2021 Annual Chemistry Department Awards

Awards – ACS Younger Chemists Committee

The Chemistry Department is proud to announce the recipients of the 2021 Annual Chemistry Department Awards:

ACS Analytical Award: Cole Harris
Awarded for excellence in analytical chemistry
ACS Award in Inorganic Chemistry: Abrar Habib
To recognize achievement in inorganic chemistry and to encourage further study in the field
ACS Award in Organic Chemistry: Niels Vizgan
To a student who has displayed a significant aptitude for organic chemistry
ACS Award in Physical Chemistry: Caitlin Grant
To recognize achievement in physical chemistry and to encourage further study in the field
ACS Connecticut Valley Section Award: Emma Shapiro
For outstanding achievement by a graduating chemistry major
American Institute for Chemists Award: Gianna Argento
For outstanding achievement by a graduating chemistry major
Bradley Prize: Sterre Hesseling & Emma Shapiro
To the senior or junior who excels in chemistry and particularly in special original work
Silverman Prize: Oliver Cho & Annika Velez
Awarded to a member of the junior or senior class for excellence in chemistry
Peirce Prize: Sophia Marra
Awarded for excellence in chemistry
CRC Award (General Chemistry): Alexis Papavasiliou 

For the outstanding first-year student in Principles of Chemistry
CRC Award (Organic Chemistry): Anne Kiely
For the outstanding first-year student in Organic Chemistry
Hawk Prize: Kate Luo
To the students who have done the most effective work in biochemistry
Martius Yellow Award: Sophie Wazlowski
Awarded for excellence in Integrated Chemistry Laboratory
The Wallace C. Pringle Prize for Research in Chemistry: Sean McDarby
Awarded to a student for excellence in research
Peterson Fellowship: Nick Wells
For graduate study in biochemistry
Tishler Prize: Jeff Keyes
Awarded to the best graduate teaching assistant in chemistry

Vasileios Drogkaris Receives PhD


Dr. Vasileios Drogkaris

Dr. Vasileios Drogkaris successfully defended his Ph.D. thesis titled “Exploring the self-assembly of conjugated materials and the utility of the thiol-Michael reaction in macromolecular synthesis” on March 2nd, 2021. Vasili came to Wesleyan in 2014 after receiving his B.S. in chemistry from the University of Athens, Greece. While an undergraduate Vasili carried out research investigating ring-opening metathesis polymerization techniques using novel tungsten catalysts. At Wesleyan, Vasili joined the lab of Prof. Northrop and embarked on several research projects exploring the dynamic covalent self-assembly of boronic acids as well as the use of thiol-Michael reactions in macromolecular synthesis. Most prominently, Vasili developed the dynamic self-assembly of a series of boronate ester-bridged oligo(phenylene ethynylene) ladder compounds that have laid the groundwork for increasing our understanding of π-conjugation in one-dimensional versus two-dimensional materials. Vasili has recently accepted a position at Spartech, a leader in specialty plastics and packaging.

 

Dr. Michelle Personick Conferred Tenure

It is with great pleasure that the Chemistry Department announces the promotion of Dr. Michelle Personick, who was conferred tenure by the Board of Trustees at its most recent meeting. In the summer of 2015, Michelle joined the faculty at Wesleyan University as an assistant professor of chemistry, where her independent research program continues to include an assortment of colorful noble metals. Dr. Personick’s research in inorganic chemistry is focused on developing tailored metal nanoparticles that function as improved catalysts for energy- and resource-efficient chemical synthesis and the clean production of energy. Her goal is to transform the overall energy landscape and offset the driving forces of climate change. She has published numerous peer-reviewed articles and one book chapter, and her work has been supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, Army Research Office, and American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund. Professor Personick offers courses on Principles of Chemistry II, Advanced Inorganic Chemistry, Chemistry of Materials and Nanomaterials, and Nanomaterials Laboratory. Join us in celebrating this momentous achievement!

 

Michelle Personick, Associate Professor of Chemistry

 

Dr. Carla Coste Sánchez Joins the Chemistry Department

 

 

The Chemistry Department is pleased to welcome Dr. Carla Coste Sánchez as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Chemistry. Professor Coste Sánchez holds a Chemistry degree from the University of Puerto Rico and a Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. Her graduate work focused on developing an orally available chelating agent for decorporation of different metals. Afterwards, she completed a year-long postdoc in the Center for Innovative Pharmacy Education (CIPhER) at UNC-CH. Her interests include science education, pharmaceutics, and drug delivery. In her down time, she enjoys hiking, camping, and various crafts like quilting.  The department is delighted to have her join us!

 

 

 

Chemistry Major Elected to Phi Beta Kappa

Fall 2020 elections to Wesleyan’s Gamma Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa have been announced, and it is with great pleasure that we recognize Kate Yuru Luo.

To be elected, a student must first have been nominated by the department of his or her major. The student also must have demonstrated curricular breadth by having met the General

Education Expectations and must have achieved a GPA of 93 or above.

The emblem contains the three Greek letters “Phi,” “Beta,” and “Kappa,” which are the initials of the Greek motto, Philosophia Biou Kybernetes, or “the love of wisdom is the guide of life.”

Kate Yuru Luo, 2021
Chemistry, Neuroscience & Behavior Program

Elected students will be honored at an induction ceremony on zoom, which you are welcome to join on Wednesday, December 2, 2020 at 4:30p.m. https://wesleyan.zoom.us/j/97430798751?pwd=ckQ5anhRTjhtRjRVekhCZytnc3c0UT09

Meeting ID: 974 3079 8751
Passcode: 599665

CHEM 258 Publishes Paper in Journal of Chemical Education

Anastasia Saar, Mikayla Mclaughlin, Rachael Barlow, Jeffrey Goetz, Deji Adediran, and Anisha Gupta have published a paper in J. Chem. Educ. about pivoting the Chem 258 lab to online this past spring.  The title is “Incorporating Literature into an Organic Chemistry Laboratory Class: Translating Lab Activities Online and Encouraging the Development of Writing and Presentation Skills”.  It appears in a special issue of the journal on Insights Gained While Teaching Chemistry in the Time of COVID-19.

 

Abstract

After Wesleyan University moved all classes online because of the global outbreak of SARS-CoV-2, the organic chemistry laboratory course adjusted its curriculum to fit the circumstances. A symposium project with several components was introduced, allowing students to develop their scientific writing, presentation, and critical thinking skills through the assigned quiz, reading questions, discussion forum, article summary, and oral presentation. A paper published in ACS Omega about compounds in garlic essential oil as a potential treatment for SARS-CoV-2 was chosen for literature review; many techniques used in the paper, such as distillation and GC–MS analysis, were familiar to students, and the content was relevant to both the course and current events. Presentations were given through Zoom, and all of the assignments were handed in electronically. This symposium-style project can be easily formatted for in-classroom or online learning and, on the basis of student survey data, was greatly beneficial to helping students improve key skills necessary for upper-level science courses at Wesleyan and beyond.

 

Abstract Image

The full text of the paper can be found at: https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.jchemed.0c00727

Yoana Throssell Receives PhD

Dr. Yoana Throssell successfully defended her PhD thesis, “Asymmetric IFB-Like Reactions of 1,2,3-Triones and Electron-Rich Phenols for the Synthesis of a Tetracyclic Antiviral’ on May 7, 2020. Yoana came to Wesleyan in 2013 after receiving her B.A. in chemistry magna cum laude from Mount Holyoke College and her M.A. in chemistry from Brown University. Yoana worked on the design and development of pharmaceutical formulations at Integral Biosystems, before coming to Wesleyan. Yoana joined Prof. Calter’s lab in 2014 and worked on a number of projects before settling on the development of a novel set of asymmetric carbon-carbon bond forming reactions. She prepared a number of analogs of a novel antiviral compound, effective against picornaviruses. Yoana has moved to Boston to work in the pharmaceutical industry and is planning a trip to Europe to visit family and friends.


Dr. Throssell delivering her Open Defense over Zoom to faculty, friends, and loved ones.

Dr. Throssell’s Open Defense:”Asymmetric IFB-Like Reactions of 1,2,3-Triones and Meta-Substituted Phenols for the Synthesis of a Tetracyclic Antiviral”


Dr. Throssell surrounded by loved ones

 

Conclusions and Future Directions of Research


Dr. Throssell’s Congratulatory Cake

 

 

 

Virtual Commencement 2020

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Wesleyan’s 188th Commencement Ceremony, honoring the graduating Class of 2020, was held through a virtual setting on May 24th.

Ph.D.

Melissa Elizabeth King

Yoana Throssell

 

B.A.

Anik Macy Bernstein

Yin-Tung Grace Chen (with Honors)

Daniel JongHwa Chung (with Honors)

Calvin Robert Coffey

Joshua Pohn Crane

May Do

Alexandra Nicole Goss

Liam Nathan Isaacs

Alexander James Kapphahn

Miranda Lillie Nestor

Dillon James Noone

Josephine Margaret Russ

Anastasia C. Saar (with Honors)

Iman Iqbal Sigman

Rochelle Barrie Spencer

Katherine Hanson Sundberg (with Honors)

Sydney Maya Taylor-Klaus

Aryan K. Vavila

Claire Jing Jing Wang (with Honors)

Sonja Maria Welch

Jaina Wollowitz (with High Honors)

 

Chemistry Majors Perform Virtual Demonstrations for WesFest 2020

The annual WesFest chemistry demonstrations show, (Barely) Controlled Substances, went virtual this year along with the rest of WesFest.  The Science and Art of Chemical Demonstrations student forum, led by Kate Sundberg (’20), and Abrar Habib (’21), made a video version, incorporating footage of classic demonstrations from previous years as well as new ones from students’ kitchens and front porches.  In addition to the leaders, the video features the quarantined, but highly adaptable Aaron Arkin (’21), Joshua Crane (’20), Sophia Marra (’21), Emma Shapiro (’21), Sydney Taylor-Klaus (’20), and Sonja Welch (’20), with a cameo appearance by their faculty sponsor, Prof. Westmoreland.

 

A link to the virtual WesFest Chemistry demonstrations may be found here:

http://videos.wesleyan.edu/futurecardinal/detail/videos/archived-events/video/6149638843001/barely-controlled-substances?autoStart=true