Meet Dr. Maria Cristina J. Fermin-Ennis

Faculty Spotlight

Meet Dr. Maria Cristina J. Fermin-Ennis, professor of chemistry.

Fermin-Ennis was born in the Philippines and initially planned to become a doctor. However, after a bad experience in a college biology class, as well as the realization that she couldn't stand the sight of blood, she majored in chemistry instead, a degree that was still “difficult enough to prevent [her] from misbehaving.” After obtaining her bachelor’s degree at Ateneo de Manila University, she went on to pursue her doctorate at Wesleyan University. There, she discovered a love for the field of organometallic chemistry after unexpectedly synthesizing a new compound in her first semester.

Fermin-Ennis is fascinated with chemistry because it explains much about the world around us. “Once you have the concepts and the rules down, it allows you to correlate concepts to make sense of what you see, which in turn develops your critical-thinking skills,” she said. She also loves doing lab experiments because she enjoys handling compounds that have the possibility of exploding. The challenge of doing those types of experiments is what kept her in the organometallic field.

Before coming to Gordon, Fermin-Ennis taught part-time at both Clayton State University and the Arts Institute of Atlanta. She was initially hesitant to take a full-time job because her husband was in the military and could move at short notice and her son was a toddler at the time. However, after her husband was given a terminal assignment in Georgia, she applied for the tenure track at Gordon. One of the greatest factors in her decision to teach at Gordon was how welcoming the faculty she met at her interview were.

Since her start in August of 2001, Fermin-Ennis has enjoyed teaching principles of chemistry 1 and 2 classes, advising students, and participating in committees. She loves garnering curiosity about science within engaged students and runs a highly interactive classroom. She especially enjoys teaching students who have interest in STEM fields, and her goal is always “to erase students’ previous bad experiences in chemistry as long as they are open to it.”

Some highlights of Fermin-Ennis’ career at Gordon are running into former students who recognize her outside of Gordon and having so many advisees graduate from pharmacy school. One of her proudest moments is when students from almost a decade ago write to her and tell her how much of an impact she has had on their professional success.

Currently, Fermin-Ennis lives in Tyrone, Georgia. At home, she loves to read novels, garden, and cook.

Fermin-Ennis plans to retire from teaching at the end of 2022.