Laney College

Meet Your Chemistry Teachers and Laboratory Technicians!

Meet Your Chemistry Teachers and Laboratory Technicians!

Pinar Alscher

Chem 1A, Chem 30A


Hi! My name is Pinar Alscher, but most students and faculty call me “Miss Pinar”.  I have been teaching chemistry at Laney for many years.  I think of myself as a guide through the wonderful and challenging world of studying chemistry.  Yes, chemistry is challenging for many students.  Confession: this includes me, I had a real struggle with chemistry. I learned, eventually, how to study chemistry.  My goal in this course is to guide you through the study of chemistry.  I have suggestions for how to study efficiently.  In the Canvas material, I have listed my goals as an instructor, and goals for you, the student. One very important point that I wish to instill upon you: I don’t expect you to become a chemistry major.  However, I am looking for students who are curious about the nature of matter, who seeks to better understand the universe, and who wildly wish to experience the enchantment of college chemistry.  You will be surprised how insidious, permeating, and important the study of chemistry is in all aspects of your life (yup, even music and art!)



Michelle (Cheli) Fossum

Chem 1A, Chem 1B, Chem 30A, Chem 30B


I started teaching at Laney College in 1992 and I’ve been here ever since! I grew up in Washington state and moved to the Bay Area when I was in high school. I went to a community college right after high school, and I am so glad I did. I feel that I learned the material more thoroughly in a community college, since classes were smaller and there was more attention from the teachers. My goal is for my students to really learn the material. My classes are challenging yet friendly and supportive. When I’m not teaching, I love hiking, yoga, dance, reading, and playing board games with my friends.



Bill Trego

Chem 12A, Chem 12B


I was raised in a small factory/farming town in Central Ohio and was the first member of family to attend college.  I graduated from a high school that was literally surrounded by corn and soybean fields.  I received a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio in 1995, where I also happened to meet my wife.  I went on to study synthetic organic chemistry at the Ohio State University.  My first formal experience in teaching was at Columbus State Community College.  After spending a number of years working in the nonprofit world, my family moved to the Bay Area in 2006, at which time I began teaching chemistry part-time at Laney College.  After a few years of teaching introductory level chemistry, I was given the opportunity to take over the evening organic chemistry sections.  In 2015, I was hired to fill the chemistry department’s new full-time faculty position.  During my years as a part-time instructor, I also taught at Mills College in Oakland.  I have taught the majority of the courses we offer at Laney.  While these days, I mostly teach CHEM 12A and 12B, I enjoy working with students at all levels.   What I have learned through teaching is that there is no better way to learn chemistry (or perhaps anything for that matter) than to try to teach it to someone else.




Becky Gee

Chem 1A, Chem 1B

As a Bay Area native, I’m proud to be part of the Laney College Community! I spent 9 years teaching chemistry and conducting research as a tenured faculty member at Long Island University in Brooklyn. My research focused on how and why battery materials work, the structure of amorphous solids including catalysts that reduce harmful nitric oxides in our atmosphere, and method development in the field of solid-state magnetic resonance spectroscopy. In 2007, I made the decision to move back to the Bay Area where I was a general manager at a company. After a 12 year detour at a company, I found myself wanting to be back in the classroom with awesome students which brought me to Laney College! Outside of teaching, I love hiking, climbing (mainly indoors), kayaking, camping, yoga, and hanging-out with friends and family. Excited to be back in the classroom!



Abraham Reyes

Chem 1A, Chem 1B

Hello! I am a theoretical chemist, which sounds counterintuitive since chemistry is an applied science, but this only means I lean towards the modeling of chemical processes and analysis of experimental data; however, being a professor has been the most relevant part of my career as a chemist. It will be a pleasure to be in a class with you and learn from one another!  =)



Seth Silberman

Lab coordinator

Seth grew up in a small town in rural Vermont before moving to a small town in rural N. California in high school. He has called the great city of Oakland home for the last 14 years. 

He enjoys working at Laney supporting students and faculty for all their lab equipment and material needs. Don’t hesitate to let him know if you need any help with any of your lab materials. 

When not working in the lab, Seth likes exploring the great outdoors, cycling around town, trying new restaurants in Oakland, and watching the Golden State Warriors. He also is an aspiring home chef who specializes in baking sourdough bread and bagels.