2024 Senior Foote Fellows

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Prof. Christopher Foote

Third-year organic chemistry graduate students Jordan Gonzalez (Garg lab), Daniel Seungwook Min (Doyle lab), Madeline Ruos (Doyle lab), and Georgia Scherer (Garg lab) have been named the 2024 Senior Foote Fellows.

The Senior Foote Fellowships support our most outstanding third-year graduate students upon completion of their qualifying examination for their Ph.D. degree and the Junior Foote Fellowships support our most promising applicants to our graduate program. All Foote Fellows are chosen by the UCLA organic chemistry faculty. In addition to be honored, all Foote Fellows receive a stipend spread out between two academic years.

The 2024 Senior Foote Fellows – Jordan Gonzalez, Daniel Seungwook Min, Madeline Ruos, and Georgia Scherer.

The Christopher S. Foote Fellowship in Organic Chemistry was established in 2005 by his former co-workers and UCLA colleagues to honor UCLA organic professor Dr. Christopher S. Foote on his 70th birthday. Foote (pictured at top) and his wife, Professor Judi Smith, donated the remaining funds needed to fully fund the endowment. Sadly, Foote passed away soon after the fellowship was established. His 43-year academic career at UCLA established Foote as one of the world leaders in the field of physical organic chemistry.

UCLA is fortunate to benefit from the continuing outstanding service and support of Smith, who was the Dean of Undergraduate Education and the Founding Dean of the UCLA Herb Albert School of Music.

About the 2024 Senior Foote Fellows

Jordan Gonzalez received a B.A. in chemistry and mathematics from Lewis & Clark College in the spring of 2021. There, he performed studies of molybdenum-catalyzed sulfide oxidation reactions under the guidance of Professor Louis Kuo. He began pursuing his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry at UCLA in the summer of 2021, and he is currently a member of the laboratory of Professor Neil Garg. His current project focuses on the total synthesis of an alkaloid natural product which involves the use of a fleeting, strained intermediate. Jordan is greatly appreciative of the support and generosity of the Foote and Smith families!

Daniel Seungwook Min was born in Seoul, Korea and grew up in New York and Korea. He received his B.S. in chemistry and a minor in computer science from Carnegie Mellon University in 2021. He is currently a third-year Ph.D. student in Professor Abigail Doyle’s laboratory, where his research focuses on applying machine learning techniques to organic chemistry. Specifically, he applies large language models to organic chemistry literature and utilizes bayesian optimization for condition reaction optimization for organic reactions.

Madeline Ruos was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. She graduated from Scripps College in 2021 with a B.A. in chemistry, where she worked with Professor Anna Wenzel designing an enantioselective, Lewis acid-catalyzed allenoate-Claisen rearrangement. Before her graduate studies, she worked as a process chemistry intern for Denali Therapeutics. At UCLA, Madeline is a rising 4th year student in Professor Abigail Doyle’s laboratory. In the Doyle lab, she works on developing new catalytic methods for nucleophilic fluorination and photoredox-catalyzed C–H activation. Additionally, her research focuses on applying newly-developed machine learning and data science tools to novel catalytic methods. She is actively involved in measures to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in UCLA’s Chemistry and Biochemistry Department, currently serving as the chair of professional development for UCLA’s Organization for Cultural Diversity in the Sciences, among other activities. Outside of lab, Madeline enjoys rock climbing, going to museums, exploring nature, and watching her favorite sports team, the Green Bay Packers.

Georgia Scherer grew up in Oakland, California, and obtained her bachelor’s degree from Claremont McKenna College in biochemistry. While at Claremont, she isolated and characterized ecologically relevant antifungal molecules with Professor Ethan Van Arnam. After graduation, she spent a year working at Bachem Americas Inc. as a peptide purification chemist. She began pursuing her Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry at UCLA in the summer of 2021, and she is currently a member of the laboratory of Professor Neil Garg. In the Garg lab, Georgia has worked on a variety of projects thus far but has primarily focused on the development of strained intermediate chemistry, focused on strained cyclic allenes and strained cyclic trienes. Outside of lab work, she is also involved in the Garg lab’s educational initiatives and outreach efforts, including the development of a new chemistry camp, Chem Kids. 

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