Green Chemistry Student Awards

The ACS Green Chemistry Institute (GCI) awards recognize students for excellence in research and provide monetary support for travel so they can gain valuable experience presenting their green chemistry research at scientific meetings. 

  • Deadline for Green Chemistry Student Award Applications: November 15, 2024. 
  • Applicants can apply for one award per cycle.
  • Winners will be announced no later than January 24, 2025.


Kenneth G. Hancock Memorial Award

The Hancock Award provides national recognition and travel funds to outstanding undergraduate and graduate students who are working to further the goals of green chemistry and/or engineering.


Meet the 2024 Hancock Awardees:

The Hancock awardees will present their most recent research findings at the 28th Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference in Atlanta, GA, June 2-5, 2024.

Kangjie Bian
Kangjie Bian
Rice University
Advisor: Julian West

Kangjie Bian received his B.S. in applied chemistry from Huaqiao University in China and his M.S. in chemistry from the University of Science and Technology of China. Kangjie is currently a graduate student at Rice University. The title of his award application is “Earth-Abundant Metals Photocatalysis and Sustainable Transformations.”

In his research, Kangjie aims to leverage “solar energy” to promote 3D metal catalysis and overcome redox-potential mismatch with feedstock chemical TFA to achieve a photocatalytic, redox-neutral hydrotrifluoromethylation. His commitment to green chemistry inspired him to focus on earth-abundant compounds to avoid environmental impacts related to noble metal utilization and the employment of a co-catalyst to eliminate the use of stoichiometric reagents. He hopes the approach could also provide a solution for converting environmental hazards - polyfluoroalkyl carboxylic acids (PFAAs) - into useful polyfluoroalkylated compounds for additional environmental benefit.

Headshot of Camille Rubel, 2024 Hancock Awardee
Camille Rubel
The Scripps Research Institute Advisor: Keary Engle

Camille Rubel completed her Bachelor of Science in chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley, and she is currently a Ph.D. candidate at The Scripps Research Institute. The title of her award application is, “Air-Stable Ni(0) Precatalysts: Electrochemical Preparation and Catalysis.”

Despite its instability in air, Ni(COD)2 has remained the most important Ni(0) precatalyst and organometallic precursor since the mid-1990s. To overcome its instability and allow the full environmental benefits of Ni-catalysis in enabling unique C–C bond formation reactions at scale, Camille has worked to develop a family of air-stable Ni(0) precursors. These precatalysts offer similar efficacy, allowing researchers to avoid energy-intensive glovebox work and apply nickel catalysis on large scales. In addition, an electrochemical preparation of these precatalysts was developed, allowing more efficient, safer access to the low-valent nickel complexes. The environmental benefits of this work include replacing palladium catalysis in industry with nickel catalysis, reducing the environmental burden of precious metal use, and decreasing hazardous chemical use (e.g. pyrophoric chemical reductants). 


Joseph Breen Memorial Fellowship

The Breen Fellowship sponsors the participation of international undergraduate and graduate students and/or postdocs to attend the GC&E Conference and present their work.


Meet the 2024 Breen Fellowship Awardees:

The Breen Fellowship awardees will present their most recent research findings at the 28th Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference in Atlanta, GA June 2-5, 2024.

Pablo Lopez-Porfiri
Pablo Lopez-Porfiri
University of Manchester Advisor: Maria Perez-Page

Pablo Lopez-Porfiri completed his B.S. and M.S. in chemical engineering at the Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María in Chile, and he is currently working as a postdoctoral research associate in membrane science and technology at the University of Manchester in the UK.

Throughout his academic career, Pablo’s focus has been on advancing sustainable practices in separation processes. By combining experimental and modeling work during his Ph.D. studies, he developed a methodology for the screening and selection of suitable extraction media, including neoteric solvents such as bio-based, ionic liquids, and eutectic solvents, to intensify the production of biobased organic acids with consideration of the Principles of Green Chemistry. Currently, Pablo is focused on developing efficient separation methods for biomolecule recovery, gas separation, and water purification as well as sustainable material fabrication for these applications. He is also eager to guide new master's and PhD students toward green engineering practices.

Photo of Neha Parashar, 2024 Breen Fellowship Awardee
Neha Parashar
Indian Institute of Technology Advisor: Subrata Hait

Neha Parashar completed her B.S. in botany at the University of Delhi and her M.S. in environmental management at Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University in India. She is currently working toward her Ph.D. in civil and environmental engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology, Patna. Neha’s research focuses on the development of magnetic biochar-based sand filters for the removal of microplastics from wastewater effluent.

Deeply passionate about finding sustainable solutions, she has extensively researched low-cost, eco-friendly, low-maintenance biomass solutions for upgrading wastewater treatment plants and removing microplastics from wastewater. The work involves the development of biochar from different agricultural waste residues and exploring the impact of varying pyrolytic temperatures on biochar efficiency. Neha’s work presents a promising practical solution for mitigating the increasingly urgent issue of microplastic pollution.

Photo of Daniel Reddy, 2024 Breen Fellowship Awardee
Daniel Reddy
Queen's University
Advisor: Richard Oleschuk

Daniel Reddy completed his B.S. in chemistry at Liberty University in Virginia and his M.S. in organic chemistry at Purdue University. He is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in analytical chemistry at Queen’s University in Canada where he has demonstrated leadership in initiating research collaborations, promoting diversity, and supporting safety in research. 

Microdroplets are generally considered to be small-volume liquids ranging in size from femto/picoliters to nanoliters. By performing chemistry in microdroplets, laboratories can conserve precious compounds, reduce sample volumes and waste streams, and speed up analyses. Daniel’s current focus is on the development of a convenient, low-cost, and potentially reusable microdroplet sampling device. He is also working to pair this device with the emerging technique of liquid microjunction to avoid laborious traditional sample preparations and solvent-based extractions in support of greener analytical chemistry. 


Ciba Travel Awards in Green Chemistry

The Ciba Travel Awards sponsor the participation of undergraduate and graduate students studying at institutions in the U.S. to attend the GC&E Conference and present their work.


Meet the 2024 Ciba Travel Awardees:

The Ciba Travel awardees will present their most recent research findings at the 28th Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference in Atlanta, GA from June 2-5, 2024. 

Photo of Stella Fors
Stella Fors
Northwestern University Advisor: Christian Malapit

Stella Fors is currently a Ph.D. candidate at Northwestern University. Her research focuses on developing greener synthetic processes using electro-organic systems for CO2 conversion and improving water quality by investigating the degradation of PFAS using novel electrochemical methods. Green chemistry principles of designing less hazardous chemical syntheses, using renewable feedstocks, catalysis, and studying pollution mechanisms all underline her work as a graduate researcher. 

Outside the lab, Stella is passionate about science outreach and policy. Her recent outreach includes drafting policy briefings related to water contamination in the Great Lakes Region and speaking about green chemistry at the industry scale during the 28th Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC. She is excited to pursue a career in developing federal science policy solutions at the intersection of US climate resilience and the chemical manufacturing and energy industries. 


Photo of Dallin Smith
Dallin Smith
Texas A&M University
Advisor: Jaime Grunlan

Dallin Smith is currently working toward his Ph.D. at Texas A&M University. Previously, he earned his B.S. in chemistry with a minor in environmental science at Brigham Young University. His current research focus is on environmentally benign fire protection of polymeric materials, including treatments for flammable polymeric substrates inherently flame-retardant polymers. 

Due to the historical use of halogenated substances in flame retardants and firefighting foams, there is strong interest in finding functional but benign alternatives. A promising way to do this is by utilizing nitrogen- and phosphorous-rich molecules found in nature (such as chitosan and phytic acid). Dallin is currently developing a flame-retardant adhesive resin from benign reagents to replace those typically made with formaldehyde. 


Photo of Rita Bernadett Vlocskó
Rita Bernadett Vlocskó
University of Massachusetts Boston
Advisor: Bela Torok

Rita Bernadett Vlocskó is a graduate student in green organic chemistry at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, where her primary focus is on novel green and sustainable design and synthesis of pharmaceutically relevant heterocycles. Motivated by the waste generated by traditional pharmaceutical processes, Rita is exploring the power of computational tools and big data to optimize syntheses and develop greener alternatives. 

Another aspect of Rita’s research includes the rational chemical design for therapeutic candidates (such as preeclampsia, a relatively common disorder in pregnancy with no cure) that incorporate eco-friendly practices across generation, use, and disposal. Recognized for her teaching and mentoring abilities, Rita has also contributed to green chemistry education, book chapters, and literature reviews. 

Photo of Zahria Patrick
Zahria Patrick
University of Missouri, St. Louis Advisor: James Bashkin

Zahria Patrick is currently pursuing her B.S. in chemistry at the University of Missouri, where she also works as a research assistant. Her focus is on finding greener synthetic routes that reduce halide-containing waste in common industry reactions.

Working with her advisor, Dr. James Bashkin, Zahria aims to produce an intermediate to Glutethimide, a drug used to treat patients with insomnia, using the principles of green chemistry as well as other green protocols. In addition to her research, Zahria is interested in science communication and educating others about the importance of green chemistry. 


Photo of Mairo Yamano
Mairo Yamano
Swarthmore College
Advisor: Christopher Graves

Mairo Yamano is working toward his B.A. with honors in chemistry and a course major in economics at Swarthmore College. His research focuses on minimizing environmental contamination related to copper.

In the lab of Dr. Christopher Graves, Mairo is investigating using aluminum as a catalytic alternative to copper for atom transfer radical polymerization (ATRP) reactions. Using redox-active ligands, he has helped the group create tunable aluminum complexes that show catalytic activity in ATRP reactions. With his unique perspective that combines chemistry and economics, Mairo is motivated to innovate and communicate about new chemical processes that also reduce damage to the environment.


Nina McClelland Memorial Award

The Nina McClelland Memorial Award sponsors the participation of postdoctoral scholars from both U.S. and international institutions to attend the annual GC&E Conference and present their work.


Meet the 2024 Nina McClelland Awardees:

The Nina McClelland awardees will present their most recent research findings at the 28th Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference in Atlanta, GA from June 2-5, 2024.

Photo of Thomas Auvray
Thomas Auvray
University of Birmingham
Advisor: Tomislav Fri čić

Thomas Auvray is currently a research fellow studying mechanochemistry of organometallic and inorganic materials at the University of Birmingham in the UK. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemistry at the Université Pierre et Marie Curie in France and earned his Ph.D. at the University of Montreal in Canada.

Thomas has extensive research experience, and during his Ph.D. studies he worked towards sustainable energy harvesting devices that he noticed contradictorily relied on metal complexes based on precious metals and which were made through harsh reaction conditions. This contradiction led him to explore postdoctoral positions that would allow him to expand his skills to be better combine sustainable practices and research in the context of renewable energies and the use of renewable feedstocks. He is now focusing on using mechanochemistry in the synthesis of organometallic compounds and activation of precious metals such as gold in a safer, faster, and more sustainable way. Thomas also works to establish more sustainable laboratory practices and is expanding his research to the activation of metal (hydr)oxides as a strategy to both simplify and eliminate toxic reagents in the preparation of precursors in inorganic chemistry.

Photo of Julio Terra
Julio Terra
École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL)
Advisor: Jeremy Luterbacher

Julio Terra is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland. Originally from Brazil, he earned his B.S. in chemistry at the Federal University of Lavras and his M.S. in chemistry at the Federal University of Minas Gerais before pursuing his Ph.D. in Canada at McGill University. 

Having developed a strong background in catalyst design during his Ph.D., he is now developing catalysts for biomass conversion processes. The Luterbacher group where he works developed an aldehyde protection strategy to stabilize lignin, but under conditions that involve high temperatures (250 ºC) and precious metal catalysis (Ru/C). Julio’s research has led him to explore a process carried out at lower temperatures using abundant metals in the presence of acids. These same acids can deprotect the lignin molecules and trigger condensation side reactions. In this context, Julio is designing nanosystems with metals and acidic sites strategically placed to avoid the condensation processes. This advancement can make the use of lignin – the largest natural source of aromatic compounds – safer and more sustainable.


Heh-Won Chang, Ph.D. Fellowship in Green Chemistry

The Heh-Won Chang Fellowship provides financial support to full-time graduate students conducting research in green chemistry and/or engineering. Winners will be featured at the GC&E Conference.


Meet the 2024 Heh-Won Chang Awardees:

The recipients of the 2024 Heh-Wong Chang Ph.D. Fellowships in Green Chemistry will present their research at the 28th Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference in Atlanta, GA from June 2-5, 2024.

Georgia Douglas
Georgia Douglas
University of Victoria
Advisor: Heather Buckley

Georgia Douglas is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in chemistry at the University of Victoria in Canada, and she earned her B.S. in atmosphere and environmental chemistry at McGill University. The title of her fellowship application is “Design of a Green, Colorimetric Arsenic Sensor Using Chitosan-Based Hydrogels.”

As a highly toxic heavy metal, arsenic contamination in drinking water poses major health concerns worldwide. Ultra-sensitive detection methods are required to detect arsenic down to the recommended limit set by the World Health Organization, and these kits require multiple hazardous reagents. Georgia’s research is focused on greener, easier-to-use testing methods, specifically the development of molybdate-gelled chitosan hydrogels and their use as the base of a colorimetric arsenic sensor. Her works aims to create an alternative analytical field-testing method that would be low-cost and user-friendly, allowing the kit to be used by members of marginalized communities to test their own drinking water supply. Increasing the accessibility of analytical testing for drinking water will lead to a more equitable future, helping to increase access to safe drinking water and reduce environmental racism. 

Photo of David Kenney
David Kenney
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Advisor: Andrew Teixeira

David Kenney is currently a Ph.D. candidate in chemical engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts, where he also earned his B.A. and M.S. in chemistry and chemical engineering, respectively. In addition, David holds a B.S. in chemical engineering from Washington University in Missouri. The title of his award application is “From Landfill to Cement: Realizing Waste as the Future of Carbon Capture Technologies.”

David’s research is centered on reducing anthropogenic emissions from two major contributors: cement production and municipal solid waste (MSW) management. His work aims to leverage thermodynamics and kinetics to convert the organic fraction of MSW into a competitive net-negative cement alternative. The alternative pathway therefore utilizes a low-value renewable feedstock that is both safe and rich in carbon. In addition, the alternative cement materials use naturally occurring binding polymers, offsetting the need for calcium silicate hydrate. Initial results have shown success in recovering a significant percentage of CO2, and David is motivated by a model that shows a potential offset of 650 million tons of CO2 at the national scale. In his research, David also prioritizes life cycle considerations and socio-economic impacts. 



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