Chemistry Research Presented at National ACS Meeting
Ten undergraduate scholarship winners and five faculty members from the Fairfield University Chemistry and Biochemistry Department took their laboratory research from the Bannow Science Center to the national stage during the 252nd American Chemical Society (ACS) National Meeting and Exposition in Philadelphia, PA, last month.
Jesse Dickovick ’16, Matthew Rotondaro ’16, Sheila Bonitatibus ’17, Chase Foster-Spence ’17, Nina Kosciuszek ’17, Ruben Neves ’17, Tyler Ostrowski ’17, Samantha Schrecke ’17, Michael Smith ’17, and Samantha Brown ’19 were granted the unique opportunity to present their classroom research on catalysts, proteins, molecular architecture and other cutting-edge topics in front of a national audience comprised of over 13,000 chemical science students, professionals and research leaders from the United States and around the world. The students participated in both oral and poster presentations based on research that was completed under the mentorship of Fairfield professors Amanda Harper-Leatherman, Matthew Kubasik, John Miecznikowski and Jillian Smith-Carpenter, or as part of summer undergraduate research programs at other universities.
“I was very excited to present my college research in front of a national audience,” said Kosciuszek ’17. “I had amazing conversations with others about my research and gained valuable feedback. I am very grateful that I had this opportunity.”
The ACS National Meeting annually attracts between twelve and fifteen thousand chemists from around the world and offers a multitude of symposia covering all of the sub-disciplines of chemistry. This year’s focus, “Chemistry of the People, By the People, For the People” afforded attending Fairfield students the opportunity to participate in a variety of plenary sessions featuring presentations by renowned research leaders on a wide range of topics including atmospheric chemistry, combating Zika and mobilizing chemistry to solve humanitarian problems.
“By participating in these meetings and presenting their research, our students have a wonderful opportunity to network with like-minded individuals and learn about cutting-edge research from the brightest minds in the chemical sciences,” said Dr. L. Kraig Steffen, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry at Fairfield. “Students learn about the application of chemistry in biology, materials science, medicine and environmental challenges, which helps them expand their career expectations.”
In addition to attending the conference, students also had a chance to explore the city of Philadelphia by participating in a number of informal activities organized by faculty, including a trip to the Chemical Heritage Museum and a Phillies’ baseball game. Students also gathered for a networking breakfast with faculty and Fairfield alumni, who were either attending the meeting as well or currently working in the Philadelphia area, including Kaitlyn Buzard ’12, current medical student at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine; Elizabeth Garvey ’13, current medical student at Albany Medical College; and Matthew Guberman-Pfeffer ’14, current chemistry graduate student at the University of Connecticut.
“It was a great experience,” said Bonitatibus ’17. “I enjoyed the challenge of presenting my research to an unfamiliar audience and appreciated the support I received from my professors and friends. I am excited to discover which part of the field I will dedicate myself to in the future.”
Support for the trip was provided by the Science Institute of the College of Arts and Sciences; Fairfield University Corrigan, Hardiman, Lawrence and Mancini Scholarships; the Western CT Section of the American Chemical Society; and the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.