Illinois chemistry undergraduate student Ryan Eleveld received the 2022 Undergraduate Award in Physical Chemistry presented annually by the Physical Chemistry Division of the American Chemical Society.
The awards recognize outstanding achievement by undergraduate students in physical chemistry and encourage students to further their pursuits in the field. The recipients, who are nominated by their institution, have demonstrated excellence in physical chemistry and related fields based on research, coursework, and/or dedication as defined by the nominating institution.
Eleveld, who is a senior majoring in specialized chemistry with a minor in secondary education, has an exceptional track record in mentoring and outreach, a 4.0 GPA and has been on the Dean’s List every semester. He plans to teach high school chemistry and will be receiving a Professional Educator License in Secondary Education and Chemistry, Earth, and Space Science.
He is the outreach chair of UIUC’s ACS Chapter and also the R.E.A.C.T Third Grade coordinator and lab manager, developing and filming grade-appropriate chemistry labs for local schools.
Chemistry professors Eric Oldfield and Josh Vura-Weis, who nominated Eleveld, said he has an excellent record not only in his academics, but also in mentoring and outreach.
“Ryan is a phenomenally good student, one of the very best that we have seen at Illinois,” said the professors, who shared an example of Eleveld's talent and dedication.
When a differential scanning calorimeter malfunctioned in CHEM 445 lab, Ryan volunteered to construct a new system from parts he could purchase at $2,000 — a new system would have cost $100,000 — which worked so well that he added new experiments on protein folding, DNA-ligand interactions, and nematic and cholesteric liquid crystals, which his fellow students perform in subsequent semesters.