Students Bring Home Grand Champion Award for Research

A team of four RU undergraduate chemistry students combined to earn the Grand Champion Award for interdisciplinary research at the Sigma Xi Graduate and Undergraduate Poster Colloquium at George Mason University.

Senior chemistry major Jacob Shelton also took first place in the undergraduate physical science division with his poster titled, "Synthesis of novel magnetic iron-carbon nano-composites for environmental applications."

"The team's hard work certainly paid off, and our research received unique recognition," said Francis Webster, the team's faculty mentor, after the April 27 event. "It is very exciting to have the interdisciplinary research being done at RU be honored at this level."

The RU team was awarded a plaque and a $300 cash prize. Joining Shelton on the award-winning team were senior chemistry major Rebekah Webster ("Nanostructured humic acid based materials for improved water purification"), senior chemistry major Craig Slate ("Composite films formed from chitosan alternated with glycerol-based carbon nano particles via layer-by-layer assembly") and junior chemistry major Dennis Godward ("Valorization of waste glycerol from biodiesel production.")

The team is now awaiting the results of its presentation of a water purification research and design project at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's People, Prosperity and Planet Student Design Competition recently in Washington, D.C. If successful, the RU team will be eligible for a second phase grant of up to $90,000 to develop its project and prepare it for the marketplace.

The two-day Sigma Xi event featured 21 posters on graduate- and undergraduate-level research projects in all areas of science and represented 15 universities and regional research organizations.

Founded in 1886, Sigma Xi is an international, multidisciplinary honor society of research scientists and engineers whose programs and activities promote the health of the scientific enterprise, reward excellence in scientific research and encourage a sense of companionship and cooperation among scientists in all fields. Sigma Xi has more than 500 chapters in North America and around the world at colleges and universities, industrial research centers and government laboratories.

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May 7, 2013
Don Bowman
(540) 831-7523