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Allara 80th Birthday Symposium

On October 13, 2017, the Department of Chemistry and Materials Research Institute hosted a technical symposium on surface science and dinner reception to celebrate the 80th birthday of David L. Allara, Distinguished Professor Emeritus. Speakers at the symposium included Ralph Nuzzo (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign), George Whitesides (Harvard University), Paul Weiss (University of California Los Angeles), and Nick Winograd (Pennsylvania State University).

Allcock 50th Anniversary Celebration

On May 13th and 14th 2017 the Chemistry Department and College of Science celebrated the 50th year of Harry Allcock's pioneering research program on polyphosphazenes at Penn State with a lunch, symposium, and dinner for alumni and faculty. It was also a celebration of the 180 graduate students and postdoctorals and numerous undergraduates who have contributed to his program, many of whom attended the event.

Allcock 50th Anniversary Celebration

First Ever Chemistry Walk For United Way!

First Ever Chemistry Walk For United Way!

 

Thank you to everyone that sponsored walkers or participated in our first ever Chemistry - Walk for United Way! We raised $485 that will go to support our community. Learn more about the mission and impact of Centre County United Way here: http://www.ccunitedway.org/

Walkers:

Back Row (L-R): Russ Saieva, Rick Rettig, Mike Joyce, David Mitchell, Edward Crishock, Erica Frankel, Jamie Bingaman, Kyle Messina, Drew Veenis, Teresa Tian, Lars Breuer, Barbara Garrison

Front Row (L-R): Amber Schoenauer, Rachel Rettig, Stacy Englert, Jen Knecht, Rachel Gutierrez, Mitzi Ellis, Liz Jolley, Susan Schroeder, Phil Bevilacqua

Benkovic to receive the Honorary Alumni Award

Benkovic to receive the Honorary Alumni Award

Stephen Benkovic, Evan Pugh University Professor of Chemistry and Eberly Chair in Chemistry, is one of five faculty and staff members at Penn State who will be recognized by the Penn State Alumni Association with the Honorary Alumni Award on June 2nd.

Read the full story:

http://news.psu.edu/story/467925/2017/05/10/academics/five-penn-staters-receive-honorary-alumni-award?utm_source=newswire&utm_medium=email&utm_term=468308_HTML&utm_content=05-15-2017-22-25&utm_campaign=Penn%20State%20Today

2017 Peter Craig Breen Memorial Award

Edward Badding (Chemistry Undergraduate Class of 2017) was the recipient of the Peter Craig Breen Memorial Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Chemistry Research. The award was presented at the Chemistry Graduation Reception on May 6th. Edward will attend graduate school in the fall at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The award was established in 2015, in honor and memory of Peter Craig Breen, who was a chemistry major at Penn State from 2010 through 2014.  Peter was a gifted student who excelled in high school and was selected as a National Merit finalist. Peter chose during his senior year to attend Penn State. Peter enrolled at Penn State in 2010 as a Braddock Scholar and a Schreyer’s Scholar in The Eberly College of Science with a major in chemistry. Peter had planned to continue pursuing his passion for research in bioinformatics, and was accepted into three Ph.D. programs before his passing in 2014. Penn State conferred a B.S. degree in Chemistry with honors posthumously to his family in May 2014.

Peter’s friends and family felt that it would be fitting to establish a research award in his name so that his passion for scientific discovery would continue on after him. The award is intended to honor undergraduate students who are dedicated to excellence in research and who are driven by a spirit similar to Peter’s.

(Left to right: Scott Breen, Kevin Breen, Renee Breen, Edward Badding, and Squire Booker)

Kate Lebold Receives 2017 Phase-I Software Fellowship from the Molecular Sciences Software Institute

Kate Lebold Receives 2017 Phase-I Software Fellowship from the Molecular Sciences Software Institute

Congratulations to Kate Lebold, a Ph.D. student in the Noid group, who has been chosen as one of ten winners nationwide of a 2017 Phase-I Software Fellowship from the Molecular Sciences Software Institute.

http://molssi.org/2017-phase-i-molssi-software-fellows/


Congratulations Spring 2017 Graduates

The Department of Chemistry would like to recognize our Spring 2017 graduates from the chemistry undergrad program. Best of luck to our students as they embark on exciting careers in industry or continue their educational pursuits in graduate school. Below are the names of our grads and some of their future plans:

Yaqeen Al Hussain
Lauren Alden (Physician Assistant program at Arcadia University)
Ananya Anmangandla
Edward Badding (Graduate school at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
Sarah Bevilacqua (Graduate school at the California Institute of Technology)
Brittany Boucher
Jaeyoon Choi
Rachael Cohn (Graduate school at Cornell University)
Tanya Daher (The Dow Chemical Company)
Martin Debraine
Stephen Finnell
Benjamin Fowler
Aigerim Galyamova
Jared Gangloff
Angela Gettemy
Lixing He
Kelly Herald
Alyxandra Kulp
Olivia Kuzio (Graduate school at the Rochester Institute of Technology)
Julie Lester
Sung Lim
Emily Luteran (Graduate school at University of Maryland)
Ailiena Maggiolo (Graduate school at the California Institute of Technology)
Carleigh McGurk (Graduate school at Penn State for Masters of Education)
Shea Meyer (Graduate school at Syracuse University)
Kun Miao (Graduate school at the California Institute of Technology)
Shea Myers
Jonathan Neiman
Matthew Orndorf
Joseph Puthenpurayil (Graduate school at Texas A&M)
Rachel Putnik (Graduate school at Penn State in the Dept of Curriculum and Instruction in the College of Education)
Keith Schival (Graduate school at University of Notre Dame)
Matthew Schweitzer (Naval Nuclear Power School)
Dan Seith
Taylor Soucy (Graduate school for Materials Science at University of Michigan)
Steven Spirk
Trang Vu (Graduate school at University of Cincinnati)
Kirt Walters
Tianwei Wang
Taylor Wertz
Adam Weyandt (Pace Analytical Services)
Danielle Woitas

Squire Booker elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Squire Booker elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Squire J. Booker, professor of chemistry and of biochemistry and molecular biology at Penn State and investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, has been elected as a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Jonathan Eaton, distinguished professor of economics, was also elected from Penn State.

The American Academy, one of the nation’s oldest honorary societies, is an independent policy research center with members from a wide range of disciplines. Members contribute to academy publications and studies of science and technology policy; global security and international affairs; the humanities, arts and education; and American institutions and the public good.

Booker’s main research interests include deciphering the molecular details by which enzymes — a special class of proteins — catalyze reactions in the cell. He then uses the insight gained to manipulate these reactions for various objectives, ranging from the production of biofuels to the development of antibacterial agents. His laboratory garnered international attention for elucidating a pathway by which disease-causing bacteria such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus evade entire classes of commonly used antibiotics. These results were published in three papers in the journal Science, a paper in Nature Chemical Biology, and two papers in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. He is particularly well known for his research on enzymes employing extremely reactive molecules, known as free radicals, to catalyze their reactions.

In 2016, Booker received the Penn State Faculty Scholar Medal, which recognizes scholarly or creative excellence through contributions around a coherent theme. In 2015, he was named an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, a science philanthropy organization dedicated to advancing biomedical research and science education for the benefit of humanity. In 2014, Booker was named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world's largest general scientific society and the publisher of the journal Science. In 2011, he was honored with an Arthur C. Cope Scholar Award by the American Chemical Society. The award, which consists of a monetary prize and an unrestricted research grant is given "to recognize and encourage excellence in organic chemistry."

In 2004, Booker was recognized as one of 57 of the country's most promising scientists and engineers by President George W. Bush with the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. He received the award at the White House in recognition of his research on enzyme reactions, including his work on an enzyme involved in the synthesis of unusual fatty acids that are needed by the bacteria responsible for most cases of tuberculosis. In 2002, he received a National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award, the agency's most prestigious award for new faculty members.

Booker has mentored 17 graduate students, over 40 undergraduate students, 15 postdoctoral associates and research scientists, and two high-school students. He is known for encouraging students in underrepresented groups to consider science-based careers. Booker has published over 80 scientific papers in journals such as Science, the Journal of the American Chemical Society, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and he has served as guest editor for Current Opinion in Chemical Biology, Biochimica Biophysica Acta, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

He is past-chair of the Minority Affairs Committee of the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and was co-organizer of the society's 2016 annual meeting. He has delivered well over 100 lectures at universities and international meetings on his research, including several keynote lectures, such as the Lloyd N. Ferguson Distinguished Lectures at California State University, Los Angeles; the inaugural Diversity in Chemistry Initiative Lecture at the California Institute of Technology; the Scott Lecture at the University of Florida; the inaugural Diversity Lectures at Duke University; the Everson Lecture at the University of Wisconsin; and the TY Shen Lectures at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Booker earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry at Austin College in 1987, where he was a Minnie Stevens Piper Scholar, and a doctoral degree in biochemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1994. That same year he was awarded a National Science Foundation–NATO Fellowship for postdoctoral studies at Université Rene Décartes in Paris, France. Later, in 1996, he was awarded a National Institutes of Health Postdoctoral Fellowship for studies at the Institute for Enzyme Research at the University of Wisconsin. He joined the Penn State faculty in 1999.

The new class will be inducted at a ceremony on Oct. 7 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

http://news.psu.edu/story/462824/2017/04/14/academics/squire-booker-elected-american-academy-arts-and-sciences?utm_source=newswire&utm_medium=email&utm_term=463481_HTML&utm_content=04-18-2017-21-44&utm_campaign=Penn%20State%20Today

Christine Keating Receives 2017 Faculty Scholar Medal

Christine Keating Receives 2017 Faculty Scholar Medal

Christine Keating has been awarded the 2017 Faculty Scholar Medal in Life and Health Sciences. Established in 1980, the award recognizes scholarly or creative excellence represented by a single contribution or a series of contributions around a coherent theme. A committee of peers reviews nominations and selects candidates.

As posted on Penn State News:

Through her research, Keating has shown how the fundamental molecules of life (proteins, nucleic acids, membranes, etc.) can spontaneously organize into enclosures with many of the properties of living cells. To build on this discovery, Keating shows how these cell mimics can undergo the equivalent of cell division. Keatings cell mimic work was also used to show that subcellular compartmentalization increases catalysis by an RNA enzyme and that phosphorylation of peptides bound to RNA can regulate the formation of non-membrane bound compartments within cells.

These discoveries increase our understanding of how a cell is organized and how processes critical for life depend on subcellular compartmentalization.

“This research on nonliving cell mimics provides new insight into the physical principles that determine the biological functions of living cells, and into one of the most outstanding questions of all science, which is how life began,” said a nominator and colleague.

Fundamental insights from Keating’s research on artificial cells are defining the possible ways in which the earliest cells (so-called “protocells”) could have emerged to replicate genetic materials and the cells themselves. These breakthroughs have led her to attain funding from NASA and her research group is building on protocell development and maintenance of biological functions.

Nominators describe Keating as “a stellar chemist with unparalleled expertise” who is blazing new trails with “new and exciting dimensions of chemistry.”

Past winners of the Faculty Scholar Medal from the Department of Chemistry include Squire Booker (2016), Mauricio Terrones (2016), John Badding (2015), Ray Schaak (2012), Phil Bevilacqua (2010), Marty Bollinger (2009), Ayusman Sen (2003), Xumu Zhang (2001), Wolfgang Ernst (1998), Andrew Ewing (1994), James Anderson (1992), Barbara Garrison (1990), and Nicholas Winograd (1985).

Ed O'Brien Selected for 2016 Priestly Teaching Prize

Ed O'Brien Selected for 2016 Priestly Teaching Prize

Congratulations to Ed O'Brien, the recipient of the 2016 Priestly Teaching Prize for his outstanding teaching accomplishments. The Priestley Prize is awarded annually to a faculty member in the Chemistry Department at University Park for excellence in undergraduate chemistry instruction as measured by the increase in learning and enthusiasm for the subject.

http://chem.psu.edu/undergrad/priestley-teaching-prize

Chemistry Graduate Students Named NSF Graduate Fellows

Chemistry Graduate Students Named NSF Graduate Fellows

Chemistry graduate students Joseph Dawson, Jennifer Miller, and Kyle Munson have been named National Science Foundation Graduate Fellows. Honorable mentions were received by Kyra Murrell and Alyssa Rosas. Congratulations to all five students for their outstanding achievements.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) is the country’s oldest fellowship program that directly supports graduate students in various STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields. Since 1952, NSF has funded over 50,000 Graduate Research Fellowships out of more than 500,000 applicants.  Currently, 42 Fellows have gone on to become Nobel laureates, and more than 450 have become members of the National Academy of Sciences.  In addition, the Graduate Research Fellowship Program has a high rate of doctorate degree completion, with more than 70 percent of students completing their doctorates within 11 years.

www.nsfgrfp.org

Julie Fenton selected to participate in 67th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting

Julie Fenton selected to participate in 67th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting

Congratulations to chemistry graduate student Julie Fenton for being selected to participate in the 67th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting at Lake Constance in Germany. Full article on ECOS' website:

http://science.psu.edu/news-and-events/2017-news/penn-state-student-julie-fenton-selected-to-meet-with-nobel-laureates

Harry Allcock to receive international polymer award.

Harry Allcock to receive international polymer award.

Harry Allcock has been chosen to receive the 2017 International Award from the Polymer Society of Japan.  He will present a lecture and receive the award at a ceremony to be held near Tokyo in May.

Lasse Jensen Wins ACS 2017 Early-Career Award

Lasse Jensen Wins ACS 2017 Early-Career Award

Congratulations to Lasse Jensen, the recipient of the 2017 Early-Career Award in Theoretical Chemistry from The American Chemical Society. The Physical Chemistry Division of ACS annually sponsors senior and early-career awards in theoretical and experimental physical chemistry that are intended to recognize the most outstanding scientific achievements of members of the Division. This award recognizes Lasse's outstanding work on the development of quantum mechanical models for understanding surface-enhanced Raman scattering. The 2017 recipients will be honored at the the Fall ACS National Meeting in Washington, D.C.

http://phys-acs.org/awards/2017.html

Stephen Aro Awarded ASSL Student Outstanding Oral Prize

Stephen Aro Awarded ASSL Student Outstanding Oral Prize

The Advanced Solid State Lasers Conference held a student presentation award contest and Stephen Aro was selected to receive an award for his oral presentation, Cr 2+:ZnSe Fiber Lasers.

The Advanced Solid State Lasers Conference (ASSL) highlights new sources, advanced technologies, components and system design to improve the operation and application of solid state lasers. It covers the spectrum of solid state lasers from materials research to applied science and design innovations. This international meeting is highly selective in reviewing paper submissions for oral presentation and uses a single track format to ensure all attendees have the opportunity to listen to all talks.

Sheryl Dykstra Receives C.I. Noll Award for Excellence in Teaching

Sheryl Dykstra Receives C.I. Noll Award for Excellence in Teaching

The C. I. Noll Award is sponsored by the Eberly College of Science Alumni Society, and is presented annually to an outstanding faculty member within the college. The award is designed to recognize a faculty member who has taken a special interest in students, and who, through their interactions, has had a positive impact on them. Sheryl has been teaching our mainstream organic chemistry lab course for many years now as well as teaching CHEM 112 & CHEM 202. The selection committee for the award consists of students from the Science LionPRIDE and Sheryl's selection reflects the outstanding work she has been doing in these courses and in advising undergraduates from many different disciplines. Congratulations to Sheryl for this well-deserved honor.

2015-2016 Chemistry Graduate Student Teaching Awards

Valerie Alstadt, Patrick Corrigan, Chad Drexler, Julie Fenton, James Gumkowski, He Liu, Kyle Munson, and Pedro Rivera Pomales are this year's recipients of the Chemistry Graduate Student Teaching Awards.

Previously this award was collectively known as the Dan H. Waugh Memorial Teaching Award established by the family and friends of Dan Waugh, a former chemistry graduate student at Penn State. The larger, collective title, which continues to include the Waugh Award, now utilizes various endowments to make these awards possible.

The Awards Committee also recognized Esther Chong and Jingjing Shi this year’s recipients of the Chemistry Graduate Student Teaching Awards, Honorable Mention.

These awards are presented annually to chemistry graduate students who have demonstrated superior dedication and ability in fulfilling their instructional responsibilities as reflected in both faculty and student evaluations. Congratulation to these graduate students for their outstanding work.

Professor Bevilacqua's classroom methods featured on psu.edu

Professor Bevilacqua's classroom methods featured on psu.edu

Professor Philip Bevilacqua is the focus of a featured story on psu.edu. Bevilacqua strives to engage his honors chemistry students through various means, including an approach he describes as a "partially flipped" classroom. Read story.

Phil Stemple wins the George Gilbert Pond Award for Excellence in Support of Undergraduate Education

Phil Stemple wins the George Gilbert Pond Award for Excellence in Support of Undergraduate Education

Phil Stemple has been selected to receive this year's George Gilbert Pond Award for Excellence in Support of Undergraduate Education.  Phil will receive the award at the November 30 holiday awards reception.

Phil has been with the department for ten years as our lecture prep specialist.  In addition to providing demonstration support for our large lecture courses and for special outreach events, Phil has put a huge amount of creativity, time, and energy into developing new demonstrations, improving existing ones, and training faculty and TA's to carry out demonstrations effectively and safely.  Phil's efforts have provided the secret sauce that not only helps make our lecture classes informative and fun, but also promotes a climate of excellence in instruction in our department. Thank you Phil for all that you do for Chemistry at Penn State!

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