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Four students receive Graduate Student Research Symposium Beaker & Bunsen awards

Winners and judges for the 15th annual Graduate Student Research Symposium (GSRS), conducted Tuesday, June 7, 2016, were (front row, from left) winner Cecilia Hall, winner Steven Kirberger, winner Zachary Gilbert, honorable mention Zhouran Zhang, winner Junwei Bao, and Department Chair William Tolman; (second row, from left) faculty judge Joe Topczewski, honorable mention Annabelle Watts, honorable mention Alyssa Cassabaum, honorable mention Sunipa Pramanik, celebrity judge Steven Tinker, faculty judge Doreen Leopold, and faculty judge Mark Distefano; (third row, from left) celebrity judge Lynn Swanson, celebrity judge Stephen Willging, faculty judge Wayne Gladfelter, and celebrity judge James Jensen; (fifth row, from left) faculty judge Steven Kass, GSRS Committee Chair Renee Frontiera, faculty judge Lee Penn, faculty judge Jason Goodpaster, and GSRS Committee Member Ian Tonks.

This year’s Beaker and Bunsen award winners at the 15th annual Graduate Student Research Symposium were Junwei Bao, Zachary Gilbert, Cecilia Hall, and Steven Kirberger. Honorable mentions were awarded to Alyssa Cassabaum, Sunipa Pramanik, Annabelle Watts, and Zhuoran Zhang.

Award Honorees

  • Junwei Bao: Advances in thermochemical kinetics: Multi-structural, multi-path variational transition state theory and pressure-dependent unimolecular reaction rate theory (Donald G. Truhlar, adviser)
  • Zachary Gilbert: Difunctionalization of Alkynes via a TiII/TiIV Redox Catalysis (Ian A. Tonks, adviser)
  • Cecilia Hall: Solution Phase Behavior of a Thermo- and Photoresponsive Block Polymer in Ionic Liquid (Timothy Lodge, adviser)
  • Steven Kirberger: Development of a Protein- Based 19F MRI Imaging Agent for the Early Detection of Breast Cancer (William Pomerantz, adviser)

Honorable Mentions

  • Alyssa Cassabaum: Probing the Charge Transfer Mechanism in Organic Photovoltaic Devices by Femtosecond Stimulated Raman Spectroscopy (Renee Frontiera, adviser)
  • Sunipa Pramanik: Environmental Toxicity Assessment of Industrially Relevant Nanomaterials Using Bacteria Models (Christy L. Haynes, adviser)
  • Annabelle Watts: Understanding Molecular Contributions to Mechanical Properties in Sustainable Thermoplastic Elastomers (Marc A. Hillmyer, adviser)
  • Zhuoran Zhang: Studies into the Synthesis of [12]Cyclacene (Christopher Douglas, adviser)

This year’s participants, who were mostly third-year graduate students, also included Joseph Buchman, Hsin-Chun Chiu, Zachary Degregorio, Büsra Dereli, Peter Dunn, Soumen Ghosh, Adam Grofe, Heather Grundhofer, Siyao He, Shaofei Ji, Emily Keller, Leon Lillie, Jie Ma, Joahanna Macaranas, Lafe Purvis, Waqas Rasheed, Aaron Schulzetenberg, Abigail Smith, Severin Thompson, Nam Tran, Yuanxian Wang, Tong Wang, Thomas Webber, Xiao Xiao, Bai Xue, Fazel Zare Bidoky,Yao Zhang, Juntian Zhang, and Xue Zhen.

This year's distinguished judges included James A. Jensen, Ph.D., director of research and development for St. Jude Medical; Lynn A. Swanson, Ph.D., retired director of quality assurance/quality control for CIMA Labs; Steven Tinker, senior vice president of research & development and marketing for Gurtler Industries; and Stephen M. Willging, Ph.D., global technology adviser for the Global Technology and Innovation Group at H.B. Fuller.

Faculty judges were professors Mark Distefano, Nicholas Frost, Wayne Gladfelter, Jason Goodpaster, Steven Kass, Doreen Leopold, Lee Penn, and Joseph Topczewski. Session moderators are Debanjan Dhar, Chad Hoyer, Camille Malonzo, and Megan Weisenberger.

The 15th Annual Graduate Student Research Symposium Committee members were Professors Renee Frontiera (chair), James Johns and Ian Tonks, Communications Coordinator Eileen Harvala, and Assistant to the Chair Christine Lundby. Technology support was provided by Webmaster Eric Schulz and Information Technology Professional Mike Casey.