Reports: SES54161-SES: ACS Scholars Program

Cecilia Hernandez, American Chemical Society

American Chemical Society Scholars Program

Racquel Jemison, ACS Scholars Program Manager

Cecilia Hernandez, Assistant Director of Endowed Programs

The American Chemical Society (ACS) Scholars Program has awarded nearly 3,000 college scholarships to traditionally underrepresented minorities pursuing careers and degrees in the chemical sciences since 1995. The Petroleum Research Fund (PRF) has provided grants of $50,000 to the ACS Scholars Program since 2007.    The following 10 ACS Scholars have benefitted from the PRF grant during the 2016-2017 academic year and are currently renewed in the ACS Scholars Program.

1.       Gabrielle Aversa, Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD.  Conducted Inorganic Chemistry research with Sara Thoi titled “Metal Ion Exchange of Metal Organic Frameworks for Use in Lithium Sulfur Batteries”.  The goal of the project was to optimize lithium sulfur batteries using metal organic frameworks (MOFs).  Metal ion exchange on these MOFs has been done to ascertain how the affinity for sulfur, and thus the capacity and performance of the battery, is affected.  Gabrielle is currently majoring in Chemistry and will graduate in May of 2019.

2.       Ana Yasmin Cervantes, University of Florida in Gainesville, FL. Conducted Petroleum Engineering research with Dr. David Hibbitts titled “Noble metal and zeolite catalyst synthesis, characterization, and kinetics”.  The focus of the work was to use density functional theory calculations to elucidate the most efficient reaction mechanism of heterogeneous catalysis.  The findings can be used to improve the efficiency of chemical conversions of shale gas. Ana is majoring in chemical engineering and will graduate next May.

3.       David Dacres, Texas A&M University in College Station, TX.  Conducted Materials Science research with Dr. Matthew Sheldon titled “The Role of Gold Oxidation State in the Synthesis of Au-CsPbX3 Heterostructured Nanoparticles”.  This research evaluates the tuning of cesium lead trihalide perovskite nanocrystals photoluminescence by controlling the halide ratio.    David is majoring in chemistry and will graduate next June.

4.       Jennifer Delgado, Rutgers University in Camden, NJ. Conducted Materials Science research titled “Effects of Varying Electrolytes in Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells (DSSCs)”.  The goal of the research is to improve the longevity and efficiency by testing various organic solvent blends with propylene carbonate and ethylene glycol.  DSSC efficiency was measured over time with varying light sources and varying concentrations of the solvent blend.  Jennifer is majoring in Chemistry and will be graduating in June 2019.

5.       Isamar Garrido Rodriguez, The City College of New York in New York, NY.  Conducted research with Dr. Marco Castaldi titled “A fundamental study and characterization of a lithium orthosilicate sorbent for methane reforming”.  The research focused on lithium orthosilicate-based catalysts for gasification of methane and other hydrocarbons.  They investigated its adsorption/desorption kinetics and CO2 uptake capacity versus conventional catalysts. Isamar is majoring in Chemical Engineering and will graduate next June.

6.       Nia Harmon, Florida State University in Gainesville, FL.  Conducted Petroleum Engineering research with Dr. Yuri Corilo titled “Unveiling sulfur speciation by deconvolution of low-resolution mass spectrometer data”.  In this project, Nia tested crude oil samples using negative electrospray ionization (ESI) and interpreted the data to develop a sulfur prediction model.  Nia is majoring in Chemistry and will graduate in April 2019.

7.       Zachary Kilwein, West Virginia University in Morgantown, WV. Conducted energy research with Dr. Fernando Lima titled “Investigation of modular natural gas combined cycle power plans”.  The goal was to develop an energy mass balance model of a simulated modular micro-cogeneration system to compare to larger existing combined cycle models.  Zachary is a chemical engineering major and will graduate in May 2019.

8.       Hilary Djomnang Fokwa, University of Richmond in Richmond, VA.  Conducted petrochemical research with Dr. Miles Johnson titled “Verkase Base Ligands”.  The research focused on the synthesis of dipyrrin ligands to stabilize calcium and pyrrole based analogues of Verkase’s base as ligands for transition metals.  These materials can then be used as catalysts for more efficient and ecofriendly routes to conversion of petrochemicals into synthetic building blocks. Hilary is majoring in chemistry and will graduate in May of 2020.

9.       Darsheed Mustafa, Ohio State University in Columbus, OH.  Conducted Organic/Synthetic chemistry research on novel catalysts and activation methodologies to transform feedstocks into biologically-derived natural products.  Darsheed is majoring in chemistry and will graduate next May.

10.   Rachel Wilson, University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA. Conducted energy research with Dr. Ray Gorte titled “Catalysis of Solid Oxide Fuel Cells”.  The goal of the research is to determine an optimized material to improve the conductivity and electron resistance of solid oxide fuel cells using infiltration and atomic layer deposition to layer conductive solutions and gas particles onto fabricated cells. Rachel is majoring in chemical and biomolecular engineering and will graduate in May 2019.