Marin Robinson, PhD, Chair


Professor, Environmental and Organic Chemistry
Phone: 928-523-6295
Office: Building 20, Room 122


CHM 235 Organic Chemistry I
CHM 238 Organic Chemistry II
ENV 280 Atmospheric Processes
CHM 300W Scientific Writing
CHM 610 Research-Related Writing Skills
ENV 580 Atmospheric Change

Research interests

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Elemental analysis of windblown dust  

Dr. Robinson’s research group is currently investigating the elemental composition of windblown fine particulate matter (PM-2.5) in Shiprock, NM. Shiprock is located downwind of multiple abandoned uranium mine tailings sites.

The purpose of this work is to examine the dust particles in Shiprock for evidence of mining debris. This work is supported with funding from Science Foundation Arizona and conducted in collaboration with the University of Arizona and the Navajo Nation EPA.

PAHs in wood-smoke particulate 

Dr. Robinson’s research group has also investigated the composition of fine particulate matter (PM-2.5) in wood smoke during prescribed burns. Prescribed burning, together with mechanical thinning, are effective ways to reduce heavy fuel loads on the forest floors and prevent catastrophic fire.

Fire prevention is particular important in Flagstaff of its location in the Coconino National Forest, the largest contiguous pine forest in North America. Specific attention has been focused on the concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the wood-smoke particles because several PAHs are known carcinogens.

Results indicate that particle concentrations at prescribed burns are high (6,000 µg/m3), but PAH levels in the particles are low. For example, concentrations of benzo[a]pyrene were less than 0.185 µg/m3, and the sum of 21 different PAHs was less than 3.65 µg/m3. This work was supported with grants from the NSF (POWRE), DOE (HBCU-MSI), BIA (ERI), and the NIH through the Native American Cancer Research Partnership (NACRP).

The Write like a Chemist Project 

Dr. Robinson is a strong advocate of integrating writing into the chemistry curriculum. To this end, she teaches a discipline-specific writing course (CHM 300W) and has authored a textbook on chemistry-specific writing (Write Like a Chemist, Oxford University Press, 2008).

The book was supported by two NSF CCLI grants and was piloted at 16 universities nationwide before coming to press. For more information about the book and writing project, visit Oxford University Press.


Textbooks and book chapters 

Stoller, F.L.; Robinson, M.S. An Interdisciplinary Textbook Project: Charting the Paths Taken. In English Language Teaching Textbooks: Content, Consumption, Production. Harwood, Nigel, Ed. Palgrave Macmillan, Publishers. (In press, 2013)

Stoller, F.L.; Robinson, M.S. Drawing upon Applied Linguistics to Attain Goals in an Interdisciplinary Chemistry–Applied Linguistics Project. In Applied Linguistics and Literacies for STEM: Founding Concepts, Methodologies and Research Projects. Curry, Mary Jane and Hanauer, David I., Eds. John Benjamins Publishing Company. (Submitted, 2013).

Robinson, M.S.; Stoller, F.L.; Costanza-Robinson, M.S.; Jones J.K. Write Like a Chemist: A Guide and Resource, Oxford University Press, NY, NY 2008.  

Robinson, M.S.; Stoller, F.L. Chapter 10. A Read-Analyze-Write Approach to Research-Related Literacy Skills for Upper-Division Chemistry Majors. In Designing, Implementing, and Sustaining a Research-Supportive Undergraduate Curriculum: A Compendium of Successful Curricular Practices from Faculty and Institutions Engaged in Undergraduate Research. Karukstis, K. and Elgren, T., Eds. Council on Undergraduate Research Press: Washington, D.C., 2007, pp 175–191.

Peer-reviewed publications (re: scientific writing)

Stoller, F.L.; Robinson, M.S. Chemistry Journal Articles: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Move Analysis with Pedagogical Aims. English for Specific Purposes, 2013,32, 45–57.

Robinson, M. S.; Stoller, F. L.; Horn, B.; Grabe, W. Teaching and Applying Chemistry-Specific Writing Skills Using a Simple, Adaptable Exercise. J. Chem. Educ., 2009, 86,45-49. 

Robinson, M. S., Stoller, F. L., Jones, J. K. Using the ACS Journals Search to Validate Assumptions about Writing in Chemistry and Improve Chemistry Writing Instruction. J Chem. Ed. 2008, 85, 650–654.

Horn, B., Stoller, F. L., Robinson, M. S. Two Heads Are Better Than One: Interdisciplinary Collaboration. English Teaching Forum 2008, 42, 2–13.

Stoller, F. L., Horn, B., Grabe, W., Robinson, M. S. Evaluative Review in Materials Development. J. English for Academic Purposes 20065, 174–196.

Stoller, F. L., Horn, B., Grabe, W., Robinson, M. S. Creating and Validating Assessment Instruments for a Discipline-Specific Writing Course: An Interdisciplinary Approach. J. Applied Linguistics 20052, 75–104.

Stoller, F. L., Jones, J. K., Costanza-Robinson, M. S., Robinson, M. S. Demystifying disciplinary writing: A case study in the writing of chemistry. Language and Learning Across the DisciplinesInterdisciplinary Perspectives on Language, Learning, and Academic Writing 2005 (

Peer-reviewed publications (research-related)

Cristina Gonzalez-Maddux, C.; Marcotte, A.; Upadhyay, N.;  Herckes, P.;Williams, Y.; Haxel, G. Robinson, M. Elemental Composition of PM10 and PM2.5 in Windblown Dust in Shiprock and Church Rock, New Mexico (in preparation for Atmospheric Environment, 2013).

Robinson, M.S.; Zhao, M; Zack, L; Brindley, C.; Portz, L.; Quarterman, M.; Long, X.; Herckes, P. Characterization of PM2.5 collected during broadcast and slash-pile prescribed burns of predominately ponderosa pine forests in northern Arizona. Atmospheric Environment2011, 45, 2087–2094.

Hutchings, J. W.; Robinson, M. S.; McIlwraith, H.; Triplett, J.; Herckes, P. The chemistry of intercepted clouds in northern Arizona during the North American monsoon season, Water Air and Soil Pollut. 2009, 199:191–202.DOI 10.1007/s11270-008-9871-0.

Robinson, M. S.; Anthony, T. R.; Littau, S. R.; Herckes, P.; Nelson, X.; Poplin, G. S.; Burgess J. L. Occupational PAH Exposures during Prescribed Pile Burns. Ann. Occup. Hyg. 200852, 497–508.

Robinson, M. S., Chavez, J., Velazquez, S., Jayanty, R. K. M. Chemical speciation of PM-2.5 collected during prescribed fires of the Coconino National Forest. J. Air & Waste Managemt Assoc. 2004, 54, 1112–1123. 

La Spisa, S., Waldheim, M., Lintemoot, J., Thomas, T. Naff, J., Robinson, M. S. Infrared and vapor flux studies of vapor-deposited amorphous and crystalline water ice films between 90 and 145 K. J. Geophys. Res. 2001, 106, 33351–33361.

Robinson, M., Mallick, G., Spillman, J. L., Carreon, P. A., Shalloo, S. Using polarization dependent interference effects in grazing-angle FTIR-reflection absorption spectroscopy to determine the thickness of water-ice films. Appl. Optics1999, 38, 91–95. 

Zondlo, M. A., Onasch, T. B., Warshawsky, M. S., Tolbert, M. A., Mallick, G, Arentz, P., Robinson, M. S. Experimental studies of vapor-deposited water-ice films using grazing-angle FTIR-reflection absorption spectroscopy. J. Phys. Chem. B1997, 101, 10887–10895.

DePuy, C. H., Bierbaum, V. M., Robinson, M. S., Davico, G. E., Gareyev, R. The Gas-Phase Reactions of the Allenyl Anion with CS2, COS, and CO2Tetrahedron1997, 29, 9847–9856.

Robinson, M. S.; Polak, M.; Bierbaum, V. M.; DePuy, C. H.; Lineberger, W. C. Experimental Studies of Allene and Methylacetylene: Electron Affinity, Gas-Phase Acidity, Bond Dissociation Energies, and Ion-Molecule Chemistry J. Am. Chem. Soc.1995,117, 6766–6778.

Robinson, M. S., Bierbaum, V. M., DePuy, C. H. The Gas Phase Ion-Molecule Chemistry of Carbon-13 Labeled Ketenyl and Methylketenyl Anions with CS2, COS, and CO2. Int. J. Mass Spectrom. Ion Proc.1994, 137, 107–119. 

Robinson, M. S., Breitbeil III, F. W. The Gas Phase Ion/Molecule Chemistry of Four Carbanions Generated from Vinylene Carbonate and its Methyl and Dimethyl Derivatives. Int. J. Mass Spectrom. Ion Proc.1992, 117, 647–658.

Schiffman, A., Nelson, D. D., Robinson, M. S., Nesbitt, D. J. High Resolution Infrared Flash Kinetic Spectroscopy of OH Radicals. J. Phys. Chem.1991, 95, 2629–2636.