Four University of Delaware Graduate and Undergraduate students have won National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships . There were over 13,000 applicants who competed this year!
The awards make a powerful statement about these students, said Donald Watson, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry and the department's associate chair for graduate studies. That department had four winners - two undergraduates and two graduate students - including doctoral student Sarah Krause in Watson's research group.
"This includes all fields of science and engineering and these awards go to extraordinarily high-quality students," he said. "It recognizes their ability and frees students to do science. And getting multiple awards in a single year is a mark of quality for our program." This award is one of the most prestigious awards a student can get. They are highly competitive and really speaks volumes about the students' real potential for future successes.
We would like to congratulate the following students on this amazing achievement:
- Sarah Krause of Harford County, Maryland, who earned her bachelor's degree in chemistry at Towson University and is pursuing her doctorate in organic chemistry at UD in Donald Watson's research group. The focus of her research is chemical synthesis and catalysis.
Jodi Kraus of Monument, Colorado, who earned her bachelor's degree at Drexel University and is a second-year grad student in chemistry and biochemistry at UD. In the laboratory of Tatyana Polenova, professor of chemistry and biochemistry, she has focused on determining the atomic-level structure and dynamics of actin-associated protein assemblies using the technique Magic Angle Spinning NMR.
Jodi states: "I was drawn to using solid-state NMR spectroscopy to study large protein assemblies because the scientific understanding of fundamental biological processes is rapidly expanding, and it is of utmost importance to continue developing new methodologies to study these complex systems. I believe that in order to fully understand these biological processes and identify new potential drug targets (in the case of disease), we must investigate their most basic properties. Additionally, I am interested in methods development and instrumentation because I personally find it gratifying to track the exact physical dynamics which correlate to larger functional roles within proteins."
- Andrew Kuznicki of Boston, Massachusetts, who is majoring in chemistry. His research has been in the inorganic chemistry lab of Joel Rosenthal, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry.
Hannah Wastyk of Palmyra, Pennsylvania, a Unidel Eugene du Pont Scholar and honors degree candidate majoring in biochemistry with a minor in biochemical engineering and has done research in Catherine Grimes lab.
Hannah states: "What excites me most about research on human disease is that the body is a system more perfect than any we could possibly engineer. Our immune system is the most complex line of defense we possess, and treating diseases through regulation of its already existing cellular processes to control aberrant signaling is a technique that holds almost unlimited possibilities.
"The concept of growth has always been a passion I continually strive for. Research, both in practice and in mindset, perfectly embodies this endless cycle of growth through the creation of knowledge starting with basic research and applying it to solve real-world problems through engineering."