ONEONTA, N.Y. -- Michelle Linder, a junior chemistry major at SUNY Oneonta, has been named the first undergraduate student ever to receive the Joseph Breen Memorial Fellowship from the American Chemical Society. The international award sponsors a young scholar of green chemistry to participate in an international green chemistry technical meeting, conference, or training program. Linder will use the award to travel to the 2012 American Chemical Society annual meeting in San Diego.
“When I found out that I had been selected to receive the Breen Fellowship, I was absolutely astounded,” Linder said. “At the time I applied for it, I assumed that winning was a long shot since this is an international award. But this just goes to show that you never know until you try.”
The Joseph Breen Memorial Fellowship was established
in 2000 to commemorate the first Director of the Green Chemistry Institute. Of the previous eight winners of the Breen Fellowship, five were doctoral students and three post-doctoral students. One was from England and another from Malaysia. They represented institutions such as Yale, the California Institute of Technology, and the Scripps Research Institute.
“Receiving a prestigious Breen Fellowship is a tremendous honor for Ms. Linder, a point of pride for our Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and a feather in the cap of SUNY Oneonta,” said Provost F. Daniel Larkin. “This recognition demonstrates the college’s commitment to scholarship within the STEM—science, technology, engineering and math—disciplines, and supports our reputation as an institution dedicated to excellence in teaching and learning.”
Linder was recognized for research she conducted as a member of the BLONDES (Building a Legacy of Outstanding New Developments and Excellence in Science) student-research group led by Dr. Jacqueline Bennett of the SUNY Oneonta Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. The group developed a “green” imine synthesis as a research experience in organic chemistry.
“I am extremely honored to be the recipient of this award,” said Linder. “However, none of this would have been possible without the guidance and support of my faculty mentor, Dr. Jacqueline Bennett, and the BLONDES.”
At SUNY Oneonta, Linder was the recipient of a Student/Faculty Grant for Research and Creative Activity for “Formation of Metal-Ligand Complexes with Imines” and the Award for Excellence in Freshman Chemistry. With the BLONDES group, she was recently recognized with a 2011 College at Oneonta Foundation Award for Excellence in Student Research and Creative Activity. Among the projects that the group worked on were “Lactic Acid as a Green Catalyst for Imine Synthesis,” “Green Synthesis of Imines from p-Ethoxyaniline and Various Aldehydes,” and “Green Synthesis of Imines Derived from a Common Topical Anesthetic.”
A recipient of the SUNY Oneonta Chemistry and Biochemistry Department Scholarship, Linder has been accepted to the Chemistry Research Experiences for Undergraduates “Global Sustainability through Chemistry” program at the University at Buffalo, in which she will participate this summer.