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Students “Do Chemistry” from Day One

Andrew Abeleira (sitting) and Professor James Kraly
Andrew Abeleira (sitting) and Professor James Kraly

Andrew Abeleira ’12 became an undergraduate research assistant to Professor James Kraly as a sophomore, focusing on polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH), a pollutant produced whenever organic matter is heated (such as roasting coffee beans or burning gas in a car). PAH accumulates in lichens, which become effective biomonitors of pollution. Abeleira and Kraly presented their findings on PAH levels in lichens at a national conference in Atlanta, Ga. (where Abeleira was the only undergraduate presenter), and were invited to an international conference at the University of Münster in Germany.

Abeleira is now in graduate school on a prestigious NSF fellowship at Colorado State University.

“I originally intended to be a biology major, but I realized in my freshman year that the interactions of molecular biology were heavily based in chemistry. So I switched to an emphasis on chemistry. Dr. James Kraly (Chemistry) and other professors entertain my questions and thirst for knowledge, and they create a professional yet enthusiastic atmosphere – you can tell they are supremely interested.”

James Ulcickas, Class of 2015, recipient of the first Markem-Imaje Scholarship in Chemistry. He also won a SURF (summer undergraduate research fellowship) award for 2013 to conduct further research with professors James Kraly and Denise Junge, which he will present at conferences during the next academic year.

“What’s not to like about chemistry? I’ve known since seventh grade that it would be a big part of my life. I am currently involved in an independent research project alongside my professors. I started with an undergraduate summer research fellowship under an NH-INBRE grant from Dartmouth College, sponsored by National Institutes of Health, and continued the research here at KSC. I’ve presented at many different conferences. I’m also part of the Chemistry Lyceum, a student-run organization chartered by the American Chemical Society.”

Shannon Krauss ’13 plans to enter a PhD program and teach at the college level.

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Emma Wilson
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