Department News

NSF Graduate Research Fellowships Awarded to UR Students and Alumni. Others Receive Honorable Mention.

March 23, 2017

Lauren VangelderLauren VanGelder, a graduate student working in Prof. Ellen Matson’s lab, has been selected as an awardee for the NSF Graduate Fellowship Award. After graduating from Brockport High School, Lauren attended the University at Buffalo (SUNY), where she obtained degrees in Chemistry (B.S.) and Biomedical Sciences (B.S.). Following graduation, she returned to her hometown to pursue a Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry at the University of Rochester, where she is a founding member of the Matson Lab. Her research focuses on the synthesis of heterometallic polyoxometalate-alkoxide clusters and their applications in small molecule activation.

Norman Zhao Along with Lauren, current undergraduate working in Prof. Dan Weix's lab, Norman Zhao, also received the award. Norman will be graduating with a B.S. in Chemistry and B.A. in Biology this May. He has served as both a workshop leader and laboratory teaching assistant.  Last year he was awarded the Junior Scholar Award for accomplishments and promise for a professional career in chemistry.  For the past three years he has been studying the use of quantum dot in photoredox catalysis in the Weix laboratory with his mentor, Jill Caputo. This coming fall, he will be beginning his Ph.D. in the field at the University of Chicago.

Three of our Alumni, Christine Ziegler (now at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor), Paul Gabrys (now at MIT), and Sarah Pristash (now at the University of Washington), also were selected to receive this prestigious award.

"GRFP is a critical program in NSF's overall strategy to develop a globally engaged workforce necessary to ensure the nation's leadership in advancing science and engineering (S&E) research and innovation. Former NSF fellows have made transformative breakthroughs in S&E, become leaders in their chosen careers, and been honored as Nobel laureates.

"This unique program has nurtured economic innovation and leadership in the U.S. continuously since 1952 -- by recruiting and supporting outstanding students with high potential in science, technology, engineering and mathematics very early in their graduate training," said Jim Lewis, NSF acting assistant director for Education and Human Resources. "These talented individuals have gone on to make important discoveries, win Nobel Prizes, train many generations of American scientists and engineers and create inventions that improve our lives."

The following U of R students received Honorable Mentions:

  • Nicholas Hill(now at CU Boulder)
  • Taylor Sodano (now at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor)

Three of our summer REU students also received awards this year:

  • Alexander Gittens, from Vassar College, worked with the Miller group in the Summer of 2015 (now at Vassar College).
  • Paige Piszel, from the University of Virginia, worked with the Jones Group in the Summer of 2015 (now at University of Wisconsin-Madison).
  • Tanya Townsend, from The College of New Jersey, worked with the Jones Group in the Summer of 2016 (now at The College of New Jersey).

Congratulations to all the awardees!

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