2019-20/2022-23 Pauley Fellowship

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Graduate student Zisheng Zhang (Alexandrova group) has been awarded a Pauley Fellowship by the UCLA College of Letters and Sciences, Division of Physical Sciences. 

The 2019-20/2022-23 Edwin W. Pauley Fellowship fellowship program is designed to provide fellowship support to first-year chemistry graduate students with outstanding records and promise of scholarly achievement. Recipients receive a $15,000 stipend during years one and four, for a total of $30,000.

Zisheng is a first-year chemistry Ph.D. student in Professor Anastassia Alexandrova’s group. As an undergraduate at the Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) in China, Zisheng was the first chemistry student to visit UCLA as part of the Cross-Disciplinary Scholars in Science and Technology (CSST) program where he conducted summer research in Alexandrova’s group for ten weeks in 2018.  

“I am highly impressed with Zisheng,” said Alexandrova. “He is a true chemist in that he is comfortable with mechanisms, reactivity, and catalysis. For theory students this is a great advantage. His knowledge is deep, his mind is quick, and his love for science is infectious and driving.”

Zisheng’s research is in the field of theory of heterogeneous thermal and electrocatalysis on interfaces that tend to restructure in reaction conditions. A paradigm shift is required to understand these systems, as they present highly active metastable sites, but only in the reaction conditions. So these sites are not accessible in traditional simulations. Sometimes these sites are numerous, and then reaction mechanisms and rates emerge from the full ensemble of catalyst states. The picture quickly becomes highly complex, and requires innovative theory, approaches in modeling, as well as in catalyst characterization, and especially in design.

Penny Jennings, UCLA Departmernt of Chemistry & Biochemistry, penny@chem.ucla.edu.