2021 Undergraduate Student Commencement Awards

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2021 Ugrad Comm Awards 0

Each year at commencement we recognize our undergraduate students for their accomplishments in academics and in research.

The 2021 Chemistry & Biochemistry Undergraduate Commencement Awards have been announced. Congratulations to all the recipients listed below! 

These awards are normally presented to our students at the department’s annual commencement ceremony, which has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, we will be honoring our graduating undergraduate students through a virtual celebration on Saturday, June 12, 2021 at 12:00 p.m. Because the virtual celebration has been pre-recorded, it will be accessible at any time afterwards. The celebration will include a short speech by Department Chair Professor Neil Garg, recognition of our awardees, and the reading of the names of all of our graduating students. More information about the celebration will be available soon.  

The 2021 Undergraduate Student Departmental Awards were announced earlier this month. Learn more here.  Watch for more award announcements coming soon.

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

ACS Award for Outstanding Senior in Inorganic Chemistry

Luke Elissiry

Luke Elissiry (Chong Liu group) 

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ACS Award for Outstanding Senior in Organic Chemistry

Chandler Nelson Jonathan Wong

Chandler Nelson (Hosea Nelson group) and Jonathan Wong (Ken Houk group)

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American Institute of Chemists (AIC) Student Awards

Fadi Alsarhan

Fadi Alsarhan (Alexander Spokoyny group)

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Arthur Furst Commencement Award

The late Dr. Arthur Furst ’37, M.S. ’40, who was a Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of San Francisco, endowed this award to recognize the most outstanding research demonstrated by a UCLA chemistry or biochemistry major. Eva Rubin

Eva Rubin (Paula Diaconescu group)

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Daniel E. Atkinson and Charles A. West Commencement Prize in Metabolic Biochemistry

This award is named in honor of the second and third biochemists on the UCLA faculty, who taught generations of students over their forty-year careers and were largely responsible for the development of biochemistry within the department. Sueksitt Chantanapumma

Sueksitt Chantanapumma

(Gal Bitan group, Neurology)
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Susan Elizabeth Baumgarten Commencement Award

Alumna Susan Baumgarten (B.S. ’73, M.S.’76, M.B.A. ’79) established this award in 2019 to support chemistry and biochemistry undergraduate students. Fiona Tran

Fiona Tran (Catherine Clarke group)

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The Maria Rebecca and Maureen Bellettini Commencement Award

Established in 2019 by the Bellettini family, this award recognizes outstanding undergraduate students studying chemistry in the department. Zhuoting Tan

Zhuoting Tan (Ken Houk group) 

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The Dolores Cannon Southam Commencement Award for Outstanding Achievement in Research

This award is named in memory of Dolores Cannon Southam, who as a UCLA undergraduate worked for Professor Chris Foote. In honor of Dolores, this award is given in recognition of outstanding achievement in research. Esther Peluso

Esther Peluso (Steven Clarke group)

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Leonard Greiner Commencement Award

This award was established by family and friends in 2007 to honor the memory of alumnus Dr. Leonard Greiner ’43, a successful chemist who worked for many years to develop technical solutions to global warming.

Poojita Dasika Kevin Shaffman Ashton Davis

Poojita Dasika

(Robert Clubb group),

Kevin Shaffman

(Steven Clarke group), and

Ashton Davis

(Paula Diaconescu group)
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Raymond and Dorothy Wilson Commencement Award

These fellowships were established by alumnus Raymond A. Wilson (’43) and his wife Dorothy as a tribute to the UCLA chemistry professors who, more than seventy years ago, had such a profound impact on Raymond when he was a bright young chemistry student.

Kevin Shaffman Nam Phuong Ngoc Nguyen Fadi Alsarhani Kajsa Williams Jonathan Wong

Ahmad Mohammad Kassem

(not pictured),

Kevin Shaffman

(Steven Clarke group),

Nam Phuong Ngoc Nguyen


Fadi Alsarhani

(Alexander Spokoyny group),

Kajsa Williams

, and

Jonathan Wong

(Ken Houk group).
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The Verne Schumaker Commencement Award

Established by his family, friends, and UCLA colleagues, this award honors Professor Verne Schumaker who was a member of the UCLA biochemistry faculty from 1965 until is passing in 2017.

Erin Cole Nina Le Angel Ni Jaikin Patel Anqi (Nora) Zhou

Erin Cole, Nina Le (William Gelbart/Chuck Knobler group), Angel Ni, Jaikin Patel, and Anqi (Nora) Zhou (Robert Clubb group).

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