Tao Xu

Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Tao Xu

What year did you start working at NIU?

Where is your hometown? and where do you live now?
My hometown is Szechwan, China. I now live in Naperville, Illinois.

Where did you attend college and what degree(s) have you earned?
I have a bachelor's degree from East China University of Science and Technology and a Ph.D. from the University of Alabama.

In which department(s) do you teach?
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

What do you like about working at NIU?
I enjoy the location, as well as the availability of support and resources.

What advice would you give to students currently attending NIU?
I would encourage current students to pursue insights at both the macroscopic and microscopic levels.

Tell us about a research or engaged learning project you have led.
I am currently leading a multi-institution research project that aims to integrate the capture of CO2 from the air and directly convert CO2 to organic fuels.

What do you hope students take away from your class?
I hope they learn about the importance of methodology and the art of innovation.

What is your favorite campus event?
I enjoy commencement

What is your favorite memory of NIU?
I love the beauty of campus during blooming season.

Who has influenced your professional path?
My high school chemistry teacher influenced me.

What did you want to be when you were growing up? Are you currently doing it? If not, what changed your path?
I wanted to be a diplomatic officer, but I'm not doing that now. I changed my mind due to my high school chemistry teacher's comments on my talents in chemistry.

Are you a member of or hold a position within a professional organization? If so, what organization? What is the purpose of that organization and how does being part of this organization benefit you in your role at NIU?
Yes, I am a member of the American Chemical Society, a platform that brings chemistry researchers together to present our work and exchange ideas.

What community organizations are you involved in?
I volunteer for the school district.

What do you do to relax or recharge?
I enjoy gardening and yard work.

Is there anything else you'd like to share about your NIU Huskie story?
As a faculty member at a regional university like NIU, I am very proud to have a first-gen, female Ph.D. graduate who became a faculty member at a leading R1 university.

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