The Department of Chemistry presented annual awards to a total of nine undergraduate and graduate students in chemistry during the Spring 2023 Convocation ceremony on May 14 at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.
Matthew Dake — Worth H. Rodebush Award
The Worth H. Rodebush Award in the amount of $1,000 is awarded based upon academic merit to a student who intends to make a career of chemistry. As an undergraduate researcher in the lab of Prof. Lisa Olshansky, Dake synthesized and characterized ligands that bind to copper, and he is coauthor on a publication currently under review. In the fall, Dake is attending Washington University in St. Louis to earn his Ph.D. degree in inorganic chemistry.
Ryan Eleveld — John David Barnwell Memorial Award
The John David Barnwell Memorial Award in Chemistry in the amount of $1,000 is awarded to a student who exemplifies academic achievement with a high personal standard of ethics and scholarship, a passion for teaching, and a respect for friendship. Eleveld was nominated by professors Alison Fout, Eric Oldfield, and Josh Vura-Weis. In addition to a 4.0 GPA in the LAS chemistry major and Bronze Tablet honors, Eleveld has been active in teaching, outreach, and mentoring. In the advanced physical chemistry lab course, Eleveld built an instrument from $2,000 in eBay parts when a new instrument would have cost $100,000. Eleveld has been a student teacher, teaching assistant, the outreach chair of the American Chemical Society student chapter, and coordinator of the third-grade program for the student-run R.E.A.C.T. outreach program to local schools. In the Fall, Eleveld is attending Michigan State University to pursue a Ph.D. degree in chemistry.
Ian Garvey — John C. Bailar Award
The John C. Bailar Award in the amount of $1,000 was established to honor students whose undergraduate research work is especially exemplary. As an undergraduate researcher in the labs of both Prof. Alison Fout and Prof. Liviu Mirica, Garvey’s research included multistep synthesis and study of ligands for binding of nickel ions and led to him being a coauthor on several manuscripts. He will attend the University of Wisconsin in the fall to pursue his Ph.D. in chemistry.
Morgan Kennebeck — Reynold C. Fuson Award
The Reynold C. Fuson Award in the amount of $1,000 recognizes outstanding academic excellence in chemistry, emphasizing research accomplishments. Kennebeck worked as an undergraduate researcher in the laboratory of Prof. Scott Silverman where she worked on DNAzymes that modify oligonucleotides, leading to her being the first author on one forthcoming manuscript and second author of another manuscript. She was the vice president of the campus American Chemical Society student chapter as well as a teaching assistant and peer mentor for the “First Semester Success in Chemistry” freshman course. Kennebeck will be attending the University of California Berkeley in the fall to earn her Ph.D. in chemistry, likely focusing on biophysical chemistry.
Megan Murphy — Carl S. Marvel Award
The Carl S. Marvel Award in the amount of $1,000 was established to honor a top student for distinction in undergraduate research. As an undergraduate researcher in the lab of Prof. Jeffrey Moore, Murphy’s research on synthesis and ring-opening polymerization of cyclic allenes has been recognized with co-authorship on a manuscript. Murphy was president of the campus American Chemical Society student chapter. In the fall, Murphy will attend the University of California Santa Barbara to earn her Ph.D. in polymer chemistry.
Qasim Sikander — Algernon DeWaters Gorman Memorial Prize in Chemistry
The Algernon DeWaters Gorman Memorial Prize in Chemistry is awarded to a student who has done scholarly work in chemistry and is in the amount of $1,000. Sikander worked in the laboratory of Prof. Jeff Chan where he worked on the optimization of near-infrared photoacoustic contrast agents for cancer imaging. In the fall, Sikander will spend a year working as a specialist in our department’s own Chemistry Learning Center while applying to medical schools.
Zoe Wachtel — Dr. Eugene Kent Borchart Memorial Award in Chemistry
The Dr. Eugene Kent Borchart Memorial Award in Chemistry recognizes an outstanding graduating senior in chemistry and is in the amount of $1,000. As an undergraduate researcher in the lab of Prof. Lisa Olshansky, Wachtel’s research combined chemical biology, inorganic chemistry, and spectroscopy. In the fall, Wachtel is attending the University of Michigan to earn her Ph.D. degree in inorganic chemistry.
American Chemical Society Presidential P3 Medal for Graduate Research Excellence
Dr. Sophia McClain
Advisor: Catherine J. Murphy
In her Ph.D. research, Dr. McClain worked on a range of characterizations of nanomaterials and biomolecules. Among her other scientific contributions, Dr. McClain led a collaborative study between the Rienstra and Murphy labs on interaction of alpha-synuclein with lipid vesicle mimics. Beyond her research contributions, Dr. McClain was chair of the Joint Safety Team and active in the Women Chemists Committee and the Student Wellness Coalition. After graduation, Dr. McClain will use her chemistry knowledge for societal benefit in the world of intellectual property and technology transfer.
Dr. Alison Wallum
Advisor: Martin Gruebele
In her Ph.D. studies, Dr. Wallum was extremely active in collaborative research with numerous other groups. She contributed to a publication with labs in nuclear engineering and electrical and computer engineering on campus, as well as another publication with a lab at the University of Texas Austin. Outside the lab, she was an officer with the Women Chemists Committee, participated as a mentor in the Professional Development for Chemists course for first-year graduate students, as well as for high school students in the Physics department’s Young Scholar Program. After graduation, Dr. Wallum will pursue applied research in a national lab or industrial setting.