Get to know Vanderbilt’s residential faculty: Renã A.S. Robinson

Vanderbilt’s uniquely personal and collaborative residential college experience offers one of the most rewarding aspects of student life at the university. Undergraduate houses and colleges are led by faculty who live in community with students. Meet the university’s newest faculty heads of house and heads of college in this special series.

Renã Robinson, professor of chemistry, is the new faculty head for Murray House on The Martha Rivers Ingram Commons. (Vanderbilt University)
  • Name: Renã A.S. Robinson
  • Residential college: Murray House
  • Faculty position: Professor of chemistry
  • Years at Vanderbilt: Entering sixth year this semester
  • Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky
  • Favorite song: “I Was Here” by Beyoncé
  • Favorite book: The Bible, especially Psalms
  • Favorite food: Larb gai with tofu and most any Thai dish
  • Favorite spot on campus: Any of the libraries. I love the quiet business of learning that takes place throughout the library, and I still love the feel of books and turning pages.
  • What are you most looking forward to for the upcoming academic year? I’m looking forward to becoming more familiar with our campus through the eyes of our students. I also am excited to serve as faculty head of house in Murray, where I’ll be able to interact with and learn from the residents and grow my community on campus and in Nashville.
  • What advice do you have for new students coming to campus and for returning students? For new students, be open and flexible as you embark on this part of your life journey. Stay open to new opportunities to learn, new perspectives and ideas, and new people and communities. Also be flexible, as your plans may change as you identify more of who you are and your purpose.
  • Please share a funny experience you’ve had at Vanderbilt. When my research team and I arrived on campus, it took us a while to get settled in and comfortably learn our way around. One day we decided (maybe I suggested this) to go to the lawn in front of Heard Library and do sprints of about 200 yards to see who was the fastest. We raced two people at a time, and some of us came out of our shoes to run. Many Vanderbilt students and faculty were walking by observing what was going on. For us this was one of the best ways that we could make ourselves at home here on campus.
  • What do you love about working at Vanderbilt? The efforts from the ground up and the top down to continuously get better make Vanderbilt a special place. The spirit of learning and being of service is infectious here, and the students make each day feel less like work. I also love the opportunity to work across disciplines and collaborate with amazing colleagues.

    You might see Renã Robinson, professor of chemistry and faculty head of Murray House, cruising on her motorcycle. (Vanderbilt University)

Watch Professor Robinson discuss her research and academic path.

Read about other faculty heads of house.

Learn more about Vanderbilt’s residential colleges.