Chemistry Students to Present Research at National Convention

Created: April 10, 2014
Last Updated: December 17, 2019

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WASHINGTON, PA (Jan. 13, 2014)—Nine Washington & Jefferson (W&J) College chemistry students have been selected to present their research in March at the 247th American Chemical Society (ACS) National Meeting & Exposition in Dallas, Texas.

The exposition is held twice a year and brings together undergraduate, graduate and post-doctoral students, as well as college and university professors and professionals in the field, to present and discuss their research.

“It is amazing for us as undergraduates to show our projects at a professional event. This isn’t just a class at W&J. It’s the real deal,” said senior chemistry major Julia Pacilio (Pittsburgh, Pa./Mt. Lebanon High School). “There will be graduate and professional presentations, and that is what I am the most excited about. I want to go to as many sessions as possible so that I can see what it’s like to do research as a career.”

Pacilio, who interned in the summer of 2013 at the University of Pittsburgh Vascular and Pulmonary Institute studying pulmonary vascular muscle cells, will present two research projects on the topic. She completed one with Steve Malinak, associate professor of chemistry at W&J; the other was a joint project with Robbie Iuliucci, associate professor of chemistry at W&J, and will be published in an upcoming edition of the Journal of Chemical Education.

Additionally, Morgan Baxter ’14 (Monongahela, Pa./Ringgold High School) will present an environmental research project; Tyler Watson ‘14 (McClellandtown, Pa./Albert Gallatin High School), a medicinal research project he completed off campus through the Magellan Project; Andrew Pingitore ’14 (Cassadaga, N.Y.), an organic synthesis project; Sarah Nainar (Erie, Pa./McDowell High School), research from her summer 2013 internship at Stanford University in the National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network (NNIN); Josh Tropp ’15 (Pittsburgh, Pa./Upper St. Clair High School), a project to analyze a painting with instrumentation and, with Morgan Morelli ’14 (Wintersville, Ohio/Steubenville Central Catholic High School), a poster on the Student Affiliates of the American Chemical Society; and Lauren Fisher ’14 (Coal Center, Pa./California Area High School) will present an environmental research project in which she examined the effect of shale drilling on natural water sources.

With the exception of Zachary Marsh ’14 (Panama, N.Y./Panama Central School), the students will be presenting in a forum designed for undergraduate students. By choice, Marsh—whose project is an extension of an internship at Duquesne University, where he worked to determine magnetic shielding values in organic crystals—will present in a section of the exposition that includes graduate and doctoral-level students, as well as professionals.

Jennifer Logan, associate professor of chemistry at W&J, said the college typically sends about a dozen students to the conference each year, and that the students’ work is a good representation of what W&J students are capable of accomplishing.

“What they are presenting reflects a significant amount of work on their part,” Logan said. “They’ve done a significant amount of research, and having enough results that they can piece together a story that is interesting and relevant for presentation to the scientific community is impressive.”

The ACS National Meeting & Exposition will be held March 16-20, 2014.

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