After a few years working in a crime lab, Dr. Burks returned to academia, teaching, and forensic science research. An analytical chemist, Dr. Burks enjoys the challenge developing detection methods for a wide-variety of analytes including regulated drugs and explosives. Her current research efforts are focused on the design, fabrication, and analysis of colorimetry sensors that are field portable. To maximize portability, Dr. Burks works on utilizing smart phones as scientific analytical devices. A chemistry enthusiast, Dr. Burks hopes to ignite her students' appreciation of chemistry through innovative projects, multi-media education tools, and probably far too many pop culture references. She help create and organize SciPop Talks!, a popular talk series blending science and pop culture. Dr. Burks is a popular science communicator, appearing on the Science Channel's Outrageous Acts of Science, ACS Reactions videos, Royal Society of Chemistry podcasts, and at genre conventions such as DragonCon and GeekGirlCon.

Academic Appointments

Assistant Professor, May 2016 - current

Visiting Assistant Professor, Doane College, July 2015 - May 2016

Postdoctoral Research Associate, Doane College, 2013 - June 2015

Year Started



Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry at University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska, 2011
M.S. in Forensic Science at Nebraska Wesleyan University, Lincoln, Nebraska, 2008
B.S. Chemistry, Northern Iowa University, Cedar Falls, Iowa, 2001