Foster, a professor of chemistry in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, was presented a 2021 Cal State LA Outstanding Professor Award during the August 19 event.
Recognized as a history maker in the fields of education and science, Foster strives to help students develop an awareness of the skills and attributes of professional scientists and assist those who are Ph.D. bound to succeed in this aspiration.
Foster is co-director of the Minority Opportunities in Research (MORE) programs and director of the National Institutes of Health-funded Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE) program at Cal State LA. More than 180 MORE fellows from groups traditionally underrepresented in the sciences have obtained their Ph.D. degrees in STEM fields in the past 20 years.
Foster actively explores innovative pedagogical techniques while instructing courses in general, atmospheric and physical chemistry. She aims to develop inquisitive students with refined problem-solving skills who will become leaders in their chosen professions sensitive to the role of chemists and chemistry in the modern world. She has mentored more than 40 students in directed research experiences.
Her research interests include determining the role of polycyclic aromatic compounds on the oxidizing capacity of the lower atmosphere, identifying reduced phosphorus oxyanions in natural environments and chemical education. She has co-authored 24 publications on these topics.
An Altadena resident, Foster received a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Her postdoctoral research conducted at UC Irvine and in the High Arctic resulted in two Science magazine features.