Having lived in the United States for just 10 years, Professor De Meo brings an international influence to her teaching. “I think that my different cultural and educational backgrounds -she is from Italy- offer new perspectives to the students and help them to realize that there are different realities and learning styles,” she said. “I try to create in my class a ‘workshop’ environment, where students feel not just lectured but also stimulated to participate.’’
As a carbohydrate chemist, Professor De Meo looks for ways to synthesize carbohydrates that occur naturally on the outside of cell membranes. Her work might be used to treat diseases by aiding in the creation of vaccines or by blocking the virus/bacteria from recognizing normal human cells, thus stopping infections. She is very proud of her research students. The work they do is very difficult and often only accomplished at the Ph.D. level of research.
Professor De Meo hopes her students will study not just to make the grade, but for the pleasure of knowing and learning. Honored with the SIUE Great Teacher Award after only one semester of teaching, students respect her love for teaching and the extent to which she goes to help them learn. She works with students to determine the pace of their learning and adjusts her teaching style accordingly.
“I want to make a difference in students’ lives. I want them to remember me,” she said. “You must feel motivation and passion for everything you do in life. There is nothing better than being able to share what you know.”