Student Award Winners 2022

Congratulations to all those who received special recognition!

    • ACS Student Award 2022

  • Conner Balickie (center) accepting the American Chemical Society (ACS) Scholastic Achievement Award in Chemistry from Dr. Ivona Sasamovich, Chair of Phila. Local ACS (left), and Dr. Grant Dobereiner, Chair of the Awards Committee (right)
  • American Institute of Chemists Award – Chemistry: Armin Mahdavi
  • American Institute of Chemistry Award – Biochemistry: Ashley Loignon
  • The Reid-Fenton Award for Forensic & Toxicological Chemistry: Blake Kerstetter
  • Chemistry Minor Award: Carley Cirafesi
  • ACS Award in Analytical Chemistry: Ashley Loignon
  • ACS Award in Organic Chemistry: Kai Goldenstein Vonkiel
  • ACS Award in Physical Chemistry: Juliana Hetzel
  • PPD Pre-Pharmacy Outstanding Students Award: Hunter Trzeciak
  • PPD Outstanding Student Award: Brooke Kerstetter

Report of the Alternative Sampling Strategies Committee of the IATDMCT Published

Check page 3 of this issue of The IATDMCT Compass where you will find a report written by Dr. Constantinos Pistos titled "Applicability of Volumetric Absorptive Microsampling in pediatric population. What is the future?". The International Association of Therapeutic Drug Monitoring & Clinical Toxicology (IATDMCT) fosters education, research and practice in therapeutic drug monitoring and clinical toxicology.

150 Most Influential Women of West Chester University

Melissa Cichwicz HeadhsotCongratulations to Dr. Melissa Cichowicz, who has been honored at one of WCU's 150 Most Influential Women for her numerous contributions to our Department, the University and the field of chemistry. Dr. Cichowicz came to WCU in 1986 and was awarded tenure and promotion to Associate Professor in 1992. She has served the University in a variety of roles including: Director of Sponsored Research, Associate Dean - College of Arts & Sciences, Pre-Medical Program Director, Chemistry Department Chair and Assistant Department Chair. She served as the founding faculty advisor to Phi Sigma Pi National Honor Fraternity, Alpha Epsilon chapter, and advisor to other groups such as Women in Science, Pre-Medical Student Association and the Equestrian Club. Dr. Cichowicz has served the chemical community for over 30 years as an elected member of the Board of Directors, Philadelphia Section of the American Chemical Society, including a 3-year term as Chairman of the Board. She has also served as a National Councilor with appointments to CEPA (Committee for Economic & Professional Affairs) and MAC (Membership Activities Committee), and is also a Fellow of the American Institute of Chemists. She has won both Meritorious and Distinguished Service awards from the Philadelphia Section ACS, as well as “National Advisor of the Year” from Phi Sigma Pi and WCU’s “Outstanding Faculty/Administrator of the Year” and in 2006 was selected for WCU’s “Legacy of Leadership” class. She has engaged in research with numerous students on projects related to organic synthesis of natural products, or development of novel synthetic methodology, and has over 30 papers and presentations on those results at regional and national conferences.

Those associated with the department over the years will remember Dr. Helen Reid, who passed in March 2020 and was also recognized as one WCU's Most Influential Women. Dr. Reid conceived and developed the B.S. Forensic & Toxicological Chemistry program at WCU and was instrumental in that program achieving accreditation (as one of only 5 programs in PA) by FEPAC (the Forensic Education Program Accreditation Council). In order to learn what students needed to be taught, Dr. Reid worked for no salary at a variety of police, medical examiner and toxicology laboratories in the area during the summer for several years, and developed & gained CAPC approval for the Forensic Chemistry courses CHE & CRL 371; her contacts also enabled students to complete for-credit (CHE 451) professional internships at state and local police labs, medical examiners’ offices, and commercial toxicology laboratories as a required part of their degree program. The continued tremendous popularity of this major is due to her selfless dedication to serving our students for many years.

Chemistry Outreach Event with the YMWIC

At the YMWIC Event, we had a blast when we hosted scholars from the Young Men & Women in Charge Foundation for three evenings of chemical demonstrations and fun. Thank you to the Alchemists and, in particular, Jackie DiPietro, Stephen Dilullo, Juliana Hetzel, Ruthy Hunjo, Ashley Loingnon, Eric Nash, Allison Pereira-Ogan, Michael Quagliariello, Amir Sumpter, and Parker Voit and well as Dr. Abbie Ganas for loads of preparation work and helping out with three evening events.

NSF S-STEM Scholarships Available

Interested in chemistry and a scholarship?

This opportunity comes with an academic scholarship of $9,000 per year for up to four years, paid summer research and internship opportunities, and other mentoring and support.

If you have already been accepted at WCU and are planning to major in Physics, Engineering, Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, or Geosciences and qualify for a Pell Grant according to your FAFSA, you should submit an application for the S-STEM scholarship program. You will be taken to the S-STEM scholarship application after you sign in. Submit before April 15th to have priority consideration.

1871 Award & Publication on Surface Modification

Congratulations to chemistry major Jacklyn DiPietro for being named among 40 outstanding students to receive West Chester University’s 1871 Award. This award recognizes students who excel in the academic and co-curricular realms. Apropos of this award, Jackie is not only the President of the Alchemist Club and the Gamma Sigma Epsilon Chemistry Honor Society, she also is first author on a study titled "Characterization of Mechanochemical Modification of Porous Silicon with Arginine" that was just published in the journal Surfaces.


Data/Graph Chart

Molecule Example

2021 Awards for Excellence in Chemistry

The Scholastic Achievement Awards of the Philadelphia Section of the American Chemical Society were presented to Kyle Shaffer (Chemistry) and Yaseena Alli (Biochemistry).

The American Institute of Chemists Awards were granted to Madisson Gladfelter (Chemistry) and Corinne Gallagher (Biochemistry). The Reid-Fenton Award for Forensic & Toxicological Chemistry was given to Elizabeth Malozzi. Congratulations to all the awardees on their accomplishments!

Special Seminar: Dr. Ted Heilweil from NIST

It was an informative evening with Dr. Ted Heilweil speaking about internships and his career at the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST). His work focuses on  using ultrafast spectroscopy to study charge movement in semiconductors, 2D materials, and molecules.

Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award

Professor John TownsendCongratulations to Professor John Townsend, who was named the winner of the 2021 Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching in Chemical Science. The award is presented by the Philadelphia Section of the American Chemical Society and is sponsored by Merck & Co.


Meeting the World's Biggest Challenges with the Tiniest Objects

In a presentation from the 2021 NNI Strategic Planning Stakeholder Workshop: Charting the Path Forward, Professor Kurt Kolasinski discusses future directions in nanoscience and nanotechnology.

Work on Luminescent Nanostructures Published

The pandemic may have stopped our students from going back into the lab but it didn't stop them from analyzing their data and writing up the results. Three of our recent graduates – Teresa Lee, Benjamin Roe and Joseph Swanson – have had their work published in this article Response of Photoluminescence of H-Terminated and Hydrosilylated Porous Si Powders to Rinsing and Temperature.


Data/Graph Chart

Molecule Example

ACS Award for Excellence in Chemistry

Teresa LeeCongratulations to Teresa Lee who was awarded the 2020 Scholastic Achievement Award by the Philadelphia Section of the American Chemical Society.


1871 Award

Congratulations to Yaseena Alli and Emily Dwyer, who are Chem Bio majors, for being named among 40 outstanding students to receive West Chester University’s 1871 Award. This award recognizes students who excel in the academic and co-curricular realms.


International Collaboration Leads to Publication

MACE - High Ag Load: Correlated motion of big Ag NPs Macro etch track pores; Si NWs, Low Ag load: Random motion of small Ag NPs Mesoporous Si; porous Si NPs

A collaboration involving undergraduate researchers Joseph Swanson and Bret Unger directed by Professor Kurt Kolasinski together with researchers from the University of Eastern Finland and the University of Connecticut have published their result on nanostructure formation in ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces.

International Year of the Periodic Table Commemorated

International Year of the Periodic Table Commemorated

WCU celebrated the International Year of the Periodic Table on November 4 by receiving Proclamations from the PA State Senate and PA State House of Representatives. The event took place in front of the Department’s Interactive Periodic Table display; picture are (L to R) Dr. Jeff Evelhoch (donor of the Periodic Table Display), State Senator Andrew Dinniman, State Representative Carolyn Comitta, Dr. Melissa Cichowicz (Chair, Department of Chemistry) and Dr. Radha Pyati (Dean, College of the Sciences and Mathematics).


Podcast on Nanoscience.

Listen to some reflections on nanoscience in this podcast from Prof. Kolasinski. This podcast series features voices from the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI). Researchers and innovators discuss their work at the nanoscale, the challenges they’ve faced, and how they’ve connected with the NNI. 

Dr. Michael J. Moran: An Appreciation upon his Retirement

The Department of Chemistry wishes Dr. Michael J. Moran all the best upon his retirement making this is our first semester without him since he joined the faculty of West Chester University in 1981. Please join us in thanking him for his decades of dedicated service to the students and community of WCU. You can read more about his long and successful career here.

ACS Award for Excellence in Chemistry

Knorr Award

Senior Erica Knorr was awarded the Scholastic Achievement Award by the Philadelphia Section of the American Chemical Society. Congratulations

Alchemists host Chem Craze

Students in Chemistry lab
Students working in Chemistry lab at WCUPA

The Alchemist kicked off another year of events by hosting a group of 42 middle and high school students. The group brought together by YMWIC literally mixed it up with the Alchemists. Thank you to Kelsey Dittmar, Teague Smith, Savannah Fay, John Griffith, Lidia Gebre, Olivia Kimber, Erica Knorr, Zane Christmyer, Zach Karounos, Piper Johnson, Regan Gillespie, Hannah Evanik, Jackie Dipietro and Vishal Forde, who all attended.

NSF Grant Awarded

NSF Grant Awarded - Anodized PSi regen. etching PaPSi; Tunable: porosity, PL color, particle size; hydrosilylable, stable, PL with labels, 1 & 2 photon exc.

Professor Kurt Kolasinski was awarded $168,927 by the National Science Foundation for a research projected titled Regenerative Electroless Etching for the Production of Si Nanostructures. The grant will help to fund student researchers as they investigate ReEtching and MACE for the production of porous silicon, silicon nanowires and hierarchical silicon nanostructures. Recent results have been published in ACS Nano, ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces not once but twice, and Surfaces.

Best Poster Award - ACS YCC 2018

Bret Unger

Bret Unger was awarded the Best Undergraduate Poster Prize and the Drexel University Best Inorganic Poster Prize at the ACS Younger Chemists Committee Poster Session (ACS YCC 2018) at Temple University for work titled "Metal Assisted Catalytic Etching (MACE) of Silicon: Which Way is Up?" His co-authors were Shannon Knight, Teresa Lee, Dr. Shawn Pfeil and Prof. KW Kolasinski.

Best Poster Award - PSST 2018

Shannon Knight

Shannon Knight (B.S. and B.S.Ed. 2017) was awarded the Best Poster Prize at the Porous Semiconductor Science and Technology 2018 Conference in La Grande Motte, France for work titled "Crystallographically defined silicon macropore membranes." Her co-authors were Bret Unger and Prof. KW Kolasinski.



The National Institute of Justice

Joshi research group publishes the first Library of Microcrystalline Tests for Novel Psychoactive Substances as a product of a research grant awarded by the National Institute of Justice.


Philadelphia Section Award

Left to right: Melissa B. Cichowicz, Deborah Cook (Chair of the Philadelphia Section of the ACS), Kurt Kolasinski, and Elizabeth Wagoner (Chair-Elect)
Pictured left to right: Melissa B. Cichowicz, Deborah Cook (Chair of the Philadelphia Section of the ACS), Kurt Kolasinski, and Elizabeth Wagoner (Chair-Elect)

Professor Kurt Kolasinski has been named the 2017 recipient of the Philadelphia Section Award presented by the Philadelphia Section of the American Chemical Society. This Award recognizes an individual "who, by conspicuous scientific achievement through research, has made important contributions to man's knowledge and thereby aided the public appreciation of the profession."


New John R. and Laurie S. Townsend Chemistry Scholarship (since 2018)

The John R. and Laurie S. Townsend Chemistry Scholarship is to be awarded to a student who majors in one of the five chemistry degrees program with at least 60 credit hours and 22 chemistry credits completed at WCU and a GPA of 3.25 or above. Applications can be found here.


New Technical Director of the Center for Microanalysis & Imaging Research & Training (CMIRT)

Dr. Samantha Shumlas has been named the new Technical Director of the CMIRT.

Interactive Periodic Table of the Elements

We celebrated the installation and dedication of our Interactive Periodic Table of the Elements, Friday April 7th. Here's the list of the contents.

Joel M. Ressner Scholarship in Chemistry

New this year: Joel M. Ressner Scholarship in Chemistry & Joel M. Ressner Scholarship for Minority Students in Chemistry

The 2015 University Distinguished Research Award

Awarded to Dr. Felix Goodson, the award recognizes a faculty member who has made a significant contribution to the scholarship of a University community through the acquisition of external grants from peer-reviewed funding sources.

The 2015 Trustees' Achievement Award

Awarded to Dr. Kurt Kolasinski, the Trustees' Achievement Award recognizes distinguished scholarly and creative work by a current West Chester University faculty member: specific, original contributions to a discipline (as in a research study, monograph, scholarly paper, literary work, musical composition, or work of art), or a significant collective body of work.