Chemistry Department celebrates student excellence

The chemistry department hosted its annual picnic and award ceremony on Tuesday, May 14, and recognized outstanding achievements and academic excellence.

The Chemistry Department hosted its annual picnic and award ceremony on the McMichael patio on Tuesday, May 14, 2019.

PLU inductees [left to right: Joel Harvey, Tucker Schwieckart, Professor Joel Karty, Margo Greenwald, Nick Ciolkowski, missing: Alexis Betsock]
The celebration began by honoring the graduating chemistry and biochemistry majors who were inducted into the Phi Lambda Upsilon national chemistry honor society with cords to wear at graduation that represent pH colors (pink and blue). Elon’s chapter president Joel Karty was on hand to recognize the scholarly achievement (pictured with several of the inductees).

Department Awards

Senior Achievement awards were bestowed by the department chair, Karl Sienerth, to the graduating chemistry and biochemistry seniors who exemplified the diligence, curiosity, passion and scholarship of their respective majors and who have achieved the highest academic performance. This year’s award recipients were:

Nick Ciolkowski '19 (biochemistry major, Lumen Scholar [Dabrowski lab]): Senior Biochemistry Achievement Award

Annie Yang '19 (chemistry major [Clar lab]): Senior Chemistry Achievement Award

In addition to their award, each received a hand-chosen book from their research mentor that best exemplified their ambitions and provided guidance for their future endeavors after Elon.

Senior award winners [left: Nick Ciolkowski & Assistant Professor Jen Dabrowski; right: Annie Yang & Assistant Professor Justin Clar]
The department also recognized excellence in achievement of underclassman. The 2019 Eugene Gooch Memorial Organic Chemistry Achievement Award, in memory of Elon chemistry professor Eugene Gooch’s passion for organic chemistry, went to Seth McKee '21 ( chemistry major, Honors Fellow, Lumen Fellow [Moore lab]) for his outstanding performance. McKee received a Merck index along with his award, which contains a compilation of important values for the field and an encyclopedia of chemicals, drugs and biologicals.

Chemistry department award winners [left to right: Seth McKee, Melissa Denish, Elizabeth Chapman]
Melissa Denish '22 (biochemistry major) was recognized for excellence in general chemistry and was honored with the CRC General Chemistry Achievement Award. Along with her award Denish received the CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics, a comprehensive reference resource for science research.

In addition, the American Chemical Society Student Affiliate (ACSSA) recognized a student who exemplifies service in myriad forms including as a tutor, lab assistant, holding leadership position(s) in the ACSSA and/or demonstrating a commitment and willingness to contribute to the department as a whole. This year’s ACSSA Award for Service went to Elizabeth Chapman '20 (biochemistry major, Honors Fellow [Matera lab]).

National Awards

National award winners with chair of the chemistry department, Karl Sienerth [Left: Nicholas Ciolkowski; right: Alexander Clinkscales]
Nick Ciolkowski was also the recipient of the American Chemical Society Division of Organic Chemistry Undergraduate Award, a national award to recognize a top graduating senior student majoring in either chemistry or biochemistry who has displayed a significant aptitude for the discipline.

Recipients of the award have demonstrated excellence in organic chemistry based on a combination of research experience, coursework and a desire to pursue a career in chemistry. They receive a letter of recognition from the ACS Division of Organic Chemistry and an award certificate signed by the division chair. Awardees who are members of the ACS also receive membership to the Division of Organic Chemistry. Those who are not will receive Affiliate status.

Alexander Clinkscales '19 (chemistry major [Wright lab]) was the recipient of the American Chemical Society Division of Inorganic Chemistry Undergraduate Award, a national award to recognize achievement by an undergraduate student in inorganic chemistry and to encourage further study in the field.

Recipients of the award have demonstrated excellence in inorganic chemistry at the undergraduate level based on any combination of research, coursework, and/or motivation/interest/dedication, with future plans that include a career in chemistry. The recipients receive an award certificate from the Division and a letter of commendation from the Division Chair.