2020 Departmental Graduate Student Awards

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Each year we recognize our graduate students for their accomplishments in research and teaching, two of the primary missions of our university.

The 2020 Chemistry & Biochemistry Graduate Awards have been announced. Congratulations to all the recipients listed below! These awards are normally presented to students at the department’s annual awards ceremony and at Commencement, both of which have been postponed until later in the 2020-21 academic year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We will be honoring our graduating students through virtual celebrations in June. Learn more here.

We are incredibly grateful to our donors whose generous gifts make these awards possible.


These awards were established in 1988 by Dr. Ralph Bauer (B.S. ’52, Ph.D. ’58), recipient of our 2020 Alumni Legacy Award, and his wife Charlene. They are given to students who have advanced to candidacy and have excelled in research, teaching, and service.

Sarah AnthonyDaniel BaumannTim BoitDavid BoyerRachael Day
Anna KatakiSophia KingGa Young LeeJoseph OngKJ Winchell

(Clockwise from top left) Sarah Anthony (Garg lab), Daniel Baumann (Duan lab), Timothy Boit (Garg lab), David Boyer (Rodriguez lab), Rachael Day (Sletten lab), Anna Kataki (Sletten lab), Sophia King (Tobert lab), Ga Young Lee (Sletten lab), Joseph Ong (Torres lab), and KJ Winchell (Tolbert lab).


These awards are given to students who are graduating in 2020 and are awarded based on research excellence and productivity leading to an outstanding dissertation.

Jacob Dander

Boehringer Ingelheim-UCLA Dissertation Award for Excellence in Organic Chemistry

Jacob Dander (Garg lab)

Michael Yamano

Donald J. Cram Dissertation Award

Michael Yamano (Garg lab)

Chengzhang Wan  KJ Winchell

Jim and Barbara Tsay Dissertation Award

Chengzhang Wan (Duan lab) and KJ Winchell (Tolbert lab)

Joran DotsonAndrew Smaligo

Majeti-Alapati Dissertation Award

Jordan Dotson (Garcia-Garibay/Garg labs) and Andrew Smaligo (Kwon lab)

Robert Susick

Pfizer-UCLA Dissertation Award for Excellence in Organic Synthesis

Robert Susick (Garg lab)

Michelle Bradley

Roberts A. Smith Dissertation Award

Michelle Bradley (C. Clarke lab)

Katherine Bay

Saul and Sylvia Winstein Dissertation Award

Katherine Bay (Houk lab)

Emily Cosco

Theodore A. Geissman Dissertation Award

Emily Cosco (Sletten lab)

Yolanda Li  Wai Mak  Chuanzhen Zhao

Thomas and Ruth F. Jacobs Dissertation Award

Yolanda Li (Rubin lab), Wai Mak (Kaner) and Chuanzhen Zhao (P. Weiss lab)

Stephanie Aguilar

UCLA Chemists Association Dissertation Award in Inorganic Chemistry

Stephanie Aguilar (Kaner lab)

Jason Belling

UCLA Chemists Association Dissertation Award in Materials Chemistry

Jason Belling (P. Weiss lab)


The Jim and Barbara Tsay Excellence in Second Year Research and Academics Awards are given to third-year graduate students who performed exceptionally in courses, teaching, and research throughout their first and second years and have advanced to candidacy.  Preference is given to students who have published one or more research papers from their graduate studies and maintained a core GPA ≤ 3.70.

Kierstyn Anderson  Jason Chari  Yao Gong  Zach Hern

Irene Lim  Sepand Nistanaki  Chenxiang Wang  Benjamin Wigman

(Clockwise from top left) Kierstyn Anderson (Spokoyny lab), Jason Chari (Garg lab), Yao Gong (P. Weiss lab), Zach Hern (Diaconescu lab), Irene Lim (Sletten lab), Sepand Nistanaki (Nelson lab), Chenxiang Wang (Kaner lab), and Benjamin Wigman (Nelson lab).


The Michael E. Jung Excellence in Teaching Awards are given to students who have excelled as teaching assistants (TAs) as reflected in undergraduate student evaluations and faculty nomination letters.

Katherine BayNick BernierBoit%2C%20Tim 200 0Michele BradleyRachel DayMary Waddington GrumblesJesus IniguezCooper JamiesonWonhyeuk JungNatalie KashanchiRhacel KnappMilauni MehtaEmily MurzinskiLisa PangilinanAshley ShinLuke SistoKatie SpenceDane StanfieldCheylene TanimotoChloe Williams

(Clockwise from top left) Katherine Bay (Houk lab), Nick Bernier (Spokoyny lab), Timothy Boit (Garg lab), Michelle Bradley (C. Clarke lab), Rachael Day (Sletten lab), Mary Waddington Grumbles (Spokoyny lab), Jesus Iniguez (Liu lab), Cooper Jamieson (Houk/Tang labs), Wonhyeuk Jung (Loo lab), Natalie Kashanchi (Tolbert lab), Rachel Knapp (Garg lab), Milauni Mehta (Garg lab), Emily Murzinski (Harran lab), Lisa Pangilinan (Kaner lab), Ambarneil Saha (Rodriguez lab) (not pictured), Ashley Shin (Caram lab), Luke Sisto (Harran lab), Katie Spence (Garg lab), Dane Stanfield (Schwartz lab), Cheylene Tanimoto (Gelbart lab), and Chloe Williams (Nelson lab).


The Excellence in Research Awards are given to students who have advanced to candidacy. These awards are based on research excellence and productivity.

Roselyn Rodrigues

Dafni Amirsakis Memorial Excellence in Research Award

Roselyn Rodrigues (Liu lab)

Scott McConnell

Daniel E. Atkinson and Charles A. West Excellence in Research Award

Scott McConnell (Clubb lab)

Cooper Jamieson

Don C. Atkins Excellence in Research Award

Cooper Jamieson (Houk lab)

Daniel EstabrookJoseph Jaye

Donald J. Cram Excellence in Research Award

Daniel Estabrook (Sletten lab) and Joseph Jaye (Sletten lab)

Christopher Jones Amy Lai

Ernest F. Hare, Jr. Excellence in Research Award

Christopher Jones (Nelson lab) and Amy Lai (Diaconescu lab)

Ruxi DaiIeva Liepuoniute

George Gregory Excellence in Research Award

Ruxi Dai (Diaconescu lab) and Ieva Liepuoniute (Houk lab)

Liubo LiWenfei Li

John Stauffer Excellence in Research Award

Liubo Li (Harran lab) and Wenfei Li (Neuhauser lab)

Syndee GreenMarcus JellenStanislav Popov

Majeti-Alapati Excellence in Research Award

Sydnee Green (Nelson lab), Marcus Jellen (García-Garibay lab) and Stanislav Popov (Nelson lab)

Fang-Chu Lin

Maria Rebecca and Maureen Bellettini Excellence in Research Award

Fang-Chu Lin (Zink lab)

Calina Glynn

Roberts A. Smith Excellence in Research Award

Calina Glynn (Rodriguez lab)

Harrison Mills

Thomas and Ruth Jacobs Excellence in Research Award

Harrison Mills (Spokoyny lab)


To contribute to the Graduate Student Awards Program or to establish a new named award or fellowship, please contact Joy Kruger at 310-206-8023 or jkruger@support.ucla.edu. Your gift of any size will directly impact one of our world-class students and aspiring scientists!

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