News & Media
We recognize and celebrate the great accomplishments and achievements of our students, alumni/ae, and faculty. We periodically publish Department newsletters, are active on social media, and continuously post news about the VSU Chemistry Department.
Our most recent Department newsletter is posted here. If you are a Chemistry Department alum, contact us so we can connect you with the VSU Chemistry Alumni Facebook page. Follow us on the Science Saturday Chemistry Facebook page.
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here are some recent headlines from the Chemistry Department. Contact us if you would like us to post an important accomplishment of our students, faculty, alums, or friends of the VSU Chemistry Department.
VSU Chemistry recognizes our outstanding students at our annual College of Science and Mathematics award ceremony. We are pleased to present our awards face to face and broadcast the event on Facebook for family and friends. Students received awards for excellence in academics, research, and their involvement in department activities.
Visit our Awards page to see this year's list of winners. Congratulations to all of our student awardees!
Environmental Chemistry students perform real-world projects at the end of the spring semester. First, they performed water testing measurements at the beautiful Ginnie Springs park. With supervision by Dr. Tom Manning, students performed TDS, DO, pH, temperature, and ion concentration measurements throughout the day.
In the picture to the right, students pose with the remote operated vehicle (ROV) that they built to perform the water quality measurements. These types of activities let students develop and demonstrate new skills and learn how to perform chemistry in a more challenging, real-world setting.
VSU Chemistry is in the news! WALB featured VSU senior Jenu Mari Thomas-Richardson in a recent news story about her research of a potential COVID 19 vaccine in Dr. Tom Manning's research group. The Manning research group quickly pivoted from their work on tuberculosis to a COVID 19 vaccine when the pandemic began last spring. They have conducted limited clinical trials and are seeking outside investors to support further studies.
This is just one example of VSU Chemistry students performing excellent research that will have a positive impact on our world.
Congratulations to Dr. Linda de la Garza for her selection as a 2021-2022 Fellow of the Governor’s Teaching Fellows Program. This prestigious opportunity provides "Georgia's higher education faculty with expanded opportunities for developing important teaching skills" (link). Fellows meet throughout the year at the the Institute of Higher Education at the University of Georgia. Congratulations Dr. de la Garza!
Notable presentations: The VSU Chemistry Department is pleased to host two special talks in February.
First, Mr. Michael Mitchell, a VSU Chemistry alumnus (2010) and chemist at Dow Chemical. He will talk to students about his experience at VSU and as an industrial chemist. He has worked in the formulation of elastic thin films for packaging applications, in polymerization of biodegradable polymers, and other polymers for the home care market. As a student, Michael was involved in SMACS, the pre-pharmacy club, and the VSU chapter of the NAACP. He performed summer research at Argonne National Lab and worked at QSpex Technologies immediately after graduation.
On February 16 at 12:30 pm, Dr. Jennifer M. Heemstra from Emory University will present a talk about her research of Chemical Biology Toolbox for RNA Post-transcriptional Modification and capture. Biomolecules are exquisitely adept at molecular recognition and self-assembly, enabling them to direct all of the processes that make life possible.These capabilities have been fine-tuned by billions of years of evolution, and more recently, have been harnessed in the laboratory to enable the use of biomolecules for applications beyond their canonical biological roles. The common thread that is woven throughout our research program is the utilization of nucleic acid molecular recognition and self-assembly to generate functional architectures for biosensing and bioimaging. We have harnessed photoaffinity labeling to covalently tag specific RNA transcripts with small-molecule fluorophore, subsequently enabling visualization of RNA localization and dynamics in living cells. We have also demonstrated the modulation of EndoV activity to enable selective enrichment of inosine-containing RNAs, which has enabled the identification of new A-to-I editing sites.
Drs. de la Garza, Focsan, and Sreenilayam earn BSRI Grants! Each received a $5000 award from the Blazer Summer Research Institute (BSRI) that provides funding for research chemicals and supplies and, more importantly, support student researchers working with each of these faculty. The three funded projects are:
Recycling of Iron Oxide for Photoelectrochemical Cells (de la Garza)
Oxidation potentials of carotenoids measured by cyclic voltammetry in nonpolar solvents (Focsan)
Exploring Deep Eutetic Solvents as Green Solvents for Biocatalyst-mediated Organic Transformations (Sreenilayam)
It is especially impressive that three Chemistry faculty earned this honor this year since BSRI funded only 5-10 projects across the whole university. Congratulations to Drs. de la Garza, Focsan, and Sreenilayam!
Southwest Georgia ACS Section Receives 2020 ACS ChemLuminary Award! The award is for activities by a small ACS section chapter in 2019. The Southwest Georgia Section (SOWEGA) significantly increased the frequency of its regular meetings and focused on diversifying meeting content and activities. The section sponsored public outreach events, supported student member programs and engaged with local industry. Most notably, the section applied Innovative Grant funding to broaden our interaction with local community at large and supporting diversity in science and beyond.
The 2019 SOWEGA Executive Committee that led these award-winning activities includes six VSU Chemistry faculty: Profs. Ligia Focsan (Past Chair), Donna Gosnell (Chair), Gopeekrishnan Sreenilayam (Chair-Elect), Dean Duncan (Secretary), Linda de la Garza (Councilor, NCW), and Tolulope Salami (Alternate Councilor).
2020 - December
Chemistry alumna Donna Law is Teacher of the Year! Ms. Donna Law was awarded Teacher of the Year honors at James Madison Preparatory High School (JMPHS). She teaches physical science, biology, anatomy and chemistry. Faculty remember Donna for being active in department activities and as a Noyce Scholar. Congrats Donna!
CoSM Honors Three Chemistry Faculty! The College of Science and Mathematics (CoSM) names Drs. Ligia Focsan and Gopeekrishnan Sreenilayam as 2021-2022 Research Scholars. These awards support their research projects "Measuring Oxidation Potentials of Carotenoids" (Focsan) and "Developing Protein-Polymer Nano-Constructs as Reusable Biocatalysts in Non-Aqueous Medium" (Sreenilayam).
CoSM honored Dr. Linda de la Garza as an inaugural CoSM Teaching Scholar to support improvements to her Quantitative Analysis course.
Congratulations to all three faculty!
VSU Celebrates National Chemistry Week! Although students and faculty are practicing social distancing and avoiding large gatherings, nothing can stop us from celebrating Science Saturday and National Chemistry Week. Dr. de la Garza and SMACS students brought chemistry to home- and virtually schooled students by preparing a series of educational and fun videos. Using household ingredients with the help of their parents, young viewers can perform their own chemistry experiments. Sticking with Chemistry and Disappearing Water videos are available on YouTube. Nice work, Dr. de la Garza!