The Department of Chemistry is pleased to announce that Lauren Chamberlain, Divya Jain, Ann Marie Paterno, Lihui Shen, and Mary Wang are the winners of the 2021 American Chemical Society (ACS) Undergraduate Awards.
The ACS awards recognize outstanding achievement by undergraduate students and encourage further pursuit in their chosen fields of chemistry. Awardees demonstrate commitment to chemistry through research, coursework, and dedication to academic excellence.
Graduating chemistry major Lauren Chamberlain is the recipient of the ACS Undergraduate Award in Organic Chemistry. The award recognizes senior students who display a significant aptitude for organic chemistry and aims to encourage further interest in the field. Chamberlain conducted research with the Elacqua group, where she focused on synthesis of small molecules for incorporation into catalytic single-chain polymer nanoparticles. During her time at Penn State, she also earned multiple awards and scholarships including the Erickson Discovery Grant, Charles P. and Dorothy A. Neidig Scholarship, Stephen and Patricia Benkovic Summer Research Award in Chemistry, and The Elizabeth and J. Paul Smith Scholarship Fund.
Divya Jain is the recipient of the ACS Division of Environmental Chemistry Undergraduate Student Award. The award recognizes Jain’s outstanding academic and research achievements in environmental chemistry. She is a member of the Freedman group.
Graduating chemistry major Ann Marie Paterno is the recipient of the ACS Undergraduate Award in Physical Chemistry. The award recognizes her outstanding achievements in academics and research in physical chemistry. Paterno has been conducting research with Teaching Professor Bratoljub Milosavljevic. Her work focuses on pyrene excimer formation kinetics. The reaction rate for pyrene excimer formation decreases as temperature increases, giving it a negative energy of activation. A negative activation energy is a rare phenomenon, making it an interesting topic for exploration. She has been doing experiments on pyrene in various solvents to see what effect that has on the activation energy and if it will give insight into why the phenomenon is occurring. After graduation, she plans to continue this research while working as a teaching assistant for Professor Milosavljevic.
Graduating chemistry major Lihui Shen is the recipient of the ACS Undergraduate Award in Inorganic Chemistry. The award was established to recognize outstanding academic achievement in inorganic chemistry and to encourage further study in the field. Shen is a member of the Allcock group; her research focuses on the synthesis of polyphosphazenes. The properties of polyphosphazenes can be tuned by the use of different skeletal architectures and by the introduction of different side groups. This makes polyphosphazenes particularly materials for uses in various applications. This semester, Shen focused on synthesizing poly[bis(octafluoropentoxy) phosphazene] (OFP) with different side groups. This polymer can be used in the application of blood-contacting medical devices. It significantly reduces the risk of pathogenic infection and thrombosis. After graduation, she plans to pursue a master's degree at the University of Pennsylvania.
Graduating chemistry major Mary Wang is the recipient of the ACS Undergraduate Award in Analytical Chemistry. The award recognizes her outstanding academic and research achievements in analytical chemistry. During her time at Penn State, Wang conducted analytical and environmental research with Teaching Professor Dan Sykes; her work focused on the analysis of water and sediment samples from different rivers using FTIR microscopy to evaluate the types of micro-plastics that end up in water supplies. After graduation, she plans to pursue a PhD in analytical chemistry at North Carolina State University.
Please join the Department of Chemistry in congratulating these outstanding students on this exciting achievement!