NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program honors nine Chemistry student community members

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (4/26/2023) – Nine members of the Department of Chemistry student community were recently honored with recognition by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (NSF GRFP). Briana Krupinsky, Grace Murphy, Timmy Nguyen, and Ulises Perez were awarded fellowships, and Mrinalni Iyer, Killian MacFeely, Wallee Naimi, Miles Willis, and Ali Younis received honorable mentions.

Briana Krupinsky is a second-year graduate student in the Lamb group. She joined the UMN community after completing her undergraduate studies at the University of North Dakota. Briana investigates N-hetereocyclic carbene-carbodiimide (NHC-CDI) adducts for application as catalyst precursors in organocatalysis. At the moment, this includes working towards understanding the thermodynamic and kinetic properties of NHC-CDI adducts for well-controlled catalysis. One of Briana’s research goals is to develop a light-activated NHC-CDI catalyst precursor to achieve spatiotemporal control for the synthesis of polymers.

Grace Murphy, a member of the Hoover lab, came to UMN after completing her undergraduate studies at Saint Louis University. One of her long-term goals as a chemist is to study and develop transition metal catalyzed reactions that are used in organic chemistry. She is particularly interested in understanding the structure-reactivity relationships that make difficult reactions possible. Grace is currently working towards understanding the mechanism of nickel catalyzed/mediated decarbonylation, a reaction that has potential future applications to the synthesis of pharmaceuticals to polymer upcycling.

Timmy Nguyen first came to UMN for a summer research experience program in 2022, right before his senior year at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. He officially joined the graduate program in 2023 as a member of the Haynes group. Timmy is interested in anisotropic nanoparticles as substrates and recently started working on a project to synthesize silica-coated gold nanorods for use in SERS sensors. He is also passionate about participating in outreach activities through Science for All, a student group that works to bring the excitement of science to Minnesota middle schools.

Ulises Perez, a Spring 2023 graduate from the UMN Chemistry undergraduate program and current PhD student at University of Washington, was also awarded a fellowship.

The NSF GRFP recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees at accredited United States institutions. The program also seeks to support the participation of underrepresented groups in STEM graduate studies.

Mrinalni Iyer, Killian MacFeely, Wallee Naimi, Miles Willis, and Ali Younis received honorable mentions for their applications. The Department of Chemistry congratulates all nine students on this significant national academic achievement!