2020 Annual Chemistry Department Awards

Awards – ACS Younger Chemists Committee

The Chemistry Department is proud to announce the recipients of the 2020 Annual Chemistry Department Awards:

ACS Analytical Award: Rochelle Spencer
Awarded for excellence in analytical chemistry
ACS Award in Inorganic Chemistry: Jing Jing Wang 
To recognize achievement in inorganic chemistry and to encourage further study in the field
ACS Award in Organic Chemistry: Jaina Wollowtiz
To a student who has displayed a significant aptitude for organic chemistry
ACS Award in Physical Chemistry: Iman Sigman 
To recognize achievement in physical chemistry and to encourage further study in the field
ACS Connecticut Valley Section Award: Sydney Taylor-Klaus
For outstanding achievement by a graduating chemistry major
American Institute for Chemists Award: Anastasia Saar
For outstanding achievement by a graduating chemistry major
Bradley Prize: Grace Chen 
To the senior or junior who excels in chemistry and particularly in special original work
Silverman Prize: Allie Goss
Awarded to a member of the junior or senior class for excellence in chemistry
CRC Award (General Chemistry): Edrea Jiang 
For the outstanding first-year student in Principles of Chemistry
CRC Award (Organic Chemistry): Michael O’Sullivan 
For the outstanding first-year student in Organic Chemistry
Hawk Prize: Kate Sundberg
To the students who have done the most effective work in biochemistry
Martius Yellow Award: Sophia Marra
Awarded for excellence in Integrated Chemistry Laboratory
The Wallace C. Pringle Prize for Research in Chemistry: Jaina Wollowitz 
Awarded to a student for excellence in research.
Peterson Fellowship: Angelika Rafalowski 
For graduate study in biochemistry
Tishler Prize: Bakar Hassan 
Awarded to the best graduate teaching assistant in chemistry

Chemistry Majors Elected to Phi Beta Kappa

The spring Phi Beta Kappa electees have been announced and include two chemistry majors, Yin-Tung (Grace) Chen and Jaina Wollowitz.


Yin-Tung (Grace) Chen, 2020


Jaina Wollowitz, 2020

They join Tristan Ang Tze Heng who was elected last fall.  See the complete story at: http://newsletter.blogs.wesleyan.edu/2020/04/13/79-seniors-from-the-class-of-2020-elected-to-phi-beta-kappa/?utm_source=&utm_medium=EMLET&utm_campaign=The+Wesleyan+Connection+April+15+and+18(2045087

Diverse Magazine Honors Prof. Erika Taylor

Associate Professor Erika Taylor has been named one of the “Top 35 Women in Higher Education” by Diverse magazine.  This honor recognizes women who have made significant contributions to the cause of diversity in higher education and beyond.

“Taylor, associate professor of chemistry, environmental studies and integrative sciences, joined the Wesleyan faculty in 2007. She holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry with honors from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign and was a postdoctoral research associate at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Throughout her career, Taylor has worked at the interface of chemistry and biology. She strives to find ways to exploit enzymes found in nature to perform reactions that can help advance the fields of chemistry and medicine. Her research group has included over 75 students to date, spanning high schoolers to Ph.D. students, with women and other underrepresented students comprising more than three-quarters of her lab members. In addition to her research, she has been a passionate advocate for diversity, lending time and energy to provide opportunities in science for female, minority and low-income students. Taylor was awarded the Binswanger Prize for Excellence in Teaching for her passion and dedication to supporting the academic and personal development of all of her students. Her track record of mentoring diverse students culminated in being named Wesleyan University’s McNair Program faculty director in 2018. Beyond Wesleyan, she founded and continues to run a Girls in Science camp for elementary through middle school aged girls, which highlights the diversity of women that exists in science and raises funds to enable nearly half of the students to participate tuition free.”

See the full story at http://newsletter.blogs.wesleyan.edu/2020/04/05/taylor-named-a-top-35-women-in-higher-education-by-diverse/ and the full list of this years’ honorees at https://diverseeducation.com/2020-Top-35-Women-in-Higher-Education/#/ .

 

Chemistry Department Donates Personal Protective Equipment to Local Health Organizations

With the suspension of research projects in Hall-Atwater, Facilities Manager Camille Keeler has collected unused personal protective equipment (PPE) and sent it where it’s needed most.  The supplies have included disposable gloves, disposable lab coats, and a variety of masks.  “We would normally use most of this over the course of a semester, but with few students and researchers in the building, we decided to send what we could to Middlesex Hospital and Middletown Health Department to distribute,” Keeler said. In doing so, the Chemistry Department joins the many local businesses and philanthropic organizations who have already collected and donated personal protective equipment across the state.

 

For more information on how to donate, please visit the CT State Coronavirus website at: https://portal.ct.gov/Coronavirus/Pages/Request-for-Personal-Protective-Equipment.

Chemistry Department Holiday Party 2019

At the culmination of each Fall semester, the Chemistry Department hosts an annual Holiday Party to commemorate the hard work of students, faculty, and staff.  It is always a highlight of the Holiday Season and a welcomed respite from the stress of exams and papers. Largely organized by graduate students within the Chemistry Department, the Holiday Party featured a wide array of pot-luck food items, as well as departmental trivia. A special thanks goes out to Andrea Lee who directed the flawless execution of the event.

Chemistry Department Holiday Beaker Tree and Menorah

Pictured left to right: Jaina Wollowitz, Kate Sundberg, Sonja Welch, Bobby Bourque, Alyssa Cortes, Lucas Mani, Iman Sigman, Daniela Estrada, Cali Clark, and Sydney Taylor-Klauss

Pictured left to right: Angelika Rafalowski, Jozafina Milicaj, Sue Stevens, and Sean McDarby


Andrea Lee

 

Pictured left to right: Dr. Anthony Davis, Joshua Dudley, and Camille Keeler

Pictured left to right:  Bakar Hassan, Dr. Melissa King, Dr. Anthony Davis, and Joshua Dudley

Pictured left to right: Bobby Bourque, Alyssa Cortes, and Lucas Mani


Pictured left to right: Cali Clark, Sydney Taylor-Klauss, and Hannah Xu


Dr. Michael Calter

Pictured left to right: Joshua Dudley and Camille Keeler

Pictured left to right: William Selleck and Jessica Cuneo

Pictured left to right: Kat Blejec and Mikayla McLaughlin

Chemistry Mug – Trivia Prize

Pictured left to right: Tenzin Ngodup, Jing Jing Wang, and Grace Chen

Pictured left to right: Terry Emmons, Aracely Suto, and William Selleck

Melissa King Receives PhD

Melissa King recently defended her Ph.D. dissertation and will be receiving her degree at commencement this May. Melissa joined the Department of Chemistry at Wesleyan in 2014 after having received her B.S. in chemistry from Central Connecticut State University. At CCSU Melissa worked on the synthesis of chiral diols for the separation of racemic mixtures with Dr. Neil Glagovich. Upon coming to Wesleyan, Melissa joined the lab of Prof. Michelle Personick where she changed her research focus from the total synthesis of small organic molecules to the synthesis of inorganic nanocatalysts. Melissa has spent her time at Wesleyan studying the mechanisms of shape control in the growth of bimetallic nanoparticles and their subsequent relevance as catalytic materials. After graduating, Melissa will be joining the lab of Prof. Michael Ross in the Chemistry Department at the University of Massachusetts Lowell where she will apply her experimental expertise and strong fundamental understanding of tailorable nanomaterials to the study and development of sustainable photocatalytic materials.

 


Dr. Melissa King delivers her Open Ph.D. Defense to faculty, friends, and family


Pictured left to right: Dr. Joy Cote, Dr. Melissa King & her children, and Dr. Dan Obenchain


Dr. Melissa King


Dr. King’s Periodic Table Cake


Terry Emmons and Dr. Andrea Roberts


Pictured left to right: Sean McDarby, Joshua Signore, Jozafina Milicaj, Bakar Hassan, and Jeffrey Keyes


Pictured left to right: Dr. Michelle Personick, Dr. Dan Obenchain, Yoanna Throssell, Vasileios Drogkaris, and Dr. Anthony Davis

Free Radicals Tie Dye Event

On October 26th, the Free Radicals held their annual Tie-Dye Lab Coat event, where the Chemistry majors gathered outside of Hall-Atwater on a beautiful Saturday afternoon to dye their own lab coats. The day was organized by the Free Radical officers, California Clark and Jing Jing Wang with assistance from Professor Andrea Roberts. Around twenty Free Rads enjoyed Thai food and decorated their new lab coats, t-shirts, socks, and even a banner, courtesy of the Chemistry department. The group also gifted colorful bandanas for Professor Roberts and our administrative staff members, Terry Emmons and Will Selleck. Check out the photos of the event below!


Pictured left to right, top to bottom: Bryan Guarin (’21), California Clark (’21), Kate Luo (’21), Joshua Crane (’21), Timothy Yen (’21), Abrar Habib (’21), Annika Velez (’22), Emma Shapiro (’21), Jing Jing Wang (’20), Jaina Wollowitz (’20), Sydney Taylor-Klaus (’20), and Josie Russ (’20)


Pictured left to right: Sophia Marra (’21), Aaron Arkin (’21), and Emma Shapiro (’21)


Pictured left to right: Kimberley Lopez (’21), Kate Luo (’21), Jaina Wollowitz (’20), California Clark (’21), Emma Shapiro (’21), and Aaron Arkin (’21)


Aaron Arkin (’21)


Annika Velez (’22)


Pictured left to right: Jing Jing Wang (’20), Abrar Habib (’21), and Sophia Marra (’21)


Jaina Wollowitz (’20) and Emma Shapiro (’21)


Jessica Garcia (Graduate Student)


Pictured left to right: Lucas Mani (Graduate Student), Jessica Garcia (Graduate Student), and Bryan Guarin (’21)


Pictured left to right: Annika Velez (’22), Lucas Mani (Graduate Student), and Jessica Garcia (Graduate Student)


Jing Jing Wang (’20) and Abrar Habib (’21)


Professor Andrea Roberts


Pictured left to right: Sophia Marra (’21), Emma Shapiro (’21), and Aaron Arkin (’21)


Pictured left to right: Jing Jing Wang (’20), Bryan Guarin (’21), California Clark (’21), Kate Luo (’21), Jaina Wollowitz (’20), Timothy Yen (’21), Joshua Crane (’21), Abrar Habib (’21), Annika Velez (’22), Sydney Taylor-Klaus (’20), Josie Russ (’20), and Emma Shapiro (’21)


Pictured left to right: Emma Shapiro (’21), Jing Jing Wang (’20), Bryan Guarin (’21), California Clark (’21), Kate Luo (’21), Timothy Yen (’21), Joshua Crane (’21), Abrar Habib (’21), Annika Velez (’22), Sydney Taylor-Klaus (’20), and Josie Russ (’20)


Pictured left to right: Timothy Yen (’21), California Clark (’21), Kate Sundberg (’20), and Jing Jing Wang (’20)


Pictured left to right: Timothy Yen (’21), California Clark (’21), Kate Sundberg (’20), and Jing Jing Wang (’20)


Pictured left to right: Timothy Yen (’21), California Clark (’21), Kate Sundberg (’20), and Jing Jing Wang (’20)


Timothy Yen (’21)


Timothy Yen (’21)


Timothy Yen (’21)

Free Radicals Trip to Lyman Orchards

On Saturday, October 12th, the Free Radicals and chemistry graduate students traveled to Lyman Orchards for an afternoon of apple picking–a first-time adventure for several of the students. After filling their stomachs and bags with apples, Professor Andrea Roberts and the students had a tasty lunch and shopped for delicious cider, cider donuts, and Lyman cheese spread.

Pictured left to right: Andrea Lee, Annika Velez, California Clark, Sydney Taylor-Klaus, Jing Jing Wang, Professor Andrea Roberts, and Jessica Garcia.

Jessica Garcia

Pictured left to right: Jing Jing Wang, Andrea Lee, California Clark, Jessica Garcia, Jasmine Jason, Sydney Taylor-Klaus, and Annika Velez.

Sydney Talor-Klaus

Andrea Lee and Jessica Garcia

Pictured left to right: Jasmine Jason, Andrea Lee, Jing Jing Wang, Annika Velez, Jessica Garcia, California Clark, and Sydney Taylor-Klaus.

Andrea Lee and Jessica Garcia

Pictured left to right: Andrea Lee, Annika Velez, California Clark, Sydney Taylor-Klaus, Jing Jing Wang, Jasmine Jason, and Jessica Garcia

 

Chemistry Students Present at the Research and Science Poster Session 2019

The undergraduate summer research fellows presented posters on their accomplishments on July 25, 2019. Twenty-four of the presentations were on work done in the Chemistry Department, representing 8 different groups. For more on the event, visit News@Wesleyan. A list of the chemistry presenters is below the photographs.

 


Sydney Taylor-Klaus ’20, O’Neil Group


Leila Etemad, ’20, Personick Group


Sally Landon Tepper, ’22, Northrop Group


Amy Liu, ’20, Taylor Group

Anastasia Saar “Allosteric Regulation in the MutS Protein”
Miranda Nestor “MD Simulations of CAP to Detect Allostery without a Conformational Change”
California Clark “Natural Product Analogue Synthesis to Fight Caner”
May Do “Synthesis of Analogs of Rocaglamide via the IFB Reaction”
Alexandra Goss “Synthesis of Nigrospine”
Aryan Vavila “Investigating the Electrical Properties of Zigzag and Armchair Cyclacenes”
Sally Tepper “Study of Methyl Propiolate in Thiol-Michael ‘Click’ Reactions”
Jaina Wollowitz “A Computational Investigation of the Mechanisms of Thiol-Vinylsulfone Reaction Initiators”
Christopher Falls “The Rotational Spectra of Phenylsulfur Pentaflouride”
Valerie Balog “iPSC-derived Astrocyte and Motor Neuron Co-Culture in a Lentiviral Expression Model of SODI-A4V Amyotrphic Lateral Sclerosis”
Camille Chossis “Cell Non-Autonomous Effect of GLIA on Neurodegeneration in C9ORF72 Dependent Frontotemporal Dementia and Amytrophic Lateral Sclerosis”
Matthew Huston “Inhibition of Specific Cancer Cell Lines Using Rocaglamide Derivatives”
Daniel Kulick “Motor Neuron Specific Sensitivity to Organochlorine Pesticides”
Sydney Taylor-Klaus “Biochemical Analysis of Superoxie Dismutase I”
Leila Etemad “Generating Bimetallic Silver-Platinum Nanoprisms and Methods to Interconvert Between Nanoprisms and Bipyramids”
Abrar Habib “Plasmonic Approach to Synthesizing Bimetallic Nanoparticles as Functional Catalysts”
Claire (Jing Jin) Wang “Optimization of Palladium Nanoparticle Syntheses for the Underpotential Deposition of Silver”
Nafisa Masud “Elucidating Protein Dynamics with the Kinetic Ensemble Approach”
Nicholas Wells “Molecular Dynamics Simulations of ALS-Causing Superoxide Dismutase I Mutations”
Brynn Assignon “Creating Chimeric Proteins Using a Domain Swapping Mechanism”
Colleen Castro “Using Molecular Docking Techniques to Find an Inhibator of Heptosyltransferase I in E. coli
Amy (Zhiqi) Liu “Investigation of Kinetics and Protein Dynamics of Escherichia coli Heptosyltransferases II”
Kate Luo “Investigating the Mechanism of LigAB Catalyzed Lignin Degradation”
Kate Sundberg “The Synthesis of a Probe for Lignin Depolymerization Detection”

 

Commencement Spring 2019


Some of our happy and attractive 2019 graduates. From left to right: Prachiti Bhatawdekar, PhD; Theo Prachyathipsakul, BA; Alison Biester, BA; Fiona Grishaw-Jones, BA; Sojeong Park (BA ’18), MA; Chien Ho, BA; David Cabanero, BA; Jessica Garcia, BA; Vanessa Ramirez, BA.

Sojeong Park receives her diploma from President Roth.

Thirty-three Chemistry degrees were awarded on May 26 at the 187th Commencement. The department proudly acknowledges the accomplishments of its new alumni/alumnae and offer them our congratulations.

Ph.D. recipients:
Prachiti Bhatawdekar
Tsagan Ednyasheva

M.A. recipients:
Cody Hecht
Zachary Hillman
Will Orellana
Sojeong Park
Ivy Poon
Giselle Reyes
Cara Savino

B.A. recipients:
Jaquelin Aroujo (with Honors)
Alison Biester (with High Honors)
Liana Borges-Sotero
David Cabanero (with High Honors)
Leticia Costa (with High Honors)
Mallory Dubus
Shelly Duong
Matthew Erodici (with High Honors)
Jessica Garcia
Fiona Grishaw-Jones
Adis Halilovic
Chien Ho
Eija Kent (with Honors)
Zain Khanna
Mitchell Klein
Lucas Mani
Jana O’Donnell
Theo Prachyathipsakul (with Honors)
Chloe Qiu
Vanessa Ramirez
Joshua Signore (with Honors)
Alexa Strauss
Frank Tucci
Victoria Yu