By Jenny MacKellar, Program Manager, ACS Green Chemistry Institute
Supporting the next generation of green chemists is a strategic priority for the ACS Green Chemistry Institute (GCI). Luckily, the chemistry community is full of accomplished chemists who share a passion for scientific research and understand the value of supporting young researchers in their efforts to advance the best science. To this end, ACS GCI recently launched the Heh-Won Chang PhD Fellowship in Green Chemistry to support graduate students conducting innovative and high-quality green chemistry research. Recipients of this $5,000 award are invited to present their research at ACS GCI’s annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference.
The award’s namesake, Dr. Heh-Won Chang, was a celebrated chemist who dedicated his life to composites research. Dr. Chang earned a B.S. in chemistry at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea in 1961 before moving to the United States to study physical chemistry at Kansas State University where he received his M.S. in 1969 and Ph.D. in 1971. Dr. Chang’s research career included investigating carbon-carbon composites for aircraft brakes at Bendix Research Laboratories in Southfield, Michigan; researching the physical properties of polymers and continuous fiber composites at Bendix Advanced Technology Center in Columbia, Maryland; and managing the Allied-Signal’s Spectra composite business. Dr. Chang is credited with numerous papers in publications including the Journal of the American Chemical Society and the Journal of Chemical Physics. Dr. Heh-Won Chang passed away in 1994, but his memory lives on in this green chemistry fellowship established by his wife, Cecilia P. Chang in 2019.
2020 Winners of the Heh-Won Chang, PhD Fellowship in Green Chemistry
Nakisha Markis a doctoral candidate in the department of chemistry at the University of the West Indies in Trinidad. Her work focuses on using greener catalysts to improve the conversion of biomass into renewable fuels. Mark is exploring the conversion of furfural, which is readily available in agricultural waste, into biofuels using nanocatalysts comprised of earth-abundant metals. Mark hopes her work will improve the sustainability of agricultural practices, particularly in the Caribbean region, by closing the loop on agricultural waste and improving the production of renewable fuels. She will present her work at the annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference in the “Earth Abundant Metal Catalysis” technical session.
Heather LeClercis a second-year doctoral candidate at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Massachusetts. Her research explores the use of a novel technology—hydrothermal liquefaction—to produce bio-crude from municipal food waste. This unique approach valorizes a waste stream while producing a more sustainable fuel source, thus addressing two unique sustainability challenges. LeClerc’s work aims to elucidate the underlying mechanisms of this process in hopes of developing more sustainable, bio-based products. Heather will present her work at the annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference in the “International Opportunities for the Production of Chemicals/Fuels from Waste” technical session.