Student Earns American Chemical Society Research Fellowship

By Taaza Facts

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Chemistry major Emma Scher ’25 was recently named a recipient of the American Chemical Society’s Division of Organic Chemistry Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) for her research projectTitanium Photocatalysis as an Enabling Tool for Molecular Functionalization,” sponsored by Merck. SURF is the premier national undergraduate fellowship award for organic chemistry. 

Mentored by Jeffrey Lipshultz, assistant professor in the College of Arts and Sciences Department of Chemistry, Emma is the longest-tenured member of the Lipshultz Group, having joined in September 2022 as a sophomore. She was a 2023 Frances Velay Women and Science Research Fellow, where she worked alongside Lipshultz on her project, “Ansa-titanocene complexes as catalysts in C-H functionalization via alkoxy radical intermediates.”

“Emma’s time as a Velay Fellow last summer was critical to her growth as an experimentalist, as she especially became adept at glovebox work,” Lipshultz said. “Now, her efforts are focused on organic synthesis and reaction development. Support from the DOC SURF will help her reach the next level, as she prepares to apply for graduate school with a focus on conducting research in organic synthesis this coming fall.”

This is the second year in a row that the Department of Chemistry has had a student receive this high honor. Last year, Saba Gulzar ’24, who most recently worked in Distinguished Professor Iwao Ojima’s lab, received the DOC SURF. 

“I am pleased that worthy chemistry undergraduates are being recognized for their hard-earned accomplishments,” said Stanislaus Wong, professor and chair of the Department of Chemistry. “In particular, the Department of Chemistry is honored to have had a student selected for this prestigious, nationally competitive SURF summer fellowship in successive years.”

The SURF program was established in 2009 to provide funding for outstanding undergraduate organic chemistry students attending colleges and universities in the United States. These competitive fellowships are awarded on the merits of students’ research proposals, academic records, faculty recommendations and their passion for laboratory science. Each fellow will receive $6,000 to carry out research in organic chemistry at their respective colleges/universities in the summer between their junior and senior year. 

Taaza Facts

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