2020 Chemistry Awards

The Department of Chemistry is pleased to announce our 2020 teaching and research award winners.

Teaching Awards

Sam Grillo, Jiayi Hu, Khalid Mahmood, Rinat Tal, and Kate Wasden all received Peer-Led Team-Learning Awards. The PLTL Award recognizes outstanding PLTL leaders, chosen based on their observed performance in PLTL sessions and positive feedback from their students.

Olivia Murray won the Residential Peer Mentor Award for her outstanding work mentoring freshman and sophomore chemistry students, her commitment to the general chemistry philosophy, and her demonstrated concern for the success of her students and the RPM program.

Jessica Rosenblum, winner of this year's Chemistry Peer Mentor Award, was selected for her outstanding knowledge, dedication, patience, and willingness to share her learning experience with mentees.

Isabelle Ciaverelli won the Chemistry Lab Mentor Award, which recognizes her significant contributions to the general chemistry lab mentoring program, her extraordinary efforts to enhance the lab experience for undergraduate students, and her remarkable ability to explain complex chemical concepts clearly and increase student engagement and interest in the material.

Nicole Curnutt received this year's Organic Learning Assistant Award. The award recognizes, encourages, and rewards organic chemistry learning/teaching assistants for their outstanding teaching performance and their dedication to promoting collaborative learning in organic chemistry.

Research Awards

Logan Brennan (advisor Bryce Sadtler) won this year's Arthur Wahl Memorial Prize. The award honors outstanding achievement in inorganic/nuclear chemistry and is given in memory of Professor Wahl, who discovered a rare element during his thesis research that later resulted in the discovery of element 94, plutonium.

Hamza Ahmed (advisor Gaya Amarasinghe) won the Lindsay Helmholz Award for outstanding achievement in inorganic/physical chemistry. The award is given in memory of Professor Helmholz, who is remembered for pursuing science for its own advancement.

Braxton Bell (advisor Meredith Jackrel) received this year's David Lipkin Memorial Prize for outstanding achievement in organic or bio-organic chemistry. Professor Lipkin chaired the Department of Chemistry from 1964 to 1970, and his pursuit of excellence was instrumental in the building of McMillen Laboratories.

Andy Xu (advisor Meredith Jackrel) received the Merck Index Award for special achievement in chemical sciences. Xu's selection for the Merck Award honors his excellence in research and coursework as well as his contributions to the department and community.

Sherlock Shi (advisor Jay Ponder) won this year's Samuel Weissman Memorial Prize for her outstanding achievement in physical chemistry. The award is given in memory of Professor Weissman whose groundbreaking studies were carried out using home-built spectrometers designed and fabricated in collaboration with WashU's Department of Physics. Weissman is further remembered for conducting creative research until virtually his last days.

Christy Chang (advisor Jonathan Barnes) won the C. David Gutsche Award for outstanding achievement in organic chemistry. The award is given in recognition of Professor Gutsche's achievements in organic chemistry, including his pioneering work in the development of calixarene chemistry.

Khalid Mahmood (advisor Vladimir Birman) received an ACS Organic Chemistry Award. The Division of Organic Chemistry of the American Chemical Society (ACS) sponsors this award to recognize achievement by undergraduate students in organic chemistry and to encourage further study in the field. 

Royce Dong (advisor Lan Yang) received an ACS Analytical Chemistry Award. The Division of Analytical Chemistry of the American Chemical Society (ACS) sponsors this award to encourage student interest in analytical chemistry and to recognize students who display an aptitude for a career in the field.  This award is co-sponsored by the journal Analytical Chemistry

Yilenda Dong (advisor Bill Tolman) received an ACS Inorganic Chemistry Award. The Division of Inorganic Chemistry of the American Chemical Society (ACS) sponsors this award, established in 2009, to recognize achievement by undergraduate students in inorganic chemistry and to encourage further study in the field.

Nicole Curnutt (advisor Tim Wencewicz) and Joey Spellberg (advisor Richard Mabbs) were both named winners of this year's John C. Sowden Memorial Prize, the highest honor bestowed by the Department of Chemistry. The Sowden Prize is awarded for outstanding achievement by a chemistry major and honors Professor Sowden, who chaired the chemistry department from 1956 to 1963.


View the 2020 Undergraduate Recognition Ceremony