College of Arts & Sciences Earns Prestigious Dreyfus Foundation Grant

College of Arts & Sciences Earns Prestigious Dreyfus Foundation Grant

Sara O’Neill '23 works in a biochemistry lab.

Undergraduate student Sara O’Neill '23 works in a biochemistry lab.

Fairfield’s Chemistry and Biochemistry Department was awarded $18,500 from the Camille & Henry Dreyfus Foundation, a prominent organization dedicated to the advancement of the chemical sciences.

Involving students in faculty-mentored undergraduate research is a high-impact educational practice that is greatly valued in our department...

— Amanda Harper-Leatherman, PhD, professor of chemistry

Fairfield’s Chemistry and Biochemistry Department in the College of Arts and Sciences was awarded a Jean Dreyfus Lectureship Award of $18,500 from the Camille & Henry Dreyfus Foundation.

Established in 1946, the Dreyfus Foundation aims to advance the science of chemistry, chemical engineering, and related sciences "as a means of improving human relations and circumstances throughout the world."

In broad terms, these programs support young faculty accomplished in both research and teaching, and are granted to primarily undergraduate institutions whose departments of chemical sciences grant BS or MS degrees in chemistry. Fairfield was one of just seven institutions across the country selected to receive the award this year.

Associate professor of chemistry Jillian Smith-Carpenter, PhD, and Amanda Harper-Leatherman, PhD, professor of chemistry, wrote the successful proposal. Using grant funding, they are “excited to host and highlight a distinguished female lecturer,” Renã A. S. Robinson, PhD, of Vanderbilt University.

“It will be a wonderful chance for our students to learn about new research and the opportunities available to them in graduate school and beyond,” said Dr. Smith-Carpenter. “Not just through a single lecture, but through a variety of ways of interacting personally with the speaker over the course of a few days.”

Dr. Robinson is an internationally renowned analytical chemist and leader in the fields of proteomics and mass spectrometry, studying the biomarkers of aging and neurodegenerative diseases, as well as racial health disparities. The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry is committed to using the Jean Dreyfus Lectureship Award to help to continually uplift and strengthen the role of women and underrepresented communities in the field.

More information will be shared about Dr. Robinson’s visit as the time approaches, including details about a lecture she will give that will be accessible and promoted to the general public.

Additionally, a portion of the Jean Dreyfus Lectureship Award will be used to support the summer research of two undergraduate students at Fairfield in the chemical sciences. This year, a competitive selection process will be utilized to appoint the students who will work with mentors in chemistry or biochemistry research on campus. Funds will support summer student stipends, the cost of research supplies, and potential travel to scientific meetings.

“Involving students in faculty-mentored undergraduate research is a high-impact educational practice that is greatly valued in our department,” said Dr. Harper-Leatherman. “It’s an excellent way for students to experience the excitement of scientific discovery, to engage in active learning, and to gain important problem-solving and communication skills needed for success beyond college.”

Learn more about the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department in the College of Arts and Sciences at Fairfield University.

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