Omar Villanueva

Dr. Omar Villanueva

Assistant Professor of Chemistry

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Dr. Omar Villanueva was born and raised in the most southwestern part of Mexico. He and his family came to the U.S. when he was ten years old and has been living in Georgia ever since. After graduating from the public school system of DeKalb County in Georgia, Villanueva attended college at the University of Georgia in Athens (UGA) where he obtained two undergraduate degrees: one in chemistry and one in science education. While at UGA, in addition to conducting undergraduate research in organometallic, inorganic and chemical education research, Villanueva worked with UGA's College of Education through various programs to help serve Latinx students in the Athens area afterschool programs. After graduating, he attended Emory University and received his Ph.D. in inorganic chemistry developing earth-abundant catalysts supported by redox-active ligands.

Villanueva is passionate about mentoring, teaching and training the next generation of scientists in chemistry. Before coming to GGC in 2016, Villanueva was a faculty member at Dalton State College. At GGC, he teaches general, organic and upper-level chemistry courses. In addition to teaching, Villanueva conducts bench-top chemistry research on the development of sustainable and environmentally-benign catalysts for chemical transformations with a team of undergraduates and education research with other faculty across different STEM disciplines. 

On campus, Villanueva established a SACNAS (the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Latinos and Native Americans in Science) Chapter to promote STEM careers to GGC students. In the local community, Villanueva is a board member at Next Generation Focus (NGF), a not-for-profit organization, 501(c)(3) focused on education and youth development in the Gwinnett, Forsyth and Athens areas.

Although Villanueva is now local to Georgia, he is very active in SACNAS, a national organization that seeks to advance Latinx students in STEM fields throughout the country.


  • Doctorate – chemistry – Emory University
  • Bachelor's – chemistry – University of Georgia, Athens
  • Bachelor's – science education – University of Georgia, Athens

Academic Interests


  • 2016 Linton-Poodry SACNAS Leadership Institute Award (awarded by SACNAS and AAAS)
  • 2016 K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Award (awarded by the Association of American Colleges & Universities, AAC&U)
  • 2015 ASM-LINK Undergraduate Research Faculty Initiative (UFRI) Fellowship
  • 2014 Dow BEST Symposium Award (The Dow Chemical Company)
  • 2013-2014 Emory University's Dean's Teaching Fellowship
  • 2010-2011 Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need Fellowship, GAANN, (awarded by the US Department of Education) 

Professional Affiliations

  • SACNAS (The Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Latinos and Native Americans in Science)
  • ACS (The American Chemical Society)
  • Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U)
  • National Association of Science Teachers (NSTA)