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Students and Postdoc Win Green Chemistry Awards

Contributor III
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Attending and presenting at a scientific conference is an important milestone and professional development opportunity for young researchers. To enable this experience for more early-career scientists, the ACS Green Chemistry Institute® (ACS GCI) administers three annual awards for students and postdoctoral scholars pursuing research incorporating green chemistry and engineering design principles. In total over the years, 95 scholars have benefited from these awards, representing a growing pool of young scientists and engineers who will be at the forefront of research as we tackle our planet’s most pressing sustainability challenges in years to come.

This year, seven awardees were selected from an impressive pool of applicants. The winners hail from seven different U.S. institutions: The University of South Carolina, Yale University, George Washington University, North Carolina State University, Gordon College, Florida Gulf Coast University and the University of Louisville/duPont Manual High School.

Thank you to our dedicated judging panels for volunteering their time to review the ever-growing number of applications and Congratulations to these outstanding researchers!

Kenneth G. Hancock Memorial Award

The Kenneth G. Hancock Memorial Award provides national recognition and honor for outstanding student contributions to furthering the goals of green chemistry through research and/or studies. The ACS Division of Environmental Chemistry and the National Institute of Standards and Technology support the award. Recipients receive $1,000, and an additional $1,000 is available to support travel.

The 2019 award will be presented during the 23rd Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference/9th International Conference on Green and Sustainable Chemistry, June 11-13, 2019 in Reston, Virginia.

D.M.M. Mevan Dissanayake, a Ph.D. candidate in chemistry at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, South Carolina, is the 2019 Kenneth G. Hancock Memorial Award winner. Dissanayake’s research is aimed at developing greener synthetic techniques by incorporating electrochemical methods to synthesize pharmaceutical compounds. He is currently working on research to develop an atom economic route for amidation titled, “Anion Pool Synthesis for Electrochemical Derivatization of Pharmaceutical Compounds.”

Joseph Breen Memorial Fellowship

Two U.S.-based scholars received the 2019 Joseph Breen Memorial Fellowship, which supports the participation of a young international green chemistry scholar to attend a green chemistry technical meeting, conference or training program. The award was established in 2000 through the ACS International Endowment Fund in commemoration of the late Dr. Joe Breen, first director of the Green Chemistry Institute. Each winner receives up to $2,000 for travel and conference expenses.

From the 38 nominations received, the 2019 winners are:

Hanno Erythropel is a postdoctoral associate at the Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. Erythropel has a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from McGill University. At Yale, Erythropel has worked on several projects including, a) studying the presence, fate and effects of sweeteners and flavor molecules in tobacco products, b) developing greener synthetic methodologies for the synthesis of sugar-based molecules used in skin care, and c) leading a team of students and post-docs in a meta-review of green chemistry progress over the last 20 years. Erythropel will be using the award to attend the 4th Green & Sustainable Chemistry Conference in Dresden, Germany held May 5-8, 2019.

Selene Ramer is junior at George Washington University in the District of Columbia where she studies computational modeling to predict the harmful effects of chemicals. Ramer’s current research focuses on validating design guidelines for minimal aquatic toxicity on high-volume pesticides. Ramer will be using the award to present her research at the 2019 International Symposium on Green Chemistry in La Rochelle, France held May 13-15, 2019.

Ciba Travel Awards in Green Chemistry

Established in 2009 through the Ciba Green Chemistry Student Endowment, the purpose of this award is to expand students’ understanding of green chemistry by facilitating participation at a scientific conference. The award amount covers conference travel expenses up to $2,000.

From 47 nominations, the winners of the 2019 Ciba Award for Green Chemistry are:

William Joseph Sagues, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Forest Biomaterials at North Carolina State University, for his research on the “Catalytic Graphitization of Lignocellulosic Biomass.” Sagues seeks a more sustainable process for creating synthetic graphite, which is currently derived from petroleum and coal-based material. Synthetic graphite is a component of the Lithium-ion battery, in demand today for use in electric vehicles and for energy storage. The award will allow Sagues to present his research at the 23rd Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering and 9th International Green and Sustainable Chemistry Conference in Reston, VA from June 11-13, 2019.

Quincy Dougherty is a senior at Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts, where she is majoring in both chemistry and business administration with a minor in biology. While at Gordon, Dougherty has been president of their ACS Student Chapter from 2017-2018, during which time the chapter received Green Chemistry Awards for their outreach activities. In the lab, she has pursued green chemistry through a research project on the Greener Extraction of Lycopene from Tomatoes using HPLC. Dougherty will use the award to attend the ACS National Meeting in Orlando, Florida March 31-April 4, 2019 and present in the symposium on “Green Chemistry Student Chapters: Stories of Success,” as well as in the Sci-Mix poster event.

Reece Johnson is a senior in the Department of Chemistry and Physics at the Florida Gulf Coast University. Johnson applied his interest in green chemistry to develop greener methods and catalysts for research related to synthesizing cancer-fighting compounds, “Green, Solid-Supported Catalyst for the Synthesis of Superior Cancer-Fighting Resveratrol Analogues.”  Reece will be using the award to attend the ACS National Meeting in Orlando, Florida March 31-April 4, 2019.

Bhavana Pavuluri is a junior at duPont Manual High School in Louisville, Kentucky and a high school researcher in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Louisville. At the university’s lab under Prof. Sachin Handa, Pavuluri has contributed to various projects including research published in J. Org. Chem., “Micelle-Enabled Photoassisted Selective Oxyhalogenation of Alkynes in Water Under Mild Conditions.” Enthusiastic about pursuing green chemistry research, Pavuluri will use the award to travel to the ACS National Meeting in San Diego, California held August 25-29, 2019.

For more information about these awards or to find information about the 2019 applications deadlines, please check out our website: