Fast Cars and Friendship: On Robert Pond, Ph.D.

Stacey Watts Ambuehl, ′05, on Robert Pond, Ph.D.

By Magazine Staff  |  Photo by Cory Donovan

Stacey Watts Ambuehl, ’05, wanted to focus on chemical engineering.

When she approached Robert Pond, Ph.D., associate dean of natural sciences, about doing research with him, she also mentioned that she was interested in working in the automotive industry.

As it turned out, they both liked cars. He proposed four automotive-based problems and said, “Pick one.”

Stacey Watts Ambuehl and Robert Pond

Together they spent the year creating a battery design for a car. “I didn’t have an engineering background, so he had to explain things a little more,” said Ambuehl, who was a chemistry major with a mathematics minor. “He would start me off, and he would give me enough to go off of that I could work independently.”

When Ambuehl graduated, she bought Pond a model Porsche. Today she lives in Pasadena, Md., and is in her third year of a Ph.D. program in analytical chemistry at the University of Maryland Baltimore County.

“I love being in an academic department, and I would like to be a professor,” she said.

As a teaching assistant, she tries to relate to students as Pond connected with her. “If I have a question, he’s probably the top person I go to. I respect him so much and I know he’s done so much with his career, and he’s also such a down-to-earth person. I hope he knows how much he is appreciated by his students.”

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