Class Day Awards Conferred, Seniors Recognized

By Wendy Plump
Monday, Jun. 1, 2020

The virtual Department of Chemistry Class Day Awards and Recognition Ceremony took place Saturday, May 30, 2020, honoring the 23 members of the Class of ’20 who received a Bachelor of Arts degree in chemistry.

Overseeing the ceremony was Director of Undergraduate Studies Robert L’Esperance, who invited students to remember their first walk across Streicker Bridge to Frick Laboratory four years ago; and Department Chair Tom Muir, the Van Zandt Williams Jr. Class of 1965 Professor of Chemistry, speaking from the “eerily silent” Taylor Auditorium at Frick Laboratory.

The Class of ’20 A.B. in Chemistry degree recipients
The Class of ’20 A.B. in Chemistry degree recipients.
Image captured from Zoom eve

“For the benefit of the parents and friends, you should know that your sons and daughters spent countless hours in this room absorbing knowledge and bonding with each other,” said Muir from Taylor Auditorium. “We get to work with the best and brightest young scientists. You’re now chemists – part of the club. Keep exploring, keep asking the hard questions.”

Tom Muir, Chair, Department of Chemistry
Tom Muir, Chair, Department of Chemistry, addressing the Class of '20 A.B. in Chemistry degree recipients via Zoom.
Video production by C. Todd Reichart

L'Esperance announced the senior awards, honors, and prizes. Awards were conferred in several categories, as listed below.

The Robert T. McCay Prize, given to the student with the best performance on a physical chemistry prize exam: Sarah Schneider.

The Everett S. Wallis Prize in Organic Chemistry, awarded for exceptional performance in all aspects of organic chemistry: Nicodemo Ciccia, and Shirley Klimkiewicz.

The Malcolm H. Chisholm Prize, which recognizes a student who has written the best inorganic thesis: K. Stiefel.

The Sigma Xi Book Award for Outstanding Research, given to a student who has demonstrated a high level of aptitude for research in fields of pure and applied science: Heide Baron.

The Royal Society of Chemistry Certificate of Excellence, given to outstanding undergraduate students across the country: Jessica Dessau.

The American Chemical Society Awards for excellence in chemistry based upon research, coursework, motivation, interest, and dedication:

            Division of Inorganic Chemistry: Hyojin Lee.

            Division of Organic Chemistry: Carolyn Guan.

The American Institute of Chemists Award, given for a demonstrated record of leadership, ability, character, scholastic achievement, and potential for advancement of the chemical profession: Young Joo Choi.

Election into the Phi Beta Kappa Society: Jessica Dessau, Carolyn Guan, and Shirley Klimkiewicz.

Distinguished academic awards for honors in three categories:

Honors: Lauren Ehehalt, Insiya Essani, Andres Irribarra Ramirez, Pria Louka, Marisela Neff, Sarah Schneider, Jon Spires, and Christopher Wilks.

High Honors: Hyojin Lee, Kaitlyn MacMillan, Danielle Newton, K. Stiefel, and Melissa Yuan.

Highest Honors: Heide Baron, Young Joo Choi, Nicodemo Ciccia, Jessica Dessau, Carolyn Guan, and Shirley Klimkiewicz.

The Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society Award, given for excellence in scientific investigation: Heide Baron, Young Joo Choi, Nicodemo Ciccia, Jessica Dessau, Carolyn Guan, Andres Irribarra Ramirez, Shirley Klimkiewicz, Hyojin Lee, Pria Louka, Kaitlyn MacMillan, Marisela Neff, Danielle Newton, Sarah Schneider, Jon Spires, K. Stiefel, and Melissa Yuan.

L’Esperance also conferred two awards for rising seniors.

The William Foster Memorial Prize in Chemistry, given annually to a junior who has demonstrated outstanding academic and research ability in chemistry: Emily Ryu (Knowles).

The Peter N. Curtin, Class of 2008 Award for Excellence in Chemistry Research, given to an undergraduate student who has demonstrated academic excellence, exceptional intellectual curiosity, and collegiality: Brian Foster (Bocarsly lab).

The Class of ’20 graduates include: Nicholas Apostolakis (Sorensen lab), of Ohio, who also earned a Certificate in Hellenic Studies; Heide Baron (Wühr lab), of Colorado, who also earned certificates in Applications of Computing and in Engineering Biology; Young Joo Choi (Hyster lab), of Georgia; Nicodemo Ciccia (Carrow lab), of Massachusetts; Christina de Soto (Bocarsly lab), of Florida, who also earned a Certificate in Visual Arts; Jessica Dessau (Hecht lab), of Colorado, who also earned a Certificate in Engineering Biology; Lauren Ehehalt (Chirik lab), of Michigan; Insiya Essani (Pelczer/NMR lab), of Texas, who also earned a Certificate in Global Health and Health Policy; Carolyn Guan (Hyster lab), of Texas, who also earned a Certificate in Global Health and Health Policy; Sara Howell (Pelczer/NMR lab), of Virginia, who also earned a Certificate in Spanish Language and Culture; Andres Irribarra Ramirez (Scholes lab), of Chile; Shirley Klimkiewicz (Hyster lab), of Maryland, who also earned a Certificate in Spanish Language and Culture; Abigail Kostolansky (Yang lab), of Washington, who also earned certificates in Materials Science and Engineering, and Dance; Hyojin Lee (Myneni lab), of New Jersey, who also earned a Certificate in Ancient Roman Language and Culture; Pria Louka (Cava lab), of New Jersey, who also earned certificates in Materials Science and Engineering and in Hellenic Studies; Kaitlyn MacMillan (Chirik lab), of New Jersey, who also earned a Certificate in Materials Science and Engineering; Marisela Neff (Knowles lab), of New York, who also earned a Certificate in Latin American Studies; Danielle Newton (Davidson lab), of Colorado; Sarah Schneider (Schoop lab), of New York, who also earned certificates in Materials Science and Engineering, Engineering Biology, and Entrepreneurship; Jon Spires (Pelczer/NMR lab), of Virginia; K. Stiefel (Groves lab), of New Jersey, who also earned a Certificate in Quantitative and Computational Biology; Christopher Wilks (Cava lab), of Michigan; and Melissa Yuan (Groves lab), of Tennessee, who earned certificates in Materials Science and Engineering, and Engineering Biology.