Gathering and Memorial for Professor Sandra Russo-Rodriguez

All are invited to attend a gathering and memorial service in memory of Sandra Russo-Rodriguez.


Wednesday, February 21
4:30 PM, MacMillan Hall 115

Memorial Service

Saturday, February 24
2:00 PM, Manning Chapel


Dr. Russo-Rodriguez was a valued and beloved faculty member of the Brown Community. She joined the faculty of Brown University Department of Chemistry in 2005 to lead the tutorial program, CHEM0330T/0332, which provides students with an opportunity to study the challenging introductory chemistry course CHEM0330 in an individualized setting with guided inquiry, active learning and collaborative problem solving. She also taught online summer tutorials and lecture courses, such as CHEM0100, to help students transition to college-level chemistry. Her innovations in each of these courses are too numerous to list here, but her outstanding contributions have shaped the development of the Chemistry tutorial curriculum.

Dr. Russo-Rodriguez was committed to making STEM fields as accessible and inclusive as possible, and she provided exceptional support and teaching to students from all backgrounds. She was a freshman/sophomore adviser and mentor, a TEAM Adviser, and a Randall Adviser. She will forever be remembered for the deep connections she made with her students and advisees, her thoughtful advising, as well as her fervent belief that success in chemistry can be achieved by anyone, regardless of previous educational background. Her office door was always open to her students and advisees, and even near the end of her life she provided support to students from afar.

Dr. Sandra Russo-Rodriguez’s commitment to student achievement and advancement was well- recognized by the University community. She was honored with a Teaching and Advising Award by the Undergraduate Council of Students, presented to faculty who “demonstrate outstanding commitment to teaching and student mentorship,” in 2014; as well as the Student and Employee Accessibility Services (SEAS) Access Ambassador Award, presented annually to a faculty member who has “demonstrated exceptional awareness, inclusiveness, and support for students with disabilities” in 2017.

Dr. Russo-Rodriguez was a native of Mayagüez, Puerto Rico. She earned her undergraduate degree in Chemistry, magna cum laude, from the University of Puerto Rico in Rio Piedras, and at the age of 24 completed a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After postdoctoral research at MIT, she had a successful career as a research chemist for nearly two decades. In her positions at Amgen and Polaroid, she authored more than 20 scientific publications and 11 patents. Before transitioning to her teaching career, she made significant contributions to the field of synthetic bioactive molecules, including the synthesis of several novel dyes and modified nucleotides.

Outside of teaching and science, Dr. Russo-Rodriguez was a beloved wife and mother, an avid bicyclist, skier, and a hiking enthusiast. She loved walking along sun-dappled trails with her family and friends—whether through the mountains of Colorado, the oak-lined boulevards of Providence, or the beaches of Puerto Rico and Cape Cod. She also loved reading, and had a deep appreciation for visual and musical arts. When not caught up in the plot of a novel, she could often be found playing her favorite Chopin pieces on the piano or producing watercolor and pencil sketches.We send our deepest condolences to her husband, Dr. Andres Rodriguez, M.D., and her son, Carlos Rodriguez-Russo, a student at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

In lieu of flowers, her family welcomes donations in her name to the American Cancer Society and the Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma Research Foundation. Further condolences can be sent to her celebration page, which can be found at