Graduate Awards & Honors

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2016 Graduate Student Scholarship & Award Recipients

Two awards are given out to graduate students annually for recognition in research and teaching. 

The Jay and Carol Taylor Graduate Scholarship is named after Dr. Jay Taylor and his wife Carol.  Dr. Taylor was a long-time faculty member in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and endowed this award in his retirement.  This award is given to 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 Chamila GunathilakeRanil Gurusinghe, and Shankar Mandal.

Chamila joined the graduate program in Spring 2011 and is working in Dr. Mietek Jaroniec's lab.  His interest in chemistry stems from his interest in the environment; he feels that it is our responsibility to give back to nature, educate the community and try to rectify some percentage of our own mistakes in doing so.

Ranil joined the graduate program in Fall 2011 and is currently working with Dr. Michael Tubergen.  Ranil finds science and scientific research useful - if they weren't, he says, he wouldn't be interested in them.

Shankar joined the graduate program in Fall 2013 and is a member of Dr. Hanbin Mao's lab.  He has always been interested in analytical chemistry, and would like to develop new methods or tools for assaying disease bio-markers, environmental and food contaminants.

One student received an Honorable Mention for the Taylor Award: Yang (Joe) Zhou.  Joe is co-advised by Dr. Paul Sampson and Dr. Nicola Brasch (Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand).

The Bush Prize for Graduate Teaching is awarded to a graduate student who has had outstanding feedback from his or her teaching assignments within the past academic year.  The winners of this year's Bush Prize for Graduate Teaching are Michal Marszewski and Sangeetha Selvam.

Michal has been in our doctoral program since Spring 2011, and has taught physical chemistry and general chemistry labs during his time here.  He enjoys teaching because he says it is simultaneously challenging and rewarding - challenging for students, and rewarding for him to see them excel.

Sangeetha has been in our doctoral program since Fall 2012, and has taught Chemistry in Our WOrld, general chemistry and analytical chemistry labs during her time here.  She enjoys teaching because she loves the satisfaction that comes with sharing knowledge.

Two students received an Honorable Mention for the Bush Prize: Gayan Mirihana Arachchilage and Jibin Abraham Punnoose.  Gayan is advised by Dr. Soumitra Basu, and Jibin by Dr. Hanbin Mao.

The Debbie Fu-Tai Tuan Graduate Scholarship is given to a doctoral student who excels in the area of physical chemistry.  This year's recipient of the Tuan Award is Sagun Jonchhe.  Sagun joined the doctoral program last fall and works in the Mao research group.

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 Sumirtha Balaratnam and Sangeetha Selvam were nominated for University Fellowships (effective Spring 2017).

Sumirtha, or Sumi, is a student in Dr. Basu's research group.  She has published a paper in Biopolymers, as well as presenting at the 2015 ACS meeting in Boston.  Her research focuses on the characterization of the metal binding site within RNA G-quadruplexes.

Sangeetha works in Dr. Mao's research group, and has published a number of papers in esteemed journals, like JACS.  She is currently conducting an international collaboration project with the University of Tokyo, investigating the superhelicity on the nucleosome structures using a method she developed.

The Bender Award is a renewable merit scholarship that is typically given to a strong incoming graduate student.  Sean Carney is the recipient of this award.  Sean joined the doctoral program in the Summer of 2013, and has been advised by Drs. Paul Sampson and Alex Seed.

Previous Award Recipients

Jay & Carol Taylor Graduate Scholarship

  • 2015 - Michal Marszewski
  • 2015 - Sangeetha Selvam
  • 2014 - Rohan Dassanayake
  • 2014 - Zachary Graber
  • 2014 - Murthi Kandanapitiye
  • 2014 - Nilantha Wickramaratne
  • 2013 - Tawfik Khattab
  • 2013 - Deepak Koirala
  • 2012 - Harishchandra Subedi
  • 2012 - Zhongbo Yu
  • 2011 - Stacy Grant
  • 2011 - Mark Morris

Bush Prize for Graduate Teaching

  • 2015 - Zhe Li
  • 2014 - Debmalya Bhattacharyya
  • 2013 - Shuo Li
  • 2013 - Philip Yangyuoru
  • 2012 - Sonya Adas
  • 2012 - Zhongbo Yu
  • 2011 - Gretchen Laubacher

University Fellowship

  • 2015 - Michal Marszewski
  • 2015 - Prakash Shrestha
  • 2014 - Chamila Gunathilake
  • 2014 - Matthew Worden
  • 2013 - Zachary Graber
  • 2013 - Nilantha Wickramaratne
  • 2012 - Deepak Koirala
  • 2011 - Zhongbo Yu

Chamila Gunathilake presents his research after receiving the Taylor Research Award.

Dr. Michael Tubergen presents Ranil Gurusinghe with the Taylor Research Award.

Dr. Michael Tubergen presents Shankar Mandal with the Taylor Research Award.

From top to bottom: Chamila Gunathilake presents his research after receiving the Taylor Award; Dr. Michael Tubergen presents the Taylor Award to Ranil Gurusinghe and Shankar Mandal.

Dr. Michael Tubergen presents the Bush Prize to Michal Marszewski.

Dr. Michael Tubergen presents Sangeetha Selvam with the Bush Prize.

From top to bottom: Dr. Tubergen presents Michal Marszewski and Sangeetha Selvam with the Bush Prize for Graduate Teaching.

Dr. Tubergen presents Sagun Jonchhe with the Tuan Graduate Scholarship.

Dr. Tubergen presents the Debbie Fu-Tai Tuan Graduate Scholarship to Sagun Jonchhe.

Sumirtha Balaratnam was nominated for the University Fellowship.

Sangeetha Selvam was nominated for the University Fellowship.

The University Fellowship nominees for Spring 2016 are Sumirtha Balaratnam (top) and Sangeetha Selvam (below).