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Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Eric C. Person, Ph.D.

Professor, Forensic and Analytical Chemistry 
Office Location: Science 1, Room 244
Office Phone: 559.278.2170


Dr. Eric C. Person is a Professor of Forensic and Analytical Chemistry and the Chemistry Honors Program Coordinator with interests in Chemical Education Research.  Dr. Person advises students interested in pursuing careers as criminalists or forensic scientists in crime laboratories or as chemists in environmental and quality control laboratories. Dr. Person specializes in assessment and curriculum development to support experimental design in open-inquiry and project-based introductory chemistry laboratory programs. 

Dr. Person is involved in several ongoing research projects:

1.  "Investigating Chemistry Laboratories with Inquiry Projects (ICLIPs)" study (Curriculum Development Grant Awards); co-PI CSUPERB award.  Collaboration with Dr. Dermot Donnelly,

2. "Assessing Experimental Design Ability in Introductory Chemistry Laboratories."  PI. Collaboration with Dr. Dermot Donnelly.   

 3.  "Removing mercury from aqueous waste using an inexpensive organo-sulfur polymer" co-PI.  Collaboration with APPL  Inc and Dr. Hubert  Muchalski.

Dr. Person has taught a wide variety of introductory, general, analytical, and forensic chemical courses at the lower-division, upper-division, and graduate level.  He is currently focused on introductory chemistry for non-science majors (CHEM 3A, CHEM 10) and instrumental analysis for chemical majors (CHEM 106S).  Dr. Person seeks to develop and enhance collaborations and partnerships that provide unique and authentic experiences for students:

  • Dr. Person has developed an award winning academic-industrial collaboration with Agricultural and Priority Pollutants Laboratory (APPL, a local environmental laboratory) which allows students in CHEM 106S to obtain authentic and valuable job experience while analyzing water samples for a variety of community projects using standard methods in an accredited environmental laboratory.
  • Dr. Person led a group of faculty and staff to develop and run a bi-annual symposium for students to present their work on Course Based Undergraduate Research and Projects (CUREs).  This symposium supports learning outcomes in a wide variety of courses across the College of Science and Mathematics and will be scaled to the entire university.
  • Dr. Person worked with Dr. Ulrike Muller and Dr. John Constable to develop a STEM First Year Experience (CSM 10 and 15S) that has now been scaled by a new team of faculty into the CSM signature BOND program.
  • Dr. Person developed and leads the Chemistry Honors Program, which supports students in becoming involved in faculty sponsored undergraduate research. 

Dr. Person earned a BA in Chemistry from Carleton College, an MBA in Technology Management from the University of Phoenix, and a Ph.D. in Biophysics from the University of California - San Francisco where he worked with Dr. Thomas Scanlan.  He has four years of post-doctoral industrial experience as a Forensic Scientist in the Seized Drugs section of the Washington State Patrol Crime Laboratory.  In this capacity, he analyzed seized drugs and clandestine laboratory samples, responded to suspected clandestine laboratory scenes, and provided training and support for law enforcement officers in safely investigating clandestine laboratories.  He has published more than 10 papers and presented more than 50 times on the investigation, processing, and analysis of clandestine laboratories.  He is lifetime member of the Clandestine Laboratory Investigating Chemists Association and serves as a core committee member of the Scientific Working Group for the Analysis of Seized Drugs (SWGDRUG).

Dr. Person is a member of the American Chemical Society, National Science Teachers Association, California Science Teachers Association, and Clandestine Laboratory Investigating Chemists Association.

Selected Publications:

Kamitono, J., Donnelly, D.F., Person, E.C. (2019) Investigating the Effect of Zoo-Inquiry Projects on Student Learning in Introductory Chemistry Laboratories.  In American Educational Research Association (AERA) Toronto, Canada.

 Person, E.C., Price.P. (2016).  Uncertainity in the Estimation of Liquid Volumes Common Clandestine Laboratory Containers.  Journal of Clandestine Laboratory Investigating Chemists Association, 26(1), 19-25.

 Areas of Specialty

Dr. Person teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in both analytical chemistry and forensic science including CHEM 102, 106, 106S, 225, and 251 as well as directing student research projects in analytical and forensic chemistry. 

Dr. Person's principle research interests lie in the area of forensic chemistry, particularly the analysis of clandestine (methamphetamine) laboratory evidence. He developed expertise and interest in this area while investigating an analyzing evidence from methamphetamine laboratory cases as a forensic scientist for four years with the Washington State Patrol Crime Laboratory.