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Seven students receive graduate fellowship program honors

Five Department of Chemistry graduate students and two undergraduate students have received honors from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Student Fellowship Program.

Fellowship recipients include Spencer Knight, Julian Lo, and Randall Siedschlag. Honorable mention honorees include Laura Clouston, Solaire Finkenstaedt-Quinn, Amy Hogerton, and Amanda Stemig.

The Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRSP) recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students who are pursuing research-based master's and doctoral degrees in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines. The Department of Chemistry's honorees are among 2,000 students from across the county to receive these highly competitive and prestigious honors.

GRFP fellows received three years of support, which includes a $30,000 annual stipend, $10,500 cost-of-education allowances to the institutions that are attending, and TeraGrid supercomputer access.

Fellowship recipients

Spencer Knight is a senior majoring in chemistry. For the past three years, he has been working with professors Marc Hillmyer and William Tolman on two projects: investigating indium catalysts for ring-opening polymerization of cyclic esters; and developing new renewable polyols for the synthesis of sustainable polyurethanes. He will be attending graduate school at the University of California, Berkeley.

Julian Lo is a senior majoring in chemistry, with a minor in music. Under the tutelage of Professor Thomas Hoye he has been working on a biomimetic total synthesis of phomopsichalasin/diapothichalasin. He will be attending graduate school at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, CA, working on natural product synthesis.

Randall "Randy" Siedschlag earned his bachelor's degree in chemistry in 2011 from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. His undergraduate research consisted of the synthesis of multiply-bonded metal complexes for use in photovoltaic cells along with various computational projects. A first-year graduate student, he currently is a teaching assistant. His graduate research consists of the synthesis of novel heterobimetallic complexes for reactivity and catalysis. His adviser is Connie Lu.

Honorable mentions

Laura Clouston graduated from the University of Nebraska in 2011 with a bachelor's degree in chemistry. Her undergraduate research included completing the synthesis of an organic nitroxide spin-label. She is a first-year graduate student and is teaching honors general chemistry. She is interested in metal-metal multiple bonds. Her adviser is Professor Connie Lu.

Solaire Finkenstaedt-Quinn graduated from Macalester College in 2010 with a bachelor's degree in chemistry. She is a second-year graduate student serving as a teaching assistant. She is studying changes in the platelet cytoskeleton using fluorescence imaging. Her adviser is Professor Christy Haynes.

Amy Hogerton graduated from the College of Saint Benedict in 2010 with a bachelor's degree in chemistry and minor in political science. Her undergraduate research analyzed the effect of environmental influences on fatty acid composition of egg yolks. Her graduate work focuses on the development of an in vitro-microdialysis sampling platform coupled to capillary electrophoresis for neurochemical applications. She also is working on a collaborative project through the Center for Analysis of Biomolecular Signaling. Her adviser is Professor Michael Bowser.

Amanda Stemig earned her bachelor of science degree in chemistry in 2010 from the University of St. Thomas. She studied the antibacterial activity of oxytetracycline under various natural water conditions. She is a second-year graduate student and research assistant. Her advisers are Professor Lee Penn from the Department of Chemistry and Professor Bill Arnold from the Department of Civil Engineering Professor. She is studying the effect of iron oxide nanoparticle aggregation on the rate of water contaminant degradation.

Pictured front row from left are Amanda Stemig, Laura Clouston, and Solaire Finkenstaedt-Quinn. Second row from left are Spencer Knight, Julian Lo, and Amy Hogerton. Randall Siedschlag is pictured in the stand alone photo insert.