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Picture of John Harkless, smiling, and looking to the side.

John A.W. Harkless

Associate Professor of Chemistry

  • Chemistry
  • College of Arts & Sciences


Dr. John A.W. Harkless is an award-winning Associate Professor of chemistry at Howard University. He actively pursues research in quantum mechanics using high-accuracy computational techniques learned from his graduate studies at the University of California, Berkeley. He was inducted to Phi Beta Kappa at Morehouse College in 1993, before earning a Bachelor or Science degree in Mathematics and Chemistry in 1995. 

Throughout his academic career, Dr. Harkless has balanced academic research with combining instruction and advocacy in STEM and minority education. This is strongly influenced by a belief in education as a public good, as evidenced by his upbringing in Mississippi.

Dr. Harkless has over a decade of experience in developing, implementing, and evaluating diverse student populations in the rigors of chemical sciences. This experience confers the practical ability to infuse the human element in STEM, so that all may have a personal understanding of the phenomena of the universe.

As a speaker, he provides unique insights into science and society, generational differences in the classroom and workplace, the use of social media technologies in both formal and informal instructional settings, and the power of storytelling to captivate audiences, build communities, and catalyze collaborative problem-solving. 

Youtube Channel

Education & Expertise


Mathematics and Chemistry

Morehouse College

Theoretical Chemistry

University of California, Berkeley




In addition to applying the standard array of computational quantum chemistry methods to chemical problems, I also focus on chemical education and science communication as a broader area of interest.