Chemistry and biochemistry undergraduates presented original research to a crowd of 16,000 at the American Chemical Society National Meeting.
The attendance of our undergraduate students at this meeting resulted in a level of educational and professional development not possible through other means.
— Amanda Harper-Leatherman, PhD, associate professor of chemistry
Five undergraduate scholarship winners and five faculty members from Fairfield University’s Chemistry and Biochemistry Department took their laboratory research from the Bannow Science Center to the national stage during the 255th American Chemical Society (ACS) National Meeting and Exposition last month in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Catharine Brady ’18, Jacqueline Ferreri ’18, Dana Saad ’18, Eunsun Hong ’19, and Tyler Lyons ’19, were granted the unique opportunity to present their original research projects in front of a national audience of more than 16,000 chemical science students, industry professionals, and research leaders from across the United Stated and around the world. The students participated in poster presentations based on research that was conducted under the mentorship of Fairfield professors Amanda Harper-Leatherman, PhD, and Aaron Van Dyke, PhD, and during undergraduate summer research programs conducted at other universities. Professors Matthew Kubasik, PhD; John Miecznikowski, PhD; and Kraig Steffen, PhD, also attended and presented research at the national meeting.
Mancini Scholarship recipient and 2018 College of Arts and Sciences “Outstanding Senior Biochemistry” awardee Catharine Brady was also granted the unique opportunity to serve as a co-organizer for a fully student-organized symposium entitled “Analytical Chemistry in the Developing World,” based on the theme of the summer undergraduate research program she participated in at University of Notre Dame.
“Participating in the conference definitely increased my passion and appreciation for chemistry,” Brady said. “It was very rewarding to present my research and get feedback and ideas that I can use to further my project. It also presented a great opportunity for us to network. I personally had many conversations with professors and graduate students, which helped me to make my final decision on where I will attend graduate school.”
The ACS National Meeting annually attracts more than 16,000 participants from around the world and provides a platform for chemistry professionals to connect, share ideas, and advance scientific and technical knowledge. This year’s focus, “Nexus of Food, Energy, and Water” afforded 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 water supply safety, artificial photosynthesis, and antibiotic resistance to name a few. Students also participated in a series of professional development offerings that included resume workshops, mock interviews, and graduate school and career fairs.
In addition to participating in the meeting’s scientific activities and career services, students also had a chance to explore the city of New Orleans and connect with Fairfield alumna Kathleen Sullivan ’08, founder of the Jefferson RISE Charter School in New Orleans.
“The attendance of our undergraduate students at this meeting resulted in a level of educational and professional development not possible through other means,” Dr. Harper-Leatherman said. “It extends the work faculty performs with students from on-campus laboratories into the broader scientific community.”
Funding for the trip was provided by Fairfield University’s Lawrence, Hardiman, and Mancini Scholarships; the Science Institute of the College of Arts and Sciences; an ACS Student Chapter National Meeting Travel Grant; and the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.