2020-2021 Scholarship Recipients
CIBA Specialty Chemicals Scholars
CIBA Specialty Chemicals was a leading global chemical company acquired by BASF in 2008. The Ciba Foundation made a generous legacy gift to the American Chemical Society to establish the Ciba Specialty Chemicals Scholars Endowment, a new component added to the Project SEED college scholarship program. This gift expanded the one-year Project SEED college scholarships to a three-year renewable scholarship. As of today, 13 of the 21 awardees have graduated in the chemical sciences.
Leilani Garcia is a graduate of Union City High School and participated in Project SEED in 2018. Leilani worked on a research project titled "Exploring Alkali Promotion for Carbon Dioxide Activation and Catalyst Coke Suppression" under the guidance of Elaine Gomez at Columbia University. Leilani is majoring in Chemical Engineering at the New Jersey Institute of Technology and is interested in pursuing a Ph.D.
"From a very young age, I knew I wanted to pursue the STEM field. Math and science have always been and continues to be a passion of mine. Science allows me to learn and explore more about the world around me and because of this, I plan to pursue chemical engineering. Aside from this major, I would like to also receive a minor in Business Management to combine the knowledge and experience I gain with this minor and chemical engineering. By taking this career path, 10 years from now, I hope to be receiving my Ph.D. in chemical engineering and entering the chemical industry to work full time at a chemical plant. My goal is to apply all of my experience and education to the job I decide to commit to and use it to make a significant impact in the world."
Maelah Robinson-Castillo is a graduate of Centennial High School and participated in Project SEED in 2018. Under the guidance of Sandra Bonetti at Colorado State University-Pueblo, Maelah worked on a research project titled "Effects of Zn and Cu on Fungal Hydrolase Activities," as well as learned 23 new chemistry techniques. Maelah is pursuing a degree in Chemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Denver.
"In the future, I want to be a forensic scientist, I want to be a role model for other minority women looking to be a scientist, to be well known around the nation for what I have contributed to forensic science, to bring up new advancements and techniques towards forensic science, and help bring justice to victims by bringing evidence to there cases. To be able to foresee these goals, I want to have the opportunity to be work for the CIA or FBI as a forensic scientist. I also want to be able to have my own private lab one day in order to conduct research and in order to help cold cases."
Oluwapelumi Oguntade is a graduate of Rufus King High School. Under the guidance of Blake Hill at Medical College of Wisconsin, Oluwapelumi worked on a research project titled "Protein Residue Identification and Research.” Oluwapelumi is pursuing a degree in Chemistry at Marquette University and hopes to become a translational scientist in the future.
"I'd like to become a physician that provides quality healthcare for my patients."
The Joseph D. Loconti Endowment is a new edition of the scholarship offerings from Project SEED. Joseph Loconti was a 78-year member of ACS and contributed annually from 2009 to 2013. He was a professor at Cornell University (1946) and founded the Paper Thermometer Company in 1953. Upon his passing in early 2019, he bequeathed $500,000 towards both Project SEED summer research fellowships and college scholarships. Of the gift, $450,000 was used to create the Joseph D. Loconti Endowment. Starting in 2020, this renewable scholarship will be issued each year to an incoming freshman and will continue through their senior year.
Gonzalo Alarcon is a graduate of Jose Marti STEM Academy in Union City. Previously, he participated in Project SEED in 2018 at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. In 2019, under the guidance of Dr. Steven Levison at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. Alarcon worked on a research project titled "Evaluating the Effects of Leukemia Inhibitory Brain Injury." Alcorn will be majoring in Biochemistry at Columbia University.
Alfred and Isabel Bader Scholars
Alfred Bader is one of the founders of the Sigma-Aldrich Company. Alfred and Isabel Bader have generously contributed to Project SEED over the years. In 1992 their support started the Summer II program, and since 1997, supported the Project SEED college scholarships.
Frank Peprah graduated from Irvington High School and participated in Project SEED in 2018 and 2019. He worked with Dr. Huixin at Rutgers University. His project titled, "Microwave-Enabled Rapid Fabrication of Enzyme-Inspired SAC using MOFs as Precursor" aimed at producing a cheap and eco-friendly source of electricity to replace fossil fuels. He is majoring in Biochemistry at Amherst College. Frank plans on attending graduate school to become a biomedical scientist.
Aboubakar Dabre attended Ellis Preparatory Academy and participated in Project SEED in 2019. Under the direction of Karen Kasza, Dabre researched at Columbia University. Aboubakar will major in Biochemistry at Clarkson University. After college, Dabre plans to research complex diseases.
Alexander Gordon attended Shortridge High School. As a Project SEED participant in 2018 and 2019 under the direction of Jing Zhang at the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology at IUPUI, Alexander researched the optimal method to 3d print a zirconium silicate ceramic slurry with a custom 3d printer. He is majoring in Biochemistry at Purdue University West Lafayette.
Alexis Gradyn attended Benjamin Elijah Mays High School and was the Salutatorian of the Class of 2020. Alexis participated in Project SEED in 2018 at Clark Atlanta University. Under the direction of Shirnece Brown, she conducted experiments working with polymer Polyethylene oxide and an inorganic compound Molybdenum Disulfide. Alexis is attending North Carolina A&T as a chemical engineering major.
Nathanel Rodriguez is a graduate of Centro Residencial de Oportunidades Educativas en Ceiba (CROEC) school that specializes in science and math. He participated in Project SEED in 2019. Under the guidance of Dr. Arthur Tinoco at the University of Puerto Rico - Río Piedras Campus (UPR-RP), Mr. Rodriguez worked on a research titled “The Study of Titanium (IV) Metal Complexes Containing Iron Chelating Ligands.”
Jordhan Booth graduated from Laurel High School and participated in Project SEED in 2019. Mr. Booth worked with Dr. Donahue at the University of Southern Mississippi, investigating various metal triflates as catalysts. He is majoring in Chemistry at Tougaloo College.
Chittra Xiong graduated from Como Park Senior High School and participated in Project SEED in 2018 and 2019. Under the direction of Jay Weber at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, their research focused on making an ion-selective electrode (ISE), a water filter (2018). Chittra’s second research project used heat to form a porous polymer that was applied to a water selective membrane (2019). Chittra is a Chemistry major at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities.
Shanel Calle Urgiles graduated from Union High School. She participated in Project SEED for the summer of 2018 and 2019. She researched the effect of CSF1 growth factor and U87 conditioned media on the behavior of macrophages. She also synthesized novel CCR1 receptor antagonists that could serve as a potential treatment for brain cancer known as Glioblastoma Multiforme. Shanel is a Chemical Biology major at Stevens Institute of Technology.
Emily Delgado graduated from Union City High School and participated in Project SEED in 2019. Under the direction of Mina Armani, she participated in research focused on converting non-edible plant leaves to a source of food and fuel. Emily is attending St. Peters University as a biochemistry major.
Maura Dresner Pfau graduated from Timberline high school and participated in Project SEED in 2018 and 2019. Under the direction of Jeunghoon, Maura worked on the “Optimization of Gold Nanoparticle Release from Magnetic Polymer Microbead Template for Sensitive Colorimetric Detection of DNA.” Her research was conducted at Boise State University and presented at the ACS 2019 Fall national meeting in San Diego. She is majoring in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania.
Michael Yang is a graduate of Boardman High School. He participated in Project SEED in 2019 at Youngstown State University. Under the direction of Sherri Lovelace Cameron, Michael helped conduct research on the electrochemical properties of semiconductors. Michael is majoring in Chemistry at Vassar College.
Hue Man Dang graduated from Bear Creek high school in Stockton, CA and participated in Project SEED in 2019. She worked on the research of aminoglycosides binding with i-motif DNA under the direction of Dr. Liang Xue at the University of the Pacific. Hue is majoring in Chemistry at the University of the Pacific.
Jagger Torres graduated from Highlands High School in San Antonio, TX. She is attending The University Of Texas at Arlington, where she will pursue a degree in Biomedical Engineering. Jagger Participated in Project SEED in 2019 under the direction of Heather Bonduris at Southwest Research Institute. Her research focused on Polymers for Enhanced Oil Recovery.
Areesha Majid graduated from Natomas High School and participated in Project SEED in 2019. Under the direction of Jessie Lundervold at the University of California, Areesha researched the effect of PVP (polyvinylpyrrolidone) on the shape of germanium nanoparticles. Areesha is majoring in Biological Science at the University of California, Davis.
Rayal Smith graduated from Triangle High School and participated in Project SEED in 2019. Rayal was mentored by Dr. Jillian Demsey, at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. Her research focused on "Investigating the Performance of an Enzyme Inspired Catalyst." Ms. Smith is majoring in Biochemistry at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County.
Julian Morales graduated from Colegio Nuestra Señora del Pilar in Puerto Rico. He participated in Project SEED in 2019 under the direction of Dr. Jorge L. Colon and Dr. Mario Ramos at the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras. Their research focused on the development of a drug for blood infections. Julian is majoring in Chemical Engineering at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez.
Kennedy Rodriguez graduated from Eastside High School and participated in Project SEED in 2019. Under the direction of Catalin Martin, he performed research on the deposition of monolayers of metallic nanoparticles using the Langmuir-Blodgett technique, which involved the use of infrared spectroscopy and atomic force microscopy. He is attending American University as a biochemistry major.
Yazmin Villanueva graduated from Galt High School. She participated in the UC Davis SEED Summer Program in 2019, under the direction of Dr. Shota Atsumi. The Atsumi Lab focused on metabolic engineering. The lab's main goal was to find an alternative production system that does not produce but instead consumes atmospheric carbon dioxide all in hopes to undo industrial pollution. She is attending UC Davis and majoring in biochemistry.
The Bayer Foundation contributed to the Project SEED Endowment. Bayer is a research-based company with major businesses in health care and life sciences as well as chemicals and imaging technologies. Since 1993, Bayer has supported Project SEED alumni.
Andrea Mancia graduated from Northgate High School in Newnan, Georgia. Andrea participated in Project SEED in 2019 at Spelman College under the direction of Dr. Gaines. The research focused on cell growth and migration using synthetic biomaterial systems that mimic the extracellular matrix (ECM). Their research was presented at the ACS Fall National Meeting in San Diego among other Project SEED students. Andrea was also selected to speak at the ACS meeting at the Donors Reception. She is attending Emory University as a Chemistry major. Upon completion of her undergraduate degree, Andrea would like to pursue an M.D./Ph.D.
Soufiane Badri graduated from Washington-Liberty high school and participated in Project SEED in 2019. Under the direction of Dr. Timothy Warren at Georgetown University, their research focused on C-H Methylation through a Cu II -Methyl Intermediate. Soufiane is a freshman at Virginia Tech pursuing Chemistry. His future career goal is to earn a Ph.D. in Chemistry and become a research professor.
Natalie Nixon is a graduate of Northampton high school and participated in Project SEED in 2019. She researched under the direction of Kevin Kittilstved at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Natalie is majoring in Chemistry at Brown University.
Joshua Trombley attended Capital High School, where he participated in Project SEED, from 2017 to 2020. Under the direction of Dr. Don Warner, he presented his research at the Idaho Conference on Undergraduate Research (ICUR). His research was titled "Rational Design of Small Molecule Inhibitors to Prevent Metastatic Breast Cancer." Joshua is majoring in chemistry at Boise State University.
Megan Spelock Chemistry, Fairmont State University attended Riverside High School and participated in Project SEED in 2019. Under the direction of Michael Fultz at West Virginia State University, Megan worked to synthesize a new acyl sugar pesticide to use on crop tomatoes. Megan is majoring in Chemistry at Fairmont State University.
The Estate of Elizabeth Ernest Fosbinder, wife of late ACS member, Dr. Russel J. Fosbinder stipulated the establishment of an endowment in honor of Dr. Fosbinder to fund college scholarships for graduated of Project SEED. Since 2004, the endowment has supported Project SEED alumni.
Esthela Barriga graduated from Del Lago Academy in Escondido, California. Esthela participated in Project SEED in 2019, under the guidance of Jacqueline Trischman, at Cal State University-San Marcos. Esthela is majoring in Chemistry at the University of California, Riverside.
Zek Kelly graduated from East High School and participated in Project SEED in 2018. Under the guidance of Matthew Cranswick at Colorado State University-Pueblo, Zek worked on a research project titled "Modeling the Activity of Mo/W-Containing Nitrate Reductase of Pyrobaculum Aerophilium.” Zek is majoring in Chemistry at Colorado School of Mines.
Gilead Sciences has contributed annually to Project SEED by providing stipends to students nationwide. Gilead is a research-based biopharmaceutical company that discovers, develops, and commercializes innovative medicines in areas of unmet medical need.
Catherine Pangemanan graduated from Highland Park High School. She participated in Project SEED in 2018, under the direction of Dr. Robert Hayes at Rutgers University. Her research project featured atomic force microscopy and the study of ionic liquids to determine how it can revolutionize and make the mechanical industry more efficient through gradually replacing the standard coolants we see in vehicles such as cars. She presented her findings at the Project SEED conference in Seton Hall University and received one of the highest scores. Catherine is attending the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
Huixin Ma graduated from Galileo Academy in San Francisco. Huixin participated in Project SEED in 2018 and 2019 under the direction of Dr. Misty Kuhn at San Francisco State University. Her 2018 research investigated the chimeric SPeGs from Escherichia coli and Vibrio cholera. In 2019, their research focused on the P. Aeruginosa enzyme acceptor sites. Huixin is attending the University of California, Berkeley.
Tyler Johnson participated in Project Seed in 2019. Under the guidance of Dr. Aaron Rury at Wayne State University, Tyler worked on a research project titled “An Investigation of Purification and Vibrations of 2 -Methybenzimidazole (MBI) using a Raman Microscope. Tyler will be majoring in Chemistry at Wayne State University.
Karett Cooper graduated from Joseph C. Wilson Magnet High School and participated in Project SEED in 2019. She researched at the Rochester Institute of Technology, under the direction of Dr. Lea Michel. The goal of this project was to find the amino acids in Pal where is binds to peptidoglycan. We hypothesized that if we change those amino acids, then Pal would stop binding peptidoglycan and be more easily released from E. coli. Karett is a Chemistry major at St. John Fisher College.
Michael Trimble graduated from Everest Academy and participated in Project SEED in 2018 and 2019. Under the direction of Zachary Tonzetich at The University of Texas-San Antonio, Michael participated in two research opportunities. Summer I (2018), his research involved Suzuki-Miyaura coupling catalyzed by a Ni(II) PNP pincer complex. In Summer Ⅱ (2019), his research entailed a goal to understand corroles, synthesize 5,10,15 triphyenalcorrole(TPC), synthesize 5,10,15 trimesitlycorrole(TMC), and metalate TMC and TPC. Michael is majoring in Chemistry at St. Mary’s University.
Glenn and Barbara Ullyot. Glenn Ullyot worked for Smith, Kline & French Laboratories. He was a major contributor to the discovery and manufacture of new drugs in the medical world. Barbara Ullyot had a management career at ACS and was a valuable member. Glenn and Barbara provided college scholarships to Project SEED students over their lifetime.
Afrah Faraz attended East Mecklenburg High School in Charlotte, NC. At the University of North Carolina Charlotte, she participated in Project SEED in 2018 and 2019. Under the direction of Christopher Bejger, they researched the synthesis and characterization of iron-sulfide covalent organic frameworks. Afrah is majoring in Chemistry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Afrah would like to earn a Ph.D. in Chemistry and conduct research as a college professor.