Chemistry Department celebrates student excellence

The chemistry department hosted its annual picnic and award ceremony on Monday May 11, and recognized outstanding achievements and academic excellence.

The Chemistry Department hosted its annual picnic and award ceremony virtually for the first time on Monday May 11, 2020. A slideshow compiled by the faculty, highlighting seniors and fond memories of their experiences in McMichael, greeted the 51 attendees.

Department Awards

Senior Achievement awards were bestowed by the mentors of 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:

Avery Hatch (biochemistry major, Lumen Scholar [Clar lab]): Senior Biochemistry Achievement Award

Annaliese McFarlane (chemistry major [Sienerth 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.

The department also recognized excellence in achievement of underclassman. Professor of Chemistry Karty announced that the 2020 Eugene Gooch Memorial Organic Chemistry Achievement Award, in memory of Elon chemistry professor Eugene Gooch’s passion for organic chemistry, went to Liora Wittle ’22 (biochemistry major, Elon College Fellow [Moore lab]) for her outstanding performance. Liora will receive a Merck index along with her award, which contains a compilation of important values for the field and an encyclopedia of chemicals, drugs and biologicals.

Anna Altmann ’22 (chemistry major, Honors Fellow) was recognized for excellence in general chemistry and was honored by Dr. Dan Wright with a virtual unveiling of a certificate for the CRC General Chemistry Achievement Award. Once back on-campus, Altmann will receive 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 was bestowed by Paul Weller and went to Jordan DeVries ’20 (psychology major, Elon College & Lumen Fellow [Fleming lab]) for her tireless four years of work in the chemistry stockroom.

National Awards

Professor of Chemistry Kathy Matera revealed that Olivia Duffield ’20 (biochemistry major [Miyamoto lab]) was 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. The student nominee will have demonstrated excellence in organic chemistry based on a combination of research experience, coursework and a desire to pursue a career in chemistry. The student nominee will 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 will also receive membership to the Division of Organic Chemistry; those who are not will receive Affiliate status.

Assistant Professor of Chemistry Jen Dabrowski revealed that Sara Spicker ’20 (biochemistry major [Dabrowski 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. The student nominee will have demonstrated excellence in inorganic chemistry at the undergraduate level based on any combination of research, coursework, and /or motivation / interest / dedication and should have future plans that include a career in chemistry. The undergraduate student that you have nominated will receive an award certificate from the Division and a letter of commendation from the Division Chair.

The formal celebration ended 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 of the senior inductees: Erin Armstrong, Olivia Duffield, Joey Paturzo, Grayson Clark, Colin Deutsch, Annaliese McFarlane, Cailee Mehta, Chris Adamik, Sara Spicker, John Post, Bailey Gilmore and Avery Hatch.

Professor of Chemistry Joel Karty in 2019 with several Phi Lambda Upsilon inductees, including many graduating seniors (picture taken in September 2019 prior to coronavirus)

Congratulations to the Class of 2020!