Graduation 2018

Posted on

Amstutz speech 18 small

Photos from the 2018 Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry Commencement Ceremony and a video of Dr Harlan Amstutz’s commencement address are now available.

At the ceremony on Saturday, June 16, 2018, the UCLA Chemistry & Biochemistry 2018 Alumni Award was presented to commencement speaker Dr. Harlan Amstutz (’53, MD ’56), founding director of the Joint Replacement Institute at St. Vincent Medical Center in Los Angeles. Amstutz was joined at the event by his wife Patti Amstutz and his grandson Stephan Hodge and Stephan’s girlfriend Hayley Ellelson.

The video of Chair and Professor Catherine Clarke’s introduction, the alumni award presentation by Professor Miguel Garcia-Garibay, Dean of the Division of Physical Sciences at the UCLA College, and Dr. Amstutz’s commencement address can be viewed here. Select photos from the event can be viewed below and a gallery of candid photos from the day can be viewed here.

Grad18 6 0Grad18 7Grad18 5Grad18 8Grad18 9Grad18 10Grad18 11

At the reception for undergraduate and graduate award recipients, Norman and Gina Gold had an opportunity to meet undergraduate students Paul Chong and Karina Nugroho, recipients of the Gold Family Foundation Award, which were presented at the Departmental Awards ceremony this spring. Mr. Gold is the son of alumnus Dr. Marvin Gold and his wife Sophye Gold, who established the award.

37 doctoral graduates were honored at the ceremony. “Each candidate for the degree of doctor of philosophy—in Chemistry or a doctor of philosophy in Biochemistry, Molecular and Structural Biology—has mastered their subject at the very highest level” said Department Chair Professor Catherine F. Clarke. “They have each completed independent research and have made original discoveries about nature. They know the challenges of having to surmount intellectual obstacles that seem at first glance to be impossibly difficult and complex. They have struggled countless hours with sophisticated equations and equipment and have ridden the waves of small and big successes….  and failures…   along the road to completion of their demanding coursework and research. Perhaps most importantly, they have experienced the joy of discovery, a feeling that has changed their lives forever.  Every one of these students has carried out novel research that has advanced our understanding of the nature of matter or the molecular basis of life.”

Five departmental scholars received Master of Science degrees. Department Scholars participate in a program that allows them to receive both Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees concurrently.

242 undergraduates received their 2018 bachelor’s degrees at the ceremony. Of the graduating class:193 received degrees in biochemistry, 33 in chemistry, 16 in chemistry/materials science, five double majors, 11 students with a minor, and two students with a specialization

Graduate and undergraduate award winners (listed below) were recognized for their achievements at the ceremony. Many thanks to our generous donors who made the awards possible!

Graduate Student Dissertation Awards

GraduateAwardees18 0

Saul and Sylvia Winstein Award
Brian Levandowski (Houk group)

Biochemistry Award
Yuxi Liu (Yeates group)

Inorganic Chemistry Award
Georgiy Akopov (Kaner group)

Inorganic Faculty Chemistry Award
Mufan Li (Duan group)

Physical Chemistry Award
John Abendroth (P Weiss group) and Mai-Anh Ha (Alexandrova group)

The Pfizer-UCLA Dissertation Award for Excellence in Organic Synthesis
Emma Baker-Tripp and Elias Picazo (Garg Group)

Elsevier Reaxys-UCLA Dissertation Award for Outstanding Contributions to Organic Chemistry
Jeong Hoon “JK” Ko (Maynard group)

Materials Chemistry Award
Mengping Li (Kaner group)

TCI-UCLA Dissertation Award for Outstanding Contributions to Organic Synthesis
Junyong Kim (Garg group)

Thomas L. and Ruth F. Jacobs Award
Emma Pelegri-O’day (Maynard group)

Undergraduate Student Awards


Arthur Furst Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research 
Inwhan Roh (Kaner group)

Dolores Cannon Southam Award for Excellence In Research
Alexander Laughlin and Tate Reuter (Diaconescu group) 

Dunn Award for Excellence in Biochemistry
Emma Carley (Quinlan group)

Daniel E. Atkinson & Charles A. West Biochemistry Undergraduate Prize in Metabolic Biochemistry
Evelyn Hernandez (Rodriguez group)

Alpha Chi Sigma Achievement Award
Claire Page (Tang group)

Ramsey Award for Excellence in Research
Shang-Lin Tsai (Lin group)

Geissman Award for Excellence in Organic Chemistry
Wei Li (Houk group)

Ethel Terry Mccoy Award for Excellence in Chemistry & Biochemistry
Paige Curson (Kaner group), Chantel Mao (Spokoyny group), Joyce Samson (Chanfreau group), and Yi Shen (Diaconescu group) 

Photos by GradImages for UCLA Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry. Video by Dean Ishida/UCLA. To obtain high resolution versions of any of the candid photos from graduation, please contact Penny Jennings,, 310-825-9809.