interest in assessing the impact of active learning pedagogies and curriculum design on student learning and retention. Esson has authored 15 papers, including one in the prestigious International Journal Science Education and over 60 presentations at regional and national scientific meetings.


  • B.S. Chemistry, Baldwin-Wallace University, 1994
  • Ph.D., The University of Michigan, 1999

Research, Creative, & Professional Work

Analytical Chemistry: Development of novel analytical methods for clinical chemistry, environmental chemistry, and technical art analysis applications, including but not limited to paper-based analytical devices, surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy and liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry.
Science Education: Assessment of the impact of active learning pedagogies and curriculum design on student learning and retention

Affiliations & Awards

  • American Chemical Society (ACS) member since 1994 and Councilor for the Columbus Section of the ACS since 2017.
  • Past recipient of external grants from the Merck Institute for Education and the National Science Foundation among other sources that total ~$1.5 million.