COSAM News Articles 2024 01 2024 Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry awards honor faculty, staff and students

2024 Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry awards honor faculty, staff and students

Published: 04/27/2024

By: Maria Gebhardt

“Tonight, I want us all to think about the interactions we have with each other; how precious they are, and that we might not have them again,” said Doug Goodwin, chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the 2024 Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry Award Celebration event on April 17.

2024 Auburn University Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry Awards Celebration

Goodwin opened the evening by welcoming guests and asking them to take a few moments to think about reasons for being grateful.

This was in honor of Stewart W. Schneller, who passed away on April 5.

“Stew and I recently worked on a packet to put before the faculty to be made professor emeritus,” said Goodwin. “Unanimous agreement of a faculty is a pretty rare thing, but the vote for Stew’s emeritus status was. It is a testament to the character of not just a mentor and a colleague, but our dear friend. We also requested that Stew be granted dean emeritus status; this is a much more rare occurrence, but there was no question that Stew served the college as its dean with a special dedication and distinction.”

Schneller was the dean of the College of Sciences and Mathematics (COSAM) for 16 years. He published 163 papers and received more than $10 million in research funding.

“However, fully 24 years of his career was spent in administration as a department chair or college dean. Still, Stew mentored 29 PhD students and 29 postdocs,” said Goodwin. “That is an amazing accomplishment!”

After serving as dean, he returned to the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry as a professor to teach.

“I am glad to say that I knew him, and I am very thankful that I can dedicate tonight’s ceremony in honor of Stewart Schneller,” he added.

The entire room applauded in celebration of the legacy of someone that was clearly admired and loved throughout COSAM.

“I would also like to recognize the generous support that our department receives through endowed scholarships,” said Goodwin.

Scholarships in the name of David Bond Haggard to help to advance undergraduate research in the department, and an entire table was reserved for the Nichols Scholars who sat with Sam Nichols the son of Margaret Nichols.

“She endowed scholarships in memory of her husband Professor Samuel Nichols, Jr., who was faculty in DCB for three decades. She did so to help students pursue their ambitions to become scientists,” he explained. “Professor Nichols signed the first doctoral dissertation from DCB in 1960; we have now graduated 383 PhDs.”

And the evening highlighted the accomplishments of doctoral students, undergraduate students and staff in the department, including the first recipient of The Niharika Dalpati Memorial International Student Award, Andresa Bresler Bezerra. Niharika Dalpati passed away suddenly in April 2023, one semester short of her anticipated PhD graduation.

“Receiving the award was a bittersweet moment,” said Bresler Bezerra. “Niharika joined the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department in the same semester as I did. She was an amazing person, very smart, a great researcher, and always did her best to help the department and make it a welcoming environment. Her passing is still emotional for many of us in the department.”

And the award has a meaningful honor.

“The award is set aside for an international student who, like Niharika, exemplified both excellence in research and a spirit of service in the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department. Hence, it was an incredibly humbling and gratifying experience for me to be the first recipient of this award. It is a great honor and validation for the work and dedication I put into both my academic and extracurricular pursuits. I admired Niharika’s work, so being the inaugural recipient of The Niharika Dalpati Memorial International Student Award was an extraordinary privilege that I will always cherish, and, as the first recipient, I hope I am able to establish a foundation for future recipients to aspire to and build upon,” she added.


2024 Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry Awards and Recipients

  • Provost’s Award for Excellence in Assessment: Chris Goldsmith
  • NOBCChE President’s Award: Vince Ortiz
  • Vivian Ballenger Memorial Award for Teaching Excellence: David Cristomo, Rachel Prado and Filip Pawlowski
  • New Assistant Professor: Katie Rush
  • New Lecturer: Callie Barton


Graduate Awards

  • Auburn Research Symposium COSAM Graduate Award: Orobola Olajide
  • NSF Graduate Research Fellowship (Ohno Lab): Angel Gibbons
  • Merriwether Fellowship (Ortiz Lab): Ernest Opoku
  • AU Graduate School Outstanding Doctoral Student (Hamid Lab): Orobola Olajide
  • CAS Future Leader Award: Ernest Opoku
  • Niharika Dalpati Memorial International Student Award: Andresa Bezerra


Undergraduate Awards

  • Dean’s Academic Excellence Award: Abigail Weir, Silas Burch, Olivia Grigsby, Phuc Thien Long Nguyen, Sean O’Hare and Toby Sizemore
  • Auburn Research Symposium COSAM Undergraduate Award: Zach Love
  • COSAM Learning Assistant Award: Jack Schamban, Kaitlyn Childress, Kaylee Dimock, Alice Woo and Kaitlyn Linehan
  • Charles B. Ordway Memorial Endowed Scholarship: James Shepherd                                                                                                                                                                                           
  • Cletus E. & Nancy Mitchell Morris Endowed Scholarship: Kaleigh Ward
  • C. & Sally K. Hawthorne Endowed Scholarship: Olivia Grigsby and Anna Harris
  • Dan L. & Rossanne M. Philen Endowed Chemistry Scholarship: Maynard Marlow, Abigail Weir and Benjamin Basta                                              
  • Roy Family Trust: Emily Berlin and Emily Barrios
  • Marks Family Endowed Scholarship: Louisa Forbes
  • Kat Milly West Endowed Scholarship: Kristen Mears and Tiffany Ramsey
  • Michael D. & Ruth C. Bentley Endowed Scholarship: Perry Boulware
  • W. C. Neely Endowed Scholarship: Louisa Forbes
  • C. Joyce Greathouse & John Butera Endowed Scholarship-MedLab: Ariel Sharpe
  • James Robert “Bob” Piper Scholarship: Ariel Sharpe, Tiffany Ramsey, Anna Harris and Kirin Tisdale
  • Charles B. Colburn Endowed Scholarship: Benjamin Basta and Maggie Beard
  • Curtis H. Ward Annual Scholarship: Emily Berlin
  • Ivy Carroll Endowed Scholarship: Maggie Beard and Toby Sizemore
  • Samuel H. Nichols, Jr. Memorial Endowed Scholarship: Anna Harris, Meigan Hiott, Kaleigh Rice, Liza McConaghie, McKenzie Milstead, Toby Sizemore, Cayden Cheney, Abigail Moseley, Sean O’Hare and Hyeongju Lee
  • Janet Blake Pepinsky Memorial Endowed Scholarship: Silas Burch
  • Roger W. & Mrs. Margaret Church Allen Endowed Scholarship: Silas Burch, Ethan Golson, Sean O’Hare, Abigail Weir, Emma Drake and Abigail Moseley
  • Edwin Oliver Price Memorial Endowed Scholarship: Jonathan Parris and Abigail Weir
  • Hamilton M. Robertson Endowed Scholarship: Maggie Beard and Emma Drake
  • Howard & Elizabeth Kirksey Memorial Endowed Scholarship: Victoria Cover and Madison Perdue
  • Wampold Endowed Scholarship: Ariel Sharpe
  • Outstanding Clinical Laboratory Science Student: Amelia Flesner
  • Outstanding Junior in Chemistry and Biochemistry: McKenzie Milstead
  • Dean’s Medalist in Chemistry and Biochemistry: Sean O’Hare
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