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RCSA Awardees Fare Well at ACS Indianapolis Meeting

Sara E. Skrabalak, assistant professor of chemistry at  Indiana University, Bloomington, and a 2012 Cottrell Scholar, has been designated to receive the 2014 ACS Award in Pure Chemistry.

The award traditionally goes to the outstanding chemist under age 40 in the United States, said RCSA program Director Silvia Ronco. It is sponsored by Alpha Chi Sigma Fraternity and Alpha Chi Sigma Educational Foundation.

“It is a huge honor to be included among such an amazing list of scientists, whose innovations and creativity have been continued sources of inspiration to both me and my students, Skrabalak said.

A passionate teacher as well as a leading researcher, Skrabalak added, “Receiving this award reaffirms my long-held belief that teaching and research efforts are complementary endeavors.”

She went on to say that the environment for early career scientists is often one in which teaching and mentoring are considered necessary deviations from the pursuit of successful research. “However, I have found that effective student engagement has helped to shape my research program by creating an environment that supports and nurtures their ideas.”

Skrabalak and her research group are developing new synthetic methods to shape and architecturally control solids, and then studying the structure-function relationships of prepared materials as they are applied to energy applications.

She said discovery is the ultimate thrill in chemistry. “As a student, I loved being the first to observe something new, and I loved being challenged to see new ways of thinking about scientific concepts when an unexpected result was encountered. As a professor, watching my students go through and grow from the process of discovery is incredibly rewarding.”

Skrabalak is one of five Cottrell Scholars receiving 2014 ACS awards. The others include:

  •   Rigoberto Hernandez, Georgia Institute of Technology -- ACS Award for Encouraging Disadvantaged Students into Careers in the Chemical Sciences, sponsored by the Camille & Henry Dreyfus Foundation.
  •   Melissa A. Hines, Cornell University -- Arthur W. Adamson Award for Distinguished Service in the Advancement of Surface Chemistry, sponsored by the ACS Division of Colloid & Surface Chemistry and the ACS journal Langmuir;
  •   Seth Herzon, Yale University -- Arthur C. Cope Award, sponsored by the Arthur C. Cope Fund;
  •   William R. Dichtel, Cornell University -- National Fresenius Award, sponsored by Phi Lambda Upsilon, the national chemistry honor society.

Other members of the RCSA community receiving 2014 ACS awards include Bert E. Holmes, University of North Carolina, Asheville, who received the ACS Award for Research at an Undergraduate Institution, sponsored by RCSA. Holmes is a recipient of an RCSA Cottrell College Science Award. And former RCSA Advisory Committee member Karen L. Wooley, Texas A&M University, received the ACS Award in Polymer Chemistry, sponsored by ExxonMobil Chemical.

In addition, two scientists funded by Research Corporation in the 1970s also received awards: Richard P. Van Duyne, Northwestern University, received the E. Bright Wilson Award in Spectroscopy, sponsored by the ACS Division of Physical Chemistry; and Michael D. Fayer, Stanford University, received the Ahmed Zewail Award in Ultrafast Science & Technology, sponsored by the Ahmed Zewail Endowment Fund established by Newport Corporation.

The honors were announced at the recent American Chemical Society meeting in Indianapolis. Most awardees are scheduled to be recognized March 18 at the 247th ACS National Meeting in Dallas.

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