Professors Are People Too: Dr. Patricia Lutz

Screen Shot 2018-04-03 at 10.41.02 PM“Dr. Lutz goes the extra mile to make sure her students grasp the concepts she teaches. Her love for chemistry is strong, but so is her love for her students. She desires to see all of her students succeed and will do all that she can to help them achieve success. I aspire to love science, my profession, and those around me as much as she does!” – Alyssa Jade Nunez [Freshmen, Biophysical Sciences]

Dr. Lutz is the chemistry professor at Regent. When she’s not teaching, she’s researching zinc levels in proteins to find a cure for AIDS and cancer. Renée trekked out to the Classroom Building to talk with Dr. Lutz and get to know more about her life and her passions. Read on to find out the best place to buy wholesale flowers and why Dr. Lutz is a master at ping pong.

Where are you from?

Dr. Lutz: Originally Northern Virginia, around Washington D.C. is where I went to high school and grew up. [I] went to Virginia Tech; that’s where I met my husband. We ended up here because my husband went to CBN University, back in the day. He graduated in ‘82 or something. So, he was one of the first students who graduated, and after he graduated we kind of stayed in the area. My daughter also graduated from here and I’m going to have a grandson graduate form here in May.

What’s something you like to do the old-fashioned way?

Dr. Lutz: Well, I like to read a book; I like the turning of the pages.

Renée: What are your favorite books?

Dr. Lutz: I like Christian novels – Chronicles of Zion I liked and just different Christian populars, light reading stuff. But I still like to have a real book, even in a textbook and things. I like to write in the columns and flip back in forth. You know, I can see how [eBooks are] convenient – you can find things you need and stuff.  I’m starting to warm up to [them].

What’s the best thing that happened to you last week?

Dr. Lutz: Well, I just got back from spring break, and I was visiting my daughter in Chicago. So, I saw my grandkids; I have three grandkids there. I have ten grandchildren and three live in Chicago, so I don’t get to see them as much. That was the best thing. We went to the children’s museum and played with the blocks.

What is it like being a female professor in a STEM field?

Dr. Lutz: Well there’s not as many women as there are men, but it’s changing. There’s probably about [an] equal number of men and women who are getting their doctorates in chemistry now.

Renée: What about your own educational experience, were there any challenges there?

Dr. Lutz: I didn’t think too much about it. I ran into a professor or two that would say, “You’re the smartest girl in the class” and [I would think]: did I not get the top grade in the class? So, aren’t I the smartest person in the class? So, just a little bit of, you know, put down because you’re a woman. Obviously, you couldn’t be as smart as the guys in the class, even if you got the top grade. There was a little bit of that; I was a little annoyed but I didn’t think too much of it. It’s not really that much of a problem anymore.

What was undergrad like for you? Do you have any fond memories?

Dr. Lutz: I had a lot of fun in college. I think high school was kind of a bummer because if you’re different, things don’t really go so well for you, and I was a little different, which I think a lot of people are. You know, [in] college there are a lot more opportunities to be yourself, so I had fun in college. I was really involved in the Baptist Student Union; I got saved there. I met Jesus and found out you could have a personal relationship, which was very exciting. So, I got really involved. We had a Wednesday night thing there; I played a lot of ping pong. I’m pretty good at ping pong.

Do you have any hobbies?

Dr. Lutz: I like to decorate flowers. I do arts and crafts. But my grandson got married last Monday, so I did the bride’s bouquet and the boutonnieres. I’ve done wedding flowers for all my kids who have gotten married and for other people.

Renée: I love doing florals! Do you have any tips on flower arranging?

Dr. Lutz: I buy all my flowers from Norfolk Wholesale Florist. It’s like a warehouse – it’s downtown and they sell flowers wholesale so it’s less expensive. So if you’re going to do a big event and you need a lot of flowers, you can just go there and they have just about anything you want. I usually take the bride down there, ask her what kind of flowers she wants, and show her all the pictures then just go pick them up.

What do you wish you knew more about?

Dr. Lutz: Well, I’m always interested in other sciences. I know a lot about chemistry, but whenever I’m walking by and Dr. Stewart’s teaching about biology, I want to sit in on his class! [Laughs] I [want to know] more about biology and the other sciences. They all interest me, you know, and I’m focused in on one, but when I hear others talking I’m like: hm what?

What advice would you give to the Regent community?

Dr. Lutz: I would definitely say, “Don’t give up.” If God has put a dream in your heart, move towards that. I think watching people over time, you see those who are moving in a certain direction, and then some of the people will run into opposition, or it will be hard, and they’ll quit. While other people, who may not be as talented, if they just keep moving forward, pretty soon you’ll see them be successful. Usually in the end, the ones who pop out are not the ones who were the most qualified or the most gifted, but they are the ones who didn’t give up. So, if God has sent you in a direction, don’t give up.

Renée is a Department Head for The Daily Runner.

Renée Hogan

Renée Hogan

Renée Hogan is the Managing Editor of the Daily Runner.