CNR Chemistry Majors Earn Honors and Share Experiences

June 5, 2017

The spring 2017 semester was a busy one for several chemistry majors at The College of New Rochelle as they earned honors and represented the College at awards ceremonies and an academic symposium dedicated to the field of chemistry.

Isabella Jean-Charles and Snove-Tia Cape tied for highest grade in the “Chemical Principles I and II” lecture and lab year-long chemistry sequence. As a result, they both received the College Chemistry Student Award for Outstanding Scholastic Performance in First-Year Chemistry from the Westchester Chemical Society on May 2. At the awards ceremony, which was held at Pace University in Pleasantville, New York, the students had the opportunity to meet with Sister Mary Virginia Orna, O.S.U., professor emerita of chemistry and scientist in residence at the College (as well as an honorary degree recipient at the Commencement ceremony held later that month).

On May 6, Jean-Charles and Cape joined Dr. Elvira Longordo, associate professor of chemistry, at Fordham University for the 65th Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium, hosted by New York’s American Chemical Society Student Activities Committee. Also in attendance were fellow chemistry majors Grisel Medrano, Yveline Lamothe, and Maty Sembene. Each student served as a moderator for academic sessions featuring presentations on various branches of chemistry. Lamothe and Semebene moderated a session in which five presentations were offered on physical chemistry II and chemical education. Medrano, Cape and Jean-Charles moderated a session on polymer chemistry. All the moderators received certificates in recognition for their work.

Earlier in the semester, on March 24, Medrano, Cape, and Jean-Charles accompanied Longordo to the William H. Nicols Medal Award ceremony hosted by New York’s American Chemical Society, the theme of which was “Improving Life through Advances in Chemistry and Nanoscience.” The students were selected for attendance based on their grades in Chemical Principles I and II. Five professors shared updates on their research and scientific advances. The students met with the evening’s honoree, Dr. Chad Mirkin, the George B. Rathmann Professor of Chemistry at Northwestern University, as well as other prominent researchers and academics.

On May 4, they gave a Power Point presentation about the medal award ceremony at the Celebration of Student Achievement Day in which they offered an overview of the scientific presentations and reflected on their experience.  “It was very enlightening and I would definitely do it again,” said Cape. “I was able to meet many talented scientists, up-and-coming scientists like me, and many professors…I think students should attend events like this because it’s a good way to network and a good way to find inspiration. Every one of us could use a little bit of inspiration.”

“It was exciting to see so many people so passionate about what they do and motivational for those considering working in the field of science,” said Jean-Charles. “The environment was very welcoming; we were able to meet science professors and hear about the work they are doing with their students at home and abroad.”

“I thought it would be daunting to be surrounded by such prestigious people but everyone was very welcoming,” Medrano said. “I met Dr. Rolande Hodel, who founded a group called AIDSfreeAFRICA, a community dedicated to helping Africans develop their own pharmaceutical drugs based on the idea that accessing drugs is a right everyone should have. I have a lot of respect for her and hope to one day volunteer with her organization.”