What bonds biochemistry professor Ayella

Zac Schmelzle Contributor

Professor Allan Ayella not only loves teaching chemistry but his heritage has led him to the field and his occupation today.

Ayella previously taught chemistry at McPherson College, and he came to work at Washburn in 2019 as an assistant professor for the Chemistry department. He thinks that Washburn has both great students and faculty members.

“Really, [Washburn’s] just great.” said Ayella.

Students have been adjusting to Ayella’s form of teaching, which may be a bit different than what they are used to.

“I am in Chemistry 121 with him,” said student Lauryn Reid. “He’s new so he’s probably getting used to [teaching].”

Ayella teaches multiple classes at Washburn, including Biochemistry 350 and Organic and Biochemistry 121.

“My favorite is BioChem because of the depth of knowledge we go over,” said Ayella. “It makes it interesting and challenging.”

Another student, that wished to be anonymous, found biochemistry to not be an easy subject.

“He has a good relationship with his students and is open to us coming in and talking to him at any time,” said the student. “Sometimes I enjoy his class and other times I do not. It is a very rigorous course and it is difficult to understand so it can be very frustrating.”

Topeka is a large change in scenery for Ayella, but the adjustment is proving to be favorable for the foreign-born professor.

“The shopping centers are nice, like Fleming place,” said Ayella. “The restaurants too, like Glory Days.”

Topeka is very different from his childhood home, Uganda. There, learning and speaking was much different.

“Uganda, where I grew up until the age of 21 is a multi-cultural country by itself,” Ayella said. “There are over 37 different dialects spoken by Uganda’s population of 35 million people.”

Along with the variance of language, Ayella’s career was laid down during his time in Uganda.

“In a nutshell,” said Ayella. “Most of this discrepancy is rooted around old tradition beliefs that men should provide financially for their families and women should home makers.”

His family’s push led him to his love for chemistry.

“It is not unusual for even educated parents to push their sons towards education in the STEM subjects and their daughters into the arts subjects,” said Ayella.

Ayella started at McPherson College, but decided Washburn would be a beneficial new experience.

“I had the opportunity to go wherever I wanted. I chose Washburn University because it’s mission statement and strategic goals clearly matched my future aspirations,” said Ayella. “The open biochemistry position at Washburn University was a true blessing.”

Edited by Adam White, Abbie Barth