Graduate Awards & Honors

Two awards are given out to graduate students annually for recognition in research and teaching.  The Jay and Carol Taylor Graduate Scholarship is given to two students who have made excellent progress in their research.  The winners are invited to give a 10 minute presentation of their research during the Chemistry and Biochemistry Honors Week celebration.

The winners of this year's Jay and Carol Taylor Graduate Scholarship are Tawfik Khattab and Deepak Koirala.

Tawfik joined the graduate program in Fall of 2011, and is currently working in Dr. Robert Twieg's research group.  His submitted research summary addressed the design, synthesis, and characterization of novel DCDHF (2-(dicyanomethylene)-2, 5-dihydro-4,5,5-trimethylfuran-3-carbonitrile) based smart materials.

When asked why he enjoys chemistry, Tawfik responded, "Science is our unlimited sense of discovery in an infinite university. Chemistry itself as a branch of science is fascinating. Chemistry explains what, why, and how everything in nature works. These push us to unlock our minds and push the humanity into progress and hope for tomorrow.

Deepak joined the graduate program in Fall of 2008, working in Dr. Hanbin Mao's research group. His submitted research summary was titled, "Mechanically Breaking the Affinity: A Novel Approach to Probe Ligand-Quadruplex Interaction at Single-Molecule Level."

Regarding chemistry, Deepak feels, "Every mystery of life is inside chemistry. How biological processes inside the body and cells are regulated and how chemistry is involved in such phenomena always strikes my mind. From a single electron to giant biomolecules like protein are part of our life. I am interested in the biophysics aspects of biological processes and nano-biotechnology and would like to contribute to society in these fields from the chemistry point of view."

Taylor Award Winner: Tawfik Khattab
Tawfik Khattab and Deepak Koirala received this year's Jay and Carol Taylor Graduate Scholarship for their research.  Above: Dr. Michael Tubergen and Tawfik Khattab.  Below: Deepak Koirala and Dr. Michael Tubergen.

Taylor Award Winner: Deepak Koirala

Michal Marszewski and Vindya Perera received Honorable Mentions for the Taylor Award.  Michal is a doctoral student who joined Dr. Mietek Jaroniec's research group in Spring 2011, and submitted a research summary titled, "Block Copolymer and Scaffold Assisted Synthesis of Titania Materials - Towards Tailored Surface, Porosity, and Crystallinity."  Vindya began the doctoral program in Fall 2008, working with Dr. Songping Huang's research group.  Her submitted research summary was titled, "Cell Permeable Au@ZnMoS4 Core-Shell Nanoparticles: Towards a Novel Cellular Copper Detoxifying Drug for Wilson's Disease."

The Bush Prize for Graduate Teaching is awarded to a graduate student who has had outstanding feedback from their teaching assignments within the past academic year.  The winners of this year's Bush Prize for Graduate Teaching are Shuo Li and Philip Yangyuoru.

Shuo, a doctoral student, was a TA for Advanced Biological Chemistry lab and Chemistry in Our World lab.  She says, "The thing I like most about teaching is the way the students' behaviors are like a mirror - the better you prepare them for the lecture and the more respect you treat them with, the more respect they will show you.  And when they come over to me with questions and confusion, and leave with s smile, those are my happiest moments.

Philip is also a doctoral student, and was a TA for Physical Chemistry Lab, as well as Analytical Chemistry Labs I & II.  He enjoys teaching because it makes him learn: "It gives me the opportunity to learn the material, test and troubleshoot the instruments ahead of time for the labs."

Honorable Mentions for the Bush Prize are

  • Debmalya Bhattacharyya,  a TA for General Chemistry I Lab and Honors General Chemistry I Lab
  • Harishchandra Subedi, a TA for the General Chemistry Labs I & II
  • Pritha Subramanian, a TA for Organic Chemistry Labs I & II

Bush Award Winner: Shuo Li
Shuo Li and Philip Yangyuoru won this year's Bush Prize for Graduate Teaching.  Above: Shuo Li and Dr. Michael Tubergen.  Below: Dr. Michael Tubergen and Philip Yangyuoru.

Bush Award Winner: Philip Yangyuoru

The University Fellowship is awarded by Graduate Studies to doctoral students who have passed the candidacy examinations and who are committed to full-time dissertation research or writing.enrolled for the study of physical chemistry.  Each department/school is eligible for up to two University Fellowships.

This year, both Zachary Graber and Nilantha Wickramaratne were awarded University Fellowships (effective Spring 2014).

Zachary joined the doctoral program in Spring 2010 and is co-advised by Dr. Edgar Kooijman (BSI) and Dr. Arne Gericke (now at WPI).  His research focuses on the physicochemical properties and protein binding of phosphatidylinositol-4,5-biophosphate (PI(4,5)P2).  He has two publications in Methods in Molecular Biology (accepted for publication) and Chemistry and Physics of Lipids, and is expected to have at least two additional publications from his research.  Zachary also won a travel award from the Biophysical Society to attend and give an oral presentation at last year's meeting in San Diego.

Nilantha joined the Ph.D. program in Spring 2009, and is advised by Dr. Mietek Jaroniec.  He has five papers published in high-impact joinals such as Carbon, J. Mater. Chem., ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, Langmuir, and RSC Advances.  He currently has three manuscripts in preparation.  Nilantha has had training at Saint-Gobain NorPro in Stow, OH.  His research focuses on the development of ordered mesoporous carbons, carbon-inorganic composites, and especially carbon-based spheres for potential environmental and energy-related applications.  Regarding his motivation, Nilantha says, "Having done mainly science subjects (chemistry, physics and mathematics) in my high school level, I am greatly fascinated by chemistry.  Mainly, it can be applied to almost any situation from medicine through environmental sustainability to energy.  I had a belief that the increasing world energy crisis and controlling the global warming will only be solved with the help of chemistry, and the possibility to be involved in this research is an ambition of mine."

University Fellowship Awardee: Zachary Graber  
The University Fellowship recipients for Spring 2014 are Zachary Graber and Nilantha Wickramaratne.  Above: Zachary Graber and Dr. Michael Tubergen.  Below: Nilantha Wickramaratne and Dr. Michael Tubergen.

University Fellowship Awardee: Nilantha Wickramaratne

Local Links

Utility Links

Text Only Options

Top of page


Text Only Options

Open the original version of this page.

Usablenet Assistive is a UsableNet product. Usablenet Assistive Main Page.