Tyler Junior College


Faculty Bios

Mr. Larry Cook

Professor, Chemistry

Coordinator, Chemistry Laboratory

Mr. Cook began at Tyler Junior College as an adjunct part-time instructor, and in 2005 he began working full time. He received his Masters Degree from Stephen F. Austin (Nacogdoches, TX) with a Masters in Chemistry and a minor in Physics. Before that, he earned a Bachelors Degree from Midwestern University (Wichita Fall, TX) with a Bachelors in Chemistry and a minor in Mathematics.  Outside of teaching, Mr. Cook’s interest include gardening, music and his grandchildren.

Dr. Byron E. Howell

Professor, Chemistry

Coordinator, South Central Regional Microscale Chemistry Center

Dr. Howell began teaching full time at Tyler Junior College in 1991. Prior to that, he taught secondary-level science (mostly chemistry and physics) in the Texas public school system. He has also worked some as an analytical chemist in industry.  Dr. Howell's educational background includes a B.S. degree in Chemistry from Hardin-Simmons University, a M.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies (Chemistry emphasis) from the University of Texas at Tyler, and an Ed.D. from Texas A&M Commerce.  His interests include environmental issues, Christian-based activities, golfing, fly fishing and electronic-assisted instruction.

Dr. David E. Hyatt

Adjunct Professor, Chemistry

Dr. Hyatt (Dr. D to his students) has been an adjunct professor in the Chemistry Department at TJC since 2003.  His classes include Chemistry 1405, 1406, 1411, and 1412.  Prior to teaching at TJC, Dr. D was a senior lecturer at the University of Texas at Dallas for 5 years, teaching undergraduate general chemistry classes and graduate level chemistry courses in applied industrial chemistry and technical writing.  He recently received the Adjunct Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award from TJC. Before embarking upon his education career, Dr. Hyatt spent 30 years as an industrial research chemist specializing in inorganic chemicals synthesis, environmental chemistry, and innovative small business research in the environmental and inorganic chemicals fields.  He has received over $2 million in funding as Principal Investigator in the SBIR program, has over 25 publications in chemistry areas, and is inventor or co-inventor on 9 United States patents.  Currently Dr. Hyatt serves as an industry consultant for the control of emissions from coal-burning utility power plants. Dr. Hyatt holds his A.B. degree from Colgate University and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Illinois.

Mr. Robert L. Root 

Professor, Chemistry

Mr. Root has been teaching at Tyler Junior College since 2006.  His other teaching experience includes a total of five years at the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY, and three years at Marion Military Institute in Marion, AL.  In addition, Mr. Root served on active duty in the U. S. Army for 24 years, specializing in defense against nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons, retiring in 2003 at the rank of lieutenant colonel.  Mr. Root's educational background includes a Bachelor of Science degree in Basic and Applied Sciences and Engineering from the United States Military Academy at West Point (1979) and a Master of Science degree in Organic Chemistry from Texas A&M University (1985).  His interests include Christian church activities, playing piano, reading, and taking care of my wife and daughters.

Dr. James M. Rozell

Professor, Chemistry

Dr. Rozell has been teaching at Tyler Junior College since 1993.  His other teaching experience includes a total of 7 years at Northwestern State University (Natchitoches, La.) and the University of Texas at El Paso.  Dr. Rozell received a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from the University of Texas at Austin and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from University of North Texas.  In the 2010-2011 school year Dr. Rozell served as the Point of Contact faculty (POC) for TJC with the Community College Aerospace Scholars program (CAS) at the NASA Johnson Space Center. In the Spring of 2011 he brought 6 TJC students to the NASA Johnson Space Center to participate in the 3 day on-site part of the program.   In 2013 Dr. Rozell was the recipient of the TriO program’s Teamwork award, an award voted on by students.  Outside of teaching, Dr. Rozell’s interests include golf, backyard horticulture (blueberries, peaches), bicycling and hiking.

Dr. Idalia H. Trent

Professor, Chemistry

Dr. Trent has been with Tyler Junior College since 1991.  Her previous teaching experience includes two years at Jacksonville College in Jacksonville, Texas, and two years at the Inter American University in Puerto Rico.  Dr. Trent's educational background includes a B.S. degree in Chemistry from the University of Puerto Rico and an Ed.D. in Chemistry from Texas A&M Commerce.  "It is my ultimate goal as a teacher to awaken the intellect of my students to a lifelong fascination for the implicit rules that govern the natural world and the power of chemistry to exact these principles." 

Mr. Rodney J. Whetzel

Professor/Department Chairman, Chemistry

Mr. Whetzel has been an instructor at TJC since 1993 and department chairman since 2001. He earned a BS in Chemistry from Stanford University and was elected to the Phi Beta Kappa honorary society (1989). He then completed a MS in Chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1990). Further coursework in chemistry, math and education at the University of Texas at Austin led to a Texas state teaching credential (1993). While at TJC, Mr. Whetzel has been a long-time member of the American Chemical Society and the Texas Association of Advisors for the Health Professions. In connection with his membership in TAAHP, he advises students interested in medicine, pharmacy and other health fields. Outside of work, Mr. Whetzel is an avid tennis player and musician. He sings regularly with the Tyler Civic Chorale and plays piano in his spare time.