David Pursell
Top Claw Recipient

Dr. David P. Pursell

Professor of Chemistry

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Dr. Dave Pursell joined the GGC faculty in 2007 from the University of Pennsylvania, where he was the executive director of Penn Chemistry. Pursell served as GGC’s associate dean for the School of Science and Technology from 2007-2010 and then as the administrator of part-time science faculty from 2010-2012, when he returned to full-time faculty duties.

Pursell has taught college courses in all areas of chemistry, environmental law, military strategy and advanced technologies in military operations. For 25 years, he served worldwide as a U.S. Army combat engineer with key assignments as company commander at Fort Drum, N.Y.; battalion plans and operations officer on the Korean demilitarized zone (DMZ); speechwriter for a three-star general; tactics faculty member at the Army’s staff college; and chemistry faculty member at the U.S. Military Academy.

Learn more on Pursell's web page.


  • Doctorate – chemical physics – University of Pennsylvania
  • Master’s – chemistry – Lehigh University
  • Master’s – science education – Lehigh University
  • Bachelor’s  – engineering – U.S. Military Academy at West Point

Academic Interests

  • Chemistry Research. The Pursell research group investigates the GGC campus ecosystem, using analytical, organic, physical and instrumental chemistry methods.
  • Chemical Education. Developing methods of engaging 21st century students to enable their development as independent, responsible learners who contribute to their profession and community.


Pursell has published and presented widely in the fields of chemistry, chemistry education, and military strategy and operations.

Selected Recent Publications

  • "Biodiesel Production from Locally-Sourced Restaurant Waste Cooking Oil and Grease: Synthesis, Characterization and Performance Evaluation," Sang Hyuck Park, Neelam Khan, Seungjin Lee, Kathryn Zimmermann, Matthew DeRosa, Lennox Hamilton, Whitney Hudson, Syed Hyder, Marlyne Serratos, Evan Sheffield, Anirudh Veludhandi, David P. Pursell, ACS Omega, 2019, 4, 4, 7775-7784.
  • “Engendering Faculty and Student Engagement in STEM Education: An Institutional Model,” Judy Awong-Taylor, Clay Runck, Thomas Mundie, Allison D’Costa, David Pursell, Tirza Leader, Cindy Achat-Mendes, Chantelle Anfuso, Nathan W. Moon, Scientia, December 2018, 1-5.
  • “Leveraging student interest in environmental topics for undergraduate research in an interdisciplinary environmental research cluster,” in Best Practices for Supporting and Expanding Undergraduate Research in Chemistry, Neelam Khan, Sang H. Park, David P. Pursell, Kathryn Zimmermann. American Chemical Society Symposium Series Books: Washington, D.C., 2018.
  • “Mathematics Competency for Beginning Chemistry Students through Dimensional Analysis,” David P. Pursell, Neville Forlemu, Leonard Anagho, Journal of Nursing Education, 2017, 56(1), 22-26.
  • “The Story of a Diverse Chemistry Faculty at a Public College,” C. Douglas Johnson, David Pursell, and Patrice Bell, Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, 2017, 34(13), 33.
  • “Enhancing Research Skills and Attitudes in Undergraduate Organic Chemistry with a Course-embedded Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE) via Green Organic Synthesis,” Richard Pennington, Julia Paredes, Sang H. Park, Gillian Rudd, David P. Pursell, Mai Yin Tsoi, Joseph C Sloop, Journal of Laboratory Chemical Education, 2017,5(3), 41-47.
  • “Enhancing Interdisciplinary Attitudes and Achievement via Integrated Biology and Chemistry Curriculum,” Ying Guo, Pat Uelmen Huey and David P. Pursell, Proceedings of the Interdisciplinary STEM Teaching and Learning Conference, 2017, 1, 19-33.
  • “Nursing Chemistry Course Scheduling and Student Performance: Implications for administrators and students,” Neville Forlemu, Leonard Anagho, David P. Pursell, Journal of the League for Innovation in the Community College,2016, 29(10).
  • “Undergraduate Research for All: Addressing the Elephant in the Room,” Judy Awong-Taylor, Allison R. D’Costa, Greta Giles, Tirza Leader, David P. Pursell, Clay Runck, Thomas Mundie, In Press, Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) Quarterly, 2016, 37(1), 11-19.
  • Book Review, Calculations in Chemistry; Dahm, Donald J., Nelson, Eric A; WW Norton: New York, NY; 2013; 542 pp., David P. Pursell, Journal of Chemical Education, 2015, 92, 1286-1287.
  • “Meeting Students’ Needs In-House: An Interdisciplinary Software Development Project,” Mai Yin Tsoi, Sonal Dekhane, David P. Pursell, Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) Quarterly, Winter 2013, 34(2), 47.
  • “Conformational Analysis, Modeling, Stereochemistry and Optical Activity of Cyclohexane Derivatives,” Joseph C. Sloop, Leonard Anagho, Patrick Coppock, Greta Giles, Sang Park, Richard Pennington, David Pursell, Gillian Rudd, Mai Yin Tsoi. Journal of Laboratory Chemical Education, 2013, 1(3), 39-44.
  • “Enabling 21st Century Student Success in Undergraduate Organic Chemistry,” Book Chapter in Advances in Teaching Organic Chemistry, David P. Pursell, Joseph C. Sloop, Richard L. Pennington, Julia B. Paredes, Mai Yin Tsoi, Sonal Dekhane. American Chemical Society Books: Washington, DC, 2012.
  • “Engaging Science Students with Handheld Technology and Applications by Re-Visiting the Thayer Method of Teaching and Learning,” Julia Paredes, Richard L. Pennington, David P. Pursell, Joseph C. Sloop, Mai Yin Tsoi. Georgia Journal of Science, 2010, 68, 186-195.
  • “Enhancing Interdisciplinary, Mathematics, and Physical Science in an Undergraduate Life Science Program through Physical Chemistry,” David P. Pursell. Cell Biology Education-Life Sciences Education, 2009, 8, 15-28.
  • “Predicted versus Actual Performance in Undergraduate Organic Chemistry and Implications for Student Advising,” David P. Pursell. Journal of Chemical Education, 2007, 84, 1448-1453.
  • “Adapting to Student Learning Styles: Using Cell Phone Technology in Organic Chemistry Instruction,” David P. Pursell. Journal of Chemical Education, 2009, 86, 1219-1222.
  • “Chlorine Adsorption Induced Structure and Energetics Change of Vinyl Chloride Physisorbed on Ag(111)” David P. Pursell, John M. Vohs, and Hai-Lung Dai. Chemical Physics Letters, 2006, 432, 431-435.
  • “Photochemistry of Vinyl Chloride Physisorbed on Ag(111) through Molecular Anion Formation Induced by Substrate Electron Attachment,” David P. Pursell and Hai-Lung Dai. Journal of Physical Chemistry B, 2006, 110, 10374-10382.
  • “Adsorption structure, energetics, and thermal reactions of vinyl chloride on Ag(111),” David P. Pursell, Marie-Laure Bocquet, John M. Vohs, Hai-Lung Dai. Surface Science, 2003, 522, 90–104.
  • “Layer-by-layer Structures in Ultra-thin films of Aniline and Pyridine on a Ag(111) Surface,” M.C. Yang, T.J. Rockey, D. Pursell, and H.L. Dai, Journal of Physical Chemistry B, 2001, 105, 11945-11948.

Selected Recent Presentations

  • “Institutional model for increasing student engagement through Course-embedded Undergraduate Research Experiences (CUREs),” Judy Awong-Taylor, Clay Runck, Chantelle L. Anfuso, Allison R. D'Costa, David P Pursell, Tirza Leader, Cindy Achat-Mendes, National Meeting of the American Chemical Society, Orlando, FL, April 2019.
  • “Transforming STEM Education using a Multipronged Systems Approach and High Impact Practices (HIPs),” Allison D’Costa, Cindy Achat-Mendes, Judy Awong-Taylor, Tirza Leader, Clay Runck, Chantelle Anfuso, David P. Pursell, Thomas Mundie, Accelerating Systematic Change Network, Transforming Institutions Conference, Pittsburg, PA, April 2019.
  • “Physics/Physical Chemistry Faculty Cross Training Project”, Cynthia Woodbridge, Joseph Ametepe, David P. Pursell, University of South Alabama Conference on Teaching and Learning, Mobile, AL, May 2018.
  • "Synthesis and characterization of biodiesel from waste oil and grease and characterization of its combustion exhaust when used as fuel,” Matthew Derosa, Anirudh Veludhandi, Neelam Khan, Seungjin Lee, Sang Park, David P. Pursell, Kathryn Zimmermann, Georgia Academy of Science Annual Conference, Carrolton, GA April 2018.
  • “Leveraging student interest in environmental topics for undergraduate research in an interdisciplinary environmental research cluster,” David P. Pursell, Kathryn Zimmermann, Neelam Khan, Sang H. Park, American Chemical Society National Meeting, San Francisco, CA, April 2017.
  • “Improving Retention in STEM Majors via Integrated Biology and Chemistry Curriculum,” Ying Guo, Pat Uelmen Huey, David P. Pursell, University System of Georgia Interdisciplinary STEM Teaching & Learning Conference, Savannah, GA, March 2017.
  • “Achieving Faculty Diversity: Strategic and Intentional,” Patrice Bell, David P. Pursell, C. Douglas Johnson, American Association of Colleges and Universities Diversity, Learning and Student Success: Voices Leading Change, Jacksonville, FL, March 2017.
  • “A Preliminary Analysis of Waste Oil and Grease from the Campus Chick-fil-A for use as Biofuel,” Syed A. Hyder, Blake Lindner, Ahla Ko, Uchechi Egejuru, Neelam Khan, Sang H. Park, Kathryn Zimmermann, and David P. Pursell, Georgia Academy of Science Annual Meeting, Young Harris, GA, March 2017.
  • “Promoting Cultural Change in STEM Fields: How STEM Faculty and Teaching and Learning Centers can collaborate to Incentivize Faculty to Reform Undergraduate STEM Education,” David P. Pursell, Judy Awong-Taylor, Allison D’Costa, Tirza Leader, Thomas Mundie, Clay Runck, Southern Regional Faculty and Instructional Development Consortium, Lawrenceville, GA, March 2017.
  • “Impact of Course-Embedded Undergraduate Research Experiences on Student Engagement & Performance: A 5-Year Study,” Judy Awong-Taylor, Allison D’Costa, Clay Runck, David Pursell, Tirza Leader, Thomas Mundie, American Association of Colleges and Universities National Conference on Transforming Undergraduate STEM Education: Implications for 21st-Century Society, Boston, MA, November 2016.
  • "Monitoring undergraduate research outcomes: Designing effective assessments," Tirza Leader, Clay Runck, David Pursell, Allison D'Costa, Greta Giles, Judy Awong-Taylor, Thomas Mundie, Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) Annual Conference, June 2014, Washington, DC.
  • “Integrating Authentic Undergraduate Research Experiences Throughout the 4-yr Curriculum: A Course-Embedded Model,” Judy Awong-Taylor, Thomas Mundie, David Pursell, American Association of Colleges and Universities (AACU) Transforming STEM Education Conference, November 2013, San Diego, CA.
  • “Information Technology Students Development of Mobile Apps for Chemistry Students,” David P. Pursell, Mai Yin Tsoi, Sonal Dekhane, STEMtech Conference 2013, October 2013, Atlanta, GA.
  • “Innovative Faculty Roles at a 21st Century Campus – A Case Study,” Thomas Mundie, David P. Pursell, Deborah Sauder, Judy Awong-Taylor, National Meeting of the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AACU), January 2012, Atlanta, GA.
  • “Mobile Learning in Organic Chemistry: Discussion of the Student’s Role in the 21st Century Classroom,” Mai Yin Tsoi, Patrick Coppock, Julia Paredes, Sang Park, Richard Pennington, David P. Pursell, Joseph C. Sloop, and David Gabrell, National Meeting of the American Chemical Society, August 2012, Philadelphia, PA.
  • “Implementing a 4-year Undergraduate Research Experience for All STEM Students: a School of Science & Technology Initiative at Georgia Gwinnett College,” J. Awong-Taylor, A. D’Costa, G. Giles, T. Mundie, D. P. Pursell, and C. Runck, National Conference of the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR), Leveraging Uncertainty: Toward a New Generation of Undergraduate Research, June 2012, Ewing, NJ.
  • “How to Develop, Implement, and Assess Mobile Learning at an Undergraduate Institution,” David P. Pursell, a half day workshop seminar for the National Meeting of Educause, October 2011, Philadelphia, PA.


  • $3.5 million in research grant funding as principal investigator (PI) or co-PI since joining GGC
  • Yale University Scientific Teaching Fellow, 2019-2020
  • GGC Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities, 2018
  • Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE) Scholar, 2015–2016
  • Visiting Scientist, PerkinElmer Instruments Technical Center, 2013
  • National Blackboard © Catalyst Award for innovation in the use of mobile technology to positively impact the student educational experience, 2012
  • Technology Association of Georgia (TAG) Excalibur Award for the best use of technology for challenges in business and education, 2011
  • GGC Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities, 2010