‘Advice is a Type of Catalysis’ for New Graduate Students Attending Welcome Symposium

September 27, 2023
audience members sitting in seats

In chemistry, catalysis can accelerate a chemical reaction through the action of a distinct chemical species. In life, change often occurs as a result of the advice we heed from others.

Catalysis, in both forms, was the theme of featured speaker Scott Miller’s talk to the new cohort of graduate students at the Yale Chemistry Symposium (YCS) on Aug. 25.

The keynote address is traditionally a mix of one’s personal journey to science and their chemistry research, much like the day itself, where the new first-years get to know the department as people and as researchers.

Miller shared advice that’s guided him and quotes that have inspired him, such as E.B. White’s “Always be on the lookout for the presence of wonder.”

“This is an incredible watch word for us all as we go through our scientific careers,” said Miller, the Irénée du Pont Professor of Chemistry.

He continued by outlining the ‘presence of wonder’ throughout the history of asymmetric catalysis, including some examples from his own lab. Miller has made wide-ranging and seminal contributions to the discovery of new chemical transformations that enable the rapid synthesis of stereochemically complex structures. His research has far-reaching implications for medical chemistry at all stages in drug discovery and development.

The students attending the symposium also learned about the department through a whirlwind of a day, including morning orientation, facilities tours, graduate student research presentations and poster sessions, and a dinner social.

Several student awards were announced during the symposium, celebrating excellence in teaching, leadership, and chemistry research.

Congratulations to Award Winners

T.F. Cooke Teaching Awards

Erica Bocanegra
Ryan Donnelly
Teddy Gerard
Christine Quist
Katie Rinaolo
Matthew Tremblay
Rinco Wang
Steve Wang

American Chemical Society (ACS) Graduate Student and Postdoctoral Scholars Recognition Awards

Jessica Freeze, ACS Leadership in Research Safety
Josephine Jayworth, ACS Leadership in in Mentoring
Eleanor Stewart-Jones, ACS Leadership in Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Respect

Chemistry Research Fellowship Awards

Brandon Alexander, Wiberg Fellowship
Andrew Champlin, Berson Fellowship
Yuanzuo Gao, Roberts Fellowship
John Huang, Tully Fellowship
Nadiya Jaunbocus, Roberts Fellowship
Eddie Knab, Berson Fellowship
Kristian Olesen, Onsanger Fellowship
Marcus Vinicius Pinto Pereira, Jr. Wiberg Fellowship
Abhijit Rana, Tully Fellowship
Valentina Rangel-Angarita, Moore Fellowship
Anastasia Saar, Wasserman Fellowship
Eleanor Stewart-Jones, Moore Fellowship
Linda Zuckerman, Wasserman Fellowship

Thank you to the entire 2nd-year class of graduate students who volunteered in various roles to execute the orientation and symposium. A special thanks goes to YCS Co-Chairs Katie Rinaolo, Sadie Wolfarth, and Ashleigh Purvis for leading the charge.

See photos from the day.