Tracy Halmi '93

Tracy Halmi

Associate Teaching Professor of Chemistry at Penn State Behrend. Additionally, Tracy is the Science Outreach Coordinator and adviser to the Science Ambassador student group. She has been at Behrend for more than twenty-five years and is a 1993 Chemistry graduate.

About her job: My primary role in the School of Science is to teach introductory general and organic chemistry courses to first- and second-year students. In addition, I’m the School of Science Outreach Coordinator and adviser to the Science Ambassador student group.

On roots: I grew up in Sewickley, near Pittsburgh. I currently live in Edinboro.

Family: Husband, Steve '94, and two adult children, Nicholas '23, and Elena, currently a Penn State student.

Fondest memories at Behrend: In 1991 Kay Logan pledged to fund the purchase, renovation, and furnishing of the former Mack estate on Station Road, to provide a place for students at the college to develop social skills and cultural appreciation. When the gift was complete, I used a chemical demonstration to "burn the deed" which set off the smoke alarms in the building. Former Chancellor Jack Burke was not happy with his newly hired young chemist. And while I've set a few alarms off in the science building since this incident, I always invite maintenance to the event to quickly turn them off.

Biggest challenge at work: Overcoming students’ fear of chemistry. Many of them are conditioned to think it’s something that is too hard for them to understand.

Most important trait for a professional woman to possess: The ability to say no, which is hard for a lot of women.

What she wishes every woman understood: You don’t have to do it all on your own. Go ahead and hire a cleaning service.

What she’s learned the hard way: To listen (better).

Food she couldn’t imagine her life without: Spaghetti.

If she had a whole day to herself: I’d visit cool restaurants and drink fancy cocktails.


Tracy is happy to connect with you and is open to mentoring. How to reach her: