Meet Your Professor: Dr. Jacob Wainman

A new series where faculty members in UMD's Swenson College of Science & Engineering introduce themselves to provide more insight into their interests, their classes and their lives. This one was written and submitted by 

My full name is Jacob Wayne Wainman. I was named after both of my grandfathers; Jacob comes from my dad's side, and Wayne is from my mom's side. Wainman (pronounced like Rain Man, but with a W) is actually my husband's last name, which I adopted when our marriage became legal. It's an old English name for a family of wainwrights, who were people who made and repaired wooden carts and wagons.

I’m an Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at UMD. I started at UMD in 2016, and I predominantly teach General Chemistry I and II for Chemistry and Biochemistry Majors, both the lecture and lab components. I’ve also taught Biochemistry, General Physics, Aspects of Chemistry (a course for non-science majors) and more.

I grew up on a farm outside of Ipswich, South Dakota, a TINY town of only ~900 people in the middle of nowhere. I graduated with a high school class of 29, which included a foreign exchange student!

Dr. Wainmain's Education

  • College: UMD (Go Bulldogs!) 
    • Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry
    • Bachelor of Science in Biology
    • Minor in Music
  • Graduate School: 
    • UMD - Master of Science in Chemistry
    • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Go Tarheels!) - Ph.D. in Biological Chemistry with an emphasis in Molecular and Cellular Biophysics.
  • Ongoing Research: Chemistry Education 
    • We study the best way to teach adults chemistry, especially the best way to teach skills in the laboratory. 
    • More recently, we’ve been developing Course-based Undergraduate Research Experiences (CUREs) that can be implemented into General Chemistry Lab. This means that students enrolled in the course will get an authentic research experience as part of their class instead of simply carrying out pre-written experiments.

Dr. Wainmain's Family

Professor Jacob Wainman and family

At home in Duluth, it's just my husband Aaron and I, and our dog Ajax - a jackadoodleAaron is the Coordinator for the McNair Scholars Program at the University of Wisconsin Superior, just across the bridge. 

(left) Our 'Chosen' Family in Duluth includes our Best Friends, Nikki and Summer Johnson, who are married. The four of us are so close that when Nikki and Summer wanted to have a child, they asked my husband to be Bio-Dad. Grayson, their daughter, is one-and-a-half years old. While she is officially Nikki and Summer's daughter, my husband and I treat her like our daughter too!

Dr. Wainman's Hobbies

I've successfully finished 1 marathon (I tried a second time, but didn't finish), I've done about a half-dozen half marathons, and I've joined 3 Ragnar relay teams. I don't run much any longer, but I still remain active going to a local gym. I have played French horn ever since I was in fifth grade, and I'm a member of the Twin Ports Wind OrchestraMy husband and I are giant gaming nerds, with an obsessively large board game collection, multiple ongoing D&D games, and a love for video games like Minecraft and Smash Brothers.

  • Unpopular opinions I have that I usually try to get students to change my mind about:
    • Mint and chocolate do not taste good together.
    • Marshmallows, when roasted over a fire, should be completely burnt and blackened before eating them.
    • Summer is the worst time of year because of the feeling of the sun hitting your skin.
    • Cake is the worst dessert. Frosting doesn't help it.
    • American football is the worst sport to watch.
    • Christmas decorations should not be put up until one week before Christmas.

Contact Dr. Wainman

Jacob Wainman, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Phone: 1-218-726-7033 
Swenson College of Science and Engineering
University of Minnesota Duluth
208 HCAMS, 1038 University Dr.
Duluth, MN 55812