Shirley Fischer-Drowos

Shirley G. Fischer-Drowos, PhD, MS, BA

  • Chair of Chemistry
  • Associate Professor
Media Expertise:
  • Science & Environment

Affiliated Programs


  • PhD, Chemistry (1981)
    University of Illinois--Urbana-Champaign (IL)
  • MS, Chemistry (1979)
    University of Illinois--Urbana-Champaign (IL)
  • BA, Chemistry (1976)
    Vassar College (NY)

About Me

I am a first-generation American. I was born in Philadelphia and subsequently moved to New York. I attended college in NY and grad school in the midwest. I spent a decade working at E.I. duPont de Nemours, Co. at the experimental station in Wilmington, DE. I taught at the University of Delaware for several years prior to coming to Widener in 2003. My approach to teaching is multi-pronged.

I believe there is more than one effective method. Students learn in many different ways. In order to ascertain if what I am trying to convey is truly received, I utilize many different methods of communication. For example, I find that using PowerPoint can be an effective way to illustrate chemical concepts. I am also aware that one learns by doing. I often share with my students the fact that I can show them a bicycle, explain how it works, and even demonstrate its use.

All of these are important aspects to learning, but only when they actually get on the bicycle do they really grasp the concept. In light of this, I will often introduce and describe a concept, offer examples of how it is used, and break students into small groups of three or four to allow them to work through some problems. There are many favorable outcomes to this approach. First it develops interpersonal skills since students must communicate with one another. As a result, team building occurs. I have also been pleased to see students mentor one another.

Research Interests

My research focus is analytical chemistry. Analytical chemistry is critical to all areas of science. As a result, my research group has worked on many diverse projects. Examples include analysis of chocolates for metals, fish for mercury content, teas for gallic acid, an antioxidant that has beneficial health effects the efficacy of prolonging the shelf life of perishables by various means of scavenging ethylene via photooxidation, insecticides used in pet flea and tick medicines, heavy metals in stratified soils, sulfite in wines, and the physico-chemical analysis of the life cycle of fluoropolymer precursors.

A variety of instruments are used to make these determinations. Quantitation is accomplished by analysis of standards. Students have the opportunity to give presentations at conferences and present posters at adjudicated local professional meetings or within Widener on Student Project Day.

Media Expertise

  • Analytical chemistry
  • Industrial chemistry
  • Polymer chemistry
  • Forensics
  • Physical chemistry


  • Fischer-Drowos,  S.G. (2014). ANAPOGIL Project Consortium Member: Analytical Chemistry: A Guided Inquiry Approach - Instrumental Analysis Collection. Wiley.
  • Fischer-Drowos, S.G., & Nagengast, A. (2011, November). Making connections: Interdisciplinary schemes for teaching analytical chemistry. Invited presentation at EAS, Somerset, NJ.

Professional Affiliations & Memberships

Eastern Analytical Symposium Board (EAS), American Chemical Society (ACS), Sigma Xi, AXE


  • Faculty Development & Provost Grants (2004–2016)
  • Eastern Analytical Symposium Program Chair (2010)
  • DuPont Division Award (1985)