Aaron Fafarman, "Spectroscopy and Sustainability: Understanding and Engineering Low-Cost, Nanocrystal-Based Energy Conversion Materials"
Oct. 23, 2012
Left: Jin Sun Woo; Right: Timothy Beng, who earned his Ph. D at the University of Arkansas under Dr. Gawley, is now in the Sarpong group at UC Berkeley. He recently won a NIH Ruth Kirschstein post-doctoral fellowship. The two are standing in front of Jin Sun Woo's poster at the poster session at the University of Arkansas on July 31, 2011.
Landing in the REU program in University of Arkansas was an epic journey for me. As an international student, finding a research program that both accepts international students and pay an ample amount of stipend was a challenge. Initially, Professor Maria Gomez thankfully informed me about the REU program by NSF. After going through the list of schools and exchanging countless emails, I could narrow the list down to a few schools that included University of Arkansas.
At the start of the program, since it was my first research experience, I was fascinated only by watching and actually enabling what I learned in a classroom to come to life. However, I was more captivated by the research project because of its pivotal role in pharmaceutical and synthetic chemistry. In Gawley group, I worked on expanding the scope of Catalytic Dynamic Resolution (CDR), which requires only catalytic amount of chiral ligands to conduct asymmetric synthesis with excellent enantioselectivity. Asymmetric synthesis is an essential part in pharmaceutics since each enantiomer of a chiral compound often reacts differently in human bodies. My project mainly focused on the scaled-up synthesis of pipecolic methyl ester using CDR, and I also participated in the examination of configurationally stable benzylic organolithium compounds.
Throughout the program, I learned that chemical research could be exciting, but at the same time pretty complex—compared to what it looks like in a simple chemical equation. In order to obtain the product, we had to carry out the reaction, purification, isolation, and characterization processes. Sometimes separating the product by column chromatography and figuring out its identity by TLC or NMR took more than one day. However, my experience in Gawley group was particularly rewarding because the research project ended up in a publication in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.*
For those who are looking for internships and research opportunities, I would like to recommend really digging into the pool of programs to find out what you are truly interested. Although any area of chemical research would be helpful for first-time researchers, you WILL be more enthusiastic and engaged if they really like it. So, try hard and good luck with finding the opportunities!
- Jin Sun Woo, class of 2013, Chemistry major and Biology minor, originates from Korea and prior to Mount Holyoke lived in New Jersey for 5 years
* J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2012, 134, 14764−14771.
It's always a pleasant surprise to reach the end of the year. In the midst of reading days, the Chemistry Department hosts a social event with professors, staff, and students to celebrate the end of the year as well as the well-deserved accomplishments of students.
Although not included in the list below, during the actual event professors will often stand up and express their appreciation and acknowledgment of a particular student's work ethic and personality. Their words become all the more poignant for the graduating seniors as they remember such and such student from when she was a first year or their amazement at a particular student's interdisciplinary work.
On that note, the Sceptical Chymist begins with the awards to those graduating seniors:
Rachel Brown Award: Awarded annually to an outstanding chemistry or biochemistry major
Lan He Zhang
American Chemistry Society Award—Connecticut Valley Section (ACS-CVS): Awarded annually two recipients, one an outstanding chemistry major and the other an outstanding biochemistry major
Regina Ciszewski (Chemistry)
He Clare Xu (Biochemistry)
Although not specific to seniors, this award often does go to a senior as it is an award for someone dear to our (The Chemistry Department's) hearts:
Chemistry Department Book Award: Awarded annually two recipients, one an outstanding chemistry major and the other an outstanding biochemistry major
For the rising seniors, the Louisa Stone Stevenson prize awards them for striving hard academically:
Louisa Stone Stevenson Prizes: Awarded annually to students in their Junior year for excellence in chemistry as determined by Grade Point Average and/or class rank
Jiayi Chen, Kimberly Edwards, Mai-Anh Ha, Emma Hughes, My-Linh Nguyen, Yen Nguyen, Terianna Wax, Rudo Makonza Goto, Meagan Jones, Yucheng Chen, Yiwen Liu, Xington Zuo, Pei Liu, Seav Huong Ly, Wanxin Wang
Other awards included the:
ACS Undergraduate Award in Analytical Chemistry: Awarded annually for demonstrating aptitude in analytical chemistry
Emma GarstChemistry Department Teaching Assistant Award
Si Qi Cindy Yao (General Chemistry)
Quiling Li (Organic Chemistry)
For those who not only survived organic chemistry, but thrived in the subject (typically given to sophomores):
Albert Walter Award for Excellence in Organic Chemistry
For promising first years:
Albert Walter Award for Excellence in General Chemistry
Yet again, congratulations to those who were awarded and much thanks for all those who attended this event to relax and cheer on their fellows!
Be sure to check out the Chemistry Department's speakers at the Senior Symposium today:
Hear Regina's presentation.
Hear Mimi's presentation.
Hear the presentations from 3:15-4:15 of Marie, Kelsey, and He's.
Download high quality pictures of the presenters and professors.
Highlights of the presentations:
From left to right: Professor Wei Chen, Lanhe Zhang, Mimi Hang, Luong Nguyen, Regina Ciszewski, and Professor Maria Gomez.
... following the stressful day, the presenters get a little wacky. Congratulations on Luong Nguyen and Regina Ciszewski for getting through the day.
From left to right: Marie Ozanne, He Xu, and Kelsey Schramma.
From the Scripps Research Institute:
Rebecca Taurog, "Life at the Extremes: Multiscale Structural Studies of Viruses"
April 3, 2012
Hear the lecture.
From Amherst College:
Ashley Carter, "Discovering the Viscosity of Living Cells"
March 13, 2012
Check out Professor Carter's profile at Amherst College's Department of Biochemistry-Biophysics website.
Check out the Carter Laboratory website regarding her research.
Hear the lecture.
General Information provided by the Mount Holyoke Physics Department.
Professor Carter answering a Mount Holyoke student's questions regarding her research.
From the University of New Hampshire:
Sarah Phillips, "Search for the the Dark Side of Matter"
March 6, 2012
Search for the Dark Side of Matter:
There is far more to the Universe than what we see. All of the matter and energy of our daily experience -- textbooks, desks, people, buildings, etc. -- make up only about 4.6% of the Universe. The vast majority of the Universe is actually made up of the Dark Side: dark matter and dark energy. Although first noticed in the 1930's, dark matter is still a mystery, and is currently a hot topic of research. This talk will review the evidence for dark matter and discuss some possible candidates. Driven by exciting hints of dark matter, there are many current and upcoming experiments that are searching for dark matter signatures. I will discuss an overview of some of these efforts, and then focus on an experiment I am working on, the HPS experiment, which will search for dark photons at Jefferson Lab.
View her powerpoint presentation.
Check out PhD research scientist Phillips's website at the University of New Hampshire website, where she provides information about her academic research and background.
General Information about her provided by the Mount Holyoke Physics Department.
So the Sceptical Chymist is taking it to the road, venturing beyond Mount Holyoke College to attend the Centennial Celebration of Rutherford's Discovery of the Nucleus at Smith College. Information about the schedule and the lectures can be found here.
There will be photos and audio (hopefully) posted up momentarily from the event.