Congratulations, Dr. Xiaohong Wang!

Xiaohong Wang. Photo provided by Xiaohong Wang.
Xiaohong Wang. Photo provided by Xiaohong Wang.

Xiaohong Wang successfully defended her thesis, “Reaction Dynamics and Vibrational Studies of Atmospheric Species on Potential Energy Surfaces” on Thursday, March 10th, 2016. Xiaohong’s thesis committee was led by Joel Bowman with Francesco EvangelistaJames Kindt, and Susanna Widicus Weaver as additional members. Xiaohong is also an author of a recently-published Nature Chemistry paper based on research conducted during her time at Emory.

Congratulations, Xiaohong!

Emory Chemistry at NOBCChE

Emory was well represented at the National Organization for Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers Conference (NOBCChE) last week.

Wallace Derricotte (Graduate Student, Evangelista Group) gave a research talk and received the ACS “Graduate Student Exchange Award” at NOBCChE. The award is a joint program between the American Chemical Society and other chemistry related organizations to provide students of these satellite organizations with travel funds for ACS national and regional conferences.

Keon Reid (Graduate Student, Kindt Group) received a NOBCChE conference award, the “Advancing Science Travel Grant.” The award covers registration and hotel costs for the conference and is intended to encourage graduate students and postdocs to attend NOBCChE in recognition of the integral contributions they make to the conference community. Keon also gave an excellent poster presentation at the conference.

Congratulations, Wallace and Keon!

Additionally, Felicia Fullilove, an Emory Alum of both the Davies and MacBeth groups, served as a speaker on a professional development talk.

Monya Ruffin, Senior Scientist and Director of Community, Diversity, and Outreach in the CCHF Center at Emory, gave a professional development talk on science communication.

Graduate Student Spotlight: Wallace Derricotte

Wallace Derricotte. Photo provided by Wallace Derricotte.
Wallace Derricotte. Photo provided by Wallace Derricotte.

Graduate student Wallace Derricotte was recently awarded a 2014 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, one of the most prestigious awards that can be bestowed on a young scientist during the early part of their career. NSF receives over 14,000 applications (from across all scientific disciplines) and picks 2,000 fellows each year. Fellows receive three years of stipend support at $32,000 per year and a $10,000 educational allowance.

Wallace submitted a research proposal and supporting documents describing his plans to make a broad impact on the community with his research. His experience with summer research at the beginning of his graduate career was particularly important for helping him to craft a strong application. “Starting research at Emory during the summer was probably one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life. I believe the work I completed during the time helped me to build a more compelling research proposal and the rapport I built with my research advisor [Francesco Evangelista] made it possible for him to write me a powerful recommendation.”

Wallace’s proposal stood out to the committee because of his research background and because of his bold plans to contribute to the future of undergraduate education in chemistry.

“One of the things my NSF reviewers loved about my application was the fact that I want to revamp undergraduate physical chemistry education by introducing a course in ‘Mathematical Chemistry’. This semester long course would serve as a bridge between Organic and Physical Chemistry courses where a lot of undergraduate students seem to get lost because they haven’t been introduced to the necessary mathematical concepts needed to succeed. Whatever university hires me will be getting a highly motivated scientist with a keen interest in revamping the way physical chemistry is taught at the undergraduate level.”

Wallace hopes that his NSF award will help him to stand out on the job market as he pursues a career in academia. A true leader, Wallace’s hopes for the future are not solely focused on his own success. He’s also excited about using his research acumen and pedagogical creativity to serve the chemistry community. “That’s my future plan,” says Wallace, “to make a positive change so that the next generation of scientists can be 100 times better than I am.”