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Ertem receives Award for Doctoral Thesis Excellence

Mehmed Zahid Ertem, Ph.D., has received the Department of Chemistry's Award for Doctoral Thesis Excellence for a thesis completed in 2012.

Ertem received his doctorate in chemistry from the University of Minnesota in 2012, working with his adviser Professor Christopher Cramer. Currently, Ertem is a post-doctoral research associate at the Department of Chemistry at Yale University, and the Department of Chemistry at the Brookhaven National Laboratory under the guidance of Professors Victor Batista and John Tully.

"I am thrilled to be the recipient of the Award for Doctoral Thesis Excellence," said Ertem. "I still can not believe that five years passed so quickly. Overall, my experiences here at University of Minnesota were really amazing and I need to thank my adviser Professor Cramer, my fellow graduate students, post-doctorates, friends, and family for everything," he said. 

Before coming to the University of Minnesota, Ertem earned his bachelor's degree with a double major in chemistry, and molecular biology and genetics from Bogazici University, and a master's degree in chemistry from Bogazici University. He also earned a master's degree in chemistry from the University of Minnesota.

"The Department of Chemistry offers a very strong graduate program and I found it to be both intellectually and personally rewarding," said Ertem. "During my graduate work at Minnesota, I studied the computational modeling of small molecule activation by transition metal based catalysts, and especially focused on catalysts involved in oxygen activation and water oxidation. In future, I am planing to work on developing computational methods and applying them for modeling several components of artificial photosynthetic systems. I am also willing to pursue a tenure-track faculty position, hopefully, in the United States," he said.

The Award for Doctoral Thesis Excellence is designed to honor outstanding Department of Chemistry graduate students for their doctoral thesis research. A committee of faculty members evaluated all of this year's award candidates. Ertem's thesis research stood out as the very best in the group of outstanding thesis packages. Committee members also awarded an honorable mention to Melissa Maurer-Jones, Ph.D., from the Christy Haynes research group. The best thesis award includes a $500 honorarium and an invitation to present postdoctoral research results at a future Department of Chemistry seminar.