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Chemistry Majors Named Recipients of John and Elizabeth Holmes Teas Scholarship

29 June 2021

The Department of Chemistry is pleased to announce that chemistry majors Steven Ganescu, Hannah Priller, and Alaina Kiffer have been named recipients of the John and Elizabeth Holmes Teas Scholarship. The students join previous scholarship recipients Devon Sweeder and Ryan Lai, who continue to receive support from the scholarship. 

The Teas Scholarship was established to assist Penn State chemistry majors with tuition costs. The scholarship recognizes students who demonstrate outstanding academic achievement, ability, and a passion for chemistry.  

Steven Ganescu is a rising sophomore in the chemistry major. He has served as a learning assistant (LA) for multiple chemistry courses and plans to continue this work in the fall. He is also a recipient of the Stephen and Patricia Benkovic Summer Research Award in Chemistry, and is currently using this grant to develop affordable at-home experiments for the World Campus version of CHEM 111. In the fall, he plans to begin research with the Elacqua group, led by Assistant Professor of Chemistry Beth Elacqua.

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Ganescu

 

Alaina Kiffer is a fifth-year Schreyer Honors College scholar who is double majoring in chemistry and music. She has served as a teaching assistant (TA) for the Department of Chemistry. This summer, she is also working as an intern for Merck Analytical Research and Development. Outside of the lab, Kiffer is involved in Encore Benefitting THON and various ensembles on campus, including the symphonic band and clarinet choir. 

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Alaina Kiffer

 

Hannah Priller is a rising sophomore in the Schreyer Honors College who is currently conducting research with Associate Professor of Chemistry Ben Lear. Her research focuses on synthesizing gold nanoparticles of different sizes to study their differing electronic properties through UV-Vis, NMR, and TEM. Priller will also be serving as a SHO TIME Mentor and as an LA for the first-year chemistry seminar in the fall. Additionally, she will serve as the treasurer for the Nittany Chemical Society for the 2021-2022 school year.

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Hannah Priller

 

Ryan Lai is a rising junior Schreyer Honors College scholar who is majoring in chemistry. Lai is a member of the Zhang lab, led by Paul Berg Early Career Professor of Chemistry Xin Zhang. Lai’s research focuses on trying to detect and understand protein aggregation by synthesizing small fluorogenic probes that can tag proteins. He is currently a research and development intern at PPG, where he is working on corrosion resistant automotive coatings.  He has also served as a learning assistant for chemistry courses and is the current president of the Nittany Chemical Society. Outside the lab, Lai is involved in Penn State’s Music Service Club and the American Society of Microbiology.

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Ryan Lai

 

Devon Sweeder is a rising senior Schreyer Honors College scholar who is majoring in chemistry. She is a member of the Pester group, led by K. Hepler Early Career Professor in Chemical Engineering Christian Pester. Sweeder’s research focuses on a project to impart multiple functionalities into surface coatings via surface-initiated polymerization techniques. She is also a recipient of the Stephen and Patricia Benkovic Summer Research Award in Chemistry.

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Devon Sweeder

 

Please join the Department of Chemistry in congratulating Steven Ganescu, Hannah Priller, Alaina Kiffer, Devon Sweeder, and Ryan Lai on being named recipients of the John and Elizabeth Holmes Teas Scholarship.