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2021 ACS Green Chemistry Institute Student Award Recipients

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By Aurora Ginzburg, Education Specialist, ACS Green Chemistry Institute

We are pleased to announce the student recipients of the 2021 ACS Green Chemistry Awards! Even with all the challenges that 2020 brought, there was a competitive field of applicants and the judges (external committees assembled by the ACS Green Chemistry Institute) were highly impressed!

2021 Heh-Won Chang, PhD Fellowship in Green Chemistry

Tessa MyrenTessa MyrenGabriela GasteluGabriela GasteluThe 2021 winners for the recently endowed Heh-Won Chang, PhD Fellowship in Green Chemistry are Gabriela Gastelu from National University of Córdoba, in Argentina, and Tessa Myren from the University of Colorado Boulder.

The Heh-Won Chang award provides international recognition for outstanding full-time graduate students advancing the goals of green chemistry. As award recipients, Gabriela and Tessa will be presenting their green chemistry research at the virtual 25th Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference in June. They will also receive a $5,000 prize that can be used for any purpose, including conference travel (once it is safe to do so), professional development, and living expenses while in graduate school.

Gabriela Gastelu is a doctoral student working in Professor Jorge G. Uranga’s group developing green and sustainable organic syntheses. Her research is focused on the design of new synthetic strategies for the utilization of captured CO2. Specifically, she uses CO2 to make organocatalysts, which then assist in the transformation of CO2 into C1 building blocks.

Tessa Myren is a doctoral student working in Professor Oana Luca’s group towards greener and safer closed-loop recycling of CO2 and plastics. To achieve this, she is developing a linear process that uses electrochemistry, mild conditions, and earth-abundant electrocatalysts to break down polymers into CO and building material (carbonate). 


2021 Kenneth Hancock Memorial Award

Sarah EllisSarah EllisStephanie McCartneyStephanie McCartneyThe 2021 Kenneth Hancock Memorial Award winners are Sarah Ellis from Queen’s University, Canada, and Stephanie McCartney from Columbia University. This award provides national recognition for outstanding student (undergraduate and graduate) contributions to advancing the goals of green chemistry.

The Kenneth G. Hancock Memorial Awardees are sponsored by the ACS Division of Environmental Chemistry and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Recipients will present their research at the virtual 25th Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference. Sarah and Stephanie will receive a $1,000 cash-prize and up to $1,000 for traveling to a future conference, once it is safe to do so.

Sarah Ellis is a doctoral student working under Professor Philip Jessop on improving forward osmosis water filtration techniques. She is developing CO2-responsive polymers for use in forward osmosis as a greener alternative to the traditionally used trimethylamine. She hopes her work will help address the global water crisis by decreasing the energetic and financial cost required to filter concentrated feeds.

Stephanie McCartney is a doctoral student working to combat both harmful nutrient emissions in wastewater and the current detrimental fertilizer production practice. In Professor Ngai Yin Yip’s group, she works towards recovering phosphorus and nitrogen present in urine to prevent harmful nutrient emissions in aquatic environments, and to provide sustainable supplies for food production. Specifically, she is integrating Donnan dialysis, precipitation, and isothermal membrane distillation with acidic collector (a novel separation technology), to capture phosphorus and nitrogen from urine and to synthesize fertilizer products.


2021 Joseph Breen Memorial Fellowship

Mary Kate LaneMary Kate LaneThe Joseph Breen Memorial Fellowship was awarded to Mary Kate Lane from Yale University. This award sponsors the participation of an undergraduate or graduate-level green chemistry scholar. Mary Kate works in Professor Julie Zimmerman’s green engineering group and she recently achieved shape (surface) and size control of ceria nanoparticles through supercritical ethanol synthesis.  At Yale, she also participated in Pathways to Science where she designed and instructed an outreach workshop series, Engineering Our Sustainable Future, for high school students. The judges noted her impressive contributions to green and sustainable chemistry both in the lab and in her community. As a recipient of the Joseph Breen Memorial Fellowship, she will present her work at a conference of her choice during 2021 or 2022, with the fellowship covering up to $2,000 in travel costs.


2020-2021 Ciba Travel Awards in Green Chemistry

Nobuyo WantanabeNobuyo WantanabeAllison SchraderAllison SchraderThe Ciba Travel Awards in Green Chemistry support U.S. students (high school, undergraduates, or graduate students) who wish to present their green chemistry research at a conference. The winners are Allison Schrader from Illinois Wesleyan University, and Nobuyo Wantanabe from Barnard College of Columbia University.

As recipients of the Ciba Travel Awards in Green Chemistry, Allison and Nobuyo will present their work at an ACS conference of their choosing that includes a significant green chemistry component. This award reimburses conference expenses up to $2,000 and conference options have been extended into 2022 because of the ongoing pandemic. Both recipients are eager to gain exposure to the scope of green chemistry research at a conference and further their professional development!

Nobuyo Watanabe is an undergraduate student researcher working in Professor Ngai Yin Yip’s lab (the same group as Stephanie McCartney, the Hancock award winner). There, she focuses on promoting a circular economy for nutrient utilization. Her research rethinks the current way we process and use valuable and depleting nitrogen and phosphorus nutrients by employing novel separation and recovery technologies for urine treatment.

Allison Schrader is an undergraduate student performing organic chemistry research under the advisement of Professor Ram Mohan. She is working towards developing environmentally friendly organic syntheses using bismuth (III) compounds as catalysts. Recently, she has been exploring bismuth chloride as a catalyst in the multicomponent synthesis of hexahydroimidazo [1,2-a]pyridines using readily available ketones, aldehydes and ethylenediamine.

Congratulations to all student award recipients! We wish them the best as they continue developing their careers and affect a more sustainable future. All students with an interest in green chemistry are encouraged to look into the various GCI student awards offered and consider applying in future years.