Excellence in Graduate Research Awards 2023-24

Submitted by Diana Knight on
Kent Wilson
Lindsey Ulmer
Jiahao Bobby Wan
Hao Nguyen
Kathleen Snook
Elizabeth Momoh
Cem Millik

The Department of Chemistry is pleased to announce the following prizes for outstanding work by graduate students. These awards, announced each spring, recognize outstanding contributions to research by doctoral students and carry a $1,000 prize. The awards were restructured in Academic Year 2022-23 after a few years hiatus and are funded by endowments made possible through philanthropic support of faculty, friends, and alumni. All UW Chemistry Ph.D. students that have completed their General Examination, are in Good Academic Standing, and have not yet received a merit award are eligible to apply.

Excellence in Graduate Research Award, Physical Chemistry

Funded by the Kwiram/CCR Fellowship

Kent Wilson is a PhD candidate in the research group of Professor Sarah Keller. He synthesizes lipid bilayer membranes to determine which molecules are necessary for phase separation. Kent grew up in Batesville, Indiana and attended Benedictine College where he majored in physics and mathematics. When he's not making lipid vesicles, he enjoys reading, writing, and playing guitar.

Garrett Santis is a PhD candidate in chemistry. Under the guidance of Affiliate Professor Sotiris Xantheas, Garrett has studied the intricacies of intermolecular interactions, specifically hydrogen bonding interactions. Using computation and theory, he has probed the influence structure has on the thermodynamics of hydrogen bonds and the kinetics of proton transfer. Outside of Bagley Hall, Garrett is a member of Frontrunners and an avid trivia buff at the College Inn Pub.

Excellence in Graduate Research Award, Analytical Chemistry

Funded by the Kwiram/CCR Fellowship

Lindsey Ulmer is a PhD candidate in the group of Associate Professor Matthew Bush. She develops novel crosslinking mass spectrometry methods to study small heat shock proteins in collaboration with Professor Rachel Klevit (Biochemistry). She grew up in Johns Creek, Georgia and completed her BS in chemistry at Georgia Tech, where she did undergraduate research in glycoproteomics with Dr. Ronghu Wu. Outside of her research, she likes to cuddle with her dogs, watch reality television, and take ballet classes.

Jiahao Wan is a PhD candidate in the research group of Professor František Tureček. He studies gas-phase biomolecular ion structures using tandem mass spectrometry and theory. Jiahao grew up in Chengdu, China and received a B.S. in chemistry from the University of Science and Technology of China. In his free time, he enjoys hiking, snowboarding, and playing soccer with friends.

Excellence in Graduate Research Award, Inorganic Chemistry

Funded by the Ritter Endowed Scholarship Fund
Hao Nguyen is a PhD candidate in Professor Brandi Cossairt’s lab. He was born and raised in Vietnam. He received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Texas A&M University in 2020. His Ph.D. research focuses on the synthesis and integration of quantum dots for quantum photonic applications. Hao is also the founder of SCROCCS, a program that brings local community college students to experience summer research at the UW. Outside of the lab, Hao enjoys cooking, 3D modeling, gaming, and playing with his two cats.

Funded by the Mary K. Simeon and Goldie Simeon Read Chemistry Research Endowment
Kathleen Snook is a PhD candidate in the research group of Assistant Professor Dianne Xiao. She studies the use of redox–active supramolecular cages as electrocatalysts for the synthesis of organic molecules. Kathleen grew up in Snohomish, Washington and received her B.A. in chemistry with honors from Boston University. Outside of lab, she enjoys reading books, writing, and spending time with her cat, Sylvie.

Excellence in Graduate Research Award, Organic Chemistry

Funded by the Irving and Mildred Shain Endowed Fund in Chemistry

Elizabeth Momoh is a PhD candidate in the research group of Professor Pradip Rathod. Originally from Lagos, Nigeria, Elizabeth has been drawn to malaria research due to the high prevalence of malaria in Nigeria. Her research focuses on developing novel chemical tools for multiplex analysis of antibody responses to malaria antigens and she hopes to make significant strides in advancing malaria vaccine research. Elizabeth graduated with a B.S in chemistry from Cameron University. Outside of the lab, she spends time with friends playing board games or trying new restaurants.

Cem Millik earned a BS in biochemistry from the University of Washington and is pursuing a PhD in chemistry in the group of Professor Alshakim Nelson. Cem’s research interests center on interfaces between life sciences and synthetic materials. Cem’s research in the Nelson Laboratory focuses on the exploration of stimuli-responsive hydrogels and their applications in drug delivery, 3D printing, 3D cell culture, and as soft biomaterials.

Congratulations to these PhD candidates for this excellent research accomplishments!