Mission and Values > Programs > Vincentian Mission Institute > Current VMI Cohort > Ruben Parra

Ruben Parra


I was born and raised in Cali, Colombia. I obtained by BS in chemistry from Universidad del Valle (also in Cali, Colombia) in 1992. Then, after two years of intense training in the English language I moved to the United States to pursue my graduate studies. I obtained my Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) in 1999. I remained at UNL for two more years conducting postdoctoral work until I got the position at DePaul University as assistant professor in 2001. I am currently a full professor in the Department of Chemistry. I also have the privilege to serve as the Director of the University Office for Teaching, Learning and Assessment (a position I have held since 2011). My research focuses primarily on the application of computational quantum methods to investigate fundamental chemistry topics such as hydrogen bonding and halogen bonding interactions. I am also passionate about the scholarship of teaching and learning, and therefore I get very much embedded in the literature and research about how to help students learn effectively and more efficiently.

Why DePaul

One striking feature that I remember from my job interview at DePaul University was the explicit emphasis on the rigorous and high-quality teaching that was expected of me. In addition, expectations on research and service were made crystalline transparent to me. During my interview,  it also became very apparent that I was going to have all the necessary support in the way of resources and opportunities to excel in this institution.


I feel that the values and principles that define me as an individual are in perfect alignment with the Vincentian values and principles that drive the university. Coming myself from a background of poverty, raised by a single mom who took care not just of me but all my many sisters and brothers, I know and understand what it means to overcome difficulties and barriers. I know the importance of being surrounded by a supportive environment, and the benefits of being challenged in meaningful ways. I am very grateful for the many opportunities I was given during my life, and I feel that DePaul University is guided by the set of principles and values that promote and embrace opportunities for anyone to succeed, especially those in most need. I like to be part of those who could help DePaul University meet its mission as new challenges emerge.