Feb 8, 2019
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First-year graduate students Ernest Armenta, Milauni Mehta, Yi Shen, and Stephanie Tenney have been awarded 2019 Stone Graduate Fellowship Awards.
The fellowships are awarded by the UCLA College of Letters and Sciences in recognition of the recipients’ achievements.
The Irving and Jean Stone Graduate Fellowship Awards are made possible by the generosity of Jean Stone whose spouse, Irving Stone (1903-1989), was a best-selling biographical novelist. Jean worked in collaboration with him on his novels as researcher and editor. For five decades, Jean pursued a multitude of UCLA volunteer activities as well as offering financial support. She passed away in 2004 at the age of 93.
The 2019 Stone award recipients
The 2019 Stone Fellows – graduate students Ernest Armenta, Milauni Mehta, Yi Shen, and Stephanie Tenney.
About the 2019 Stone Fellows
Ernest Armenta is a first-year organic chemistry student working in Professor Keriann Backus’ group studying labelling of RNA binding proteins containing reactive cysteine residues. Ernest graduated from the University of California, Riverside in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience. He then graduated from California State University, Fullerton with a master’s degree in chemistry in 2017 where he worked in a medicinal chemistry lab designing novel inhibitors for the E6 protein of the Human Papillomavirus under Professor Alexandra Orchard. In his free time, Ernest likes to play video and board games, cooking, and hiking.
Milauni Mehta is a first-year organic chemistry graduate student working in Professor Neil Garg’s group studying nickel-catalyzed Suzuki-Miyaura cross coupling reactions. Milauni graduated from The Ohio State University in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and a minor in molecular genetics.  Milauni discovered her passion for organic chemistry in her sophomore year and decided to pursue undergraduate research in the area of cobalt-catalyzed hydrofunctionalizations of linear dienes under the supervision of Professor T. V. RajanBabu.  She was also involved in many extracurricular activities including working as a resident advisor in the dorms, a teaching assistant for the organic chemistry labs, an executive board member for the Ohio State chapter of the organization She's The First and participating in the Indian classical dance team OSU Inaayat.  “When I’m not in the lab, you can find me reading, dancing, doing puzzles, or watching movies!” said Milauni.
Yi Shen is a first-year inorganic chemistry graduate student working in Professor Paula Diaconescu’s group studying redox-switchable catalysis on hydrofunctionalization reactions. She was born in China and moved to U.S. at age of 17. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from UCLA in 2018. “I decided to stay at UCLA for graduate school because I love UCLA so much” said Yi.  “I have dreamed of being a professor since her high school, and one of the most exciting parts of being a graduate student is that I can start teaching”. In her spare time, Yi loves spending time with her family and her cat. She also enjoys skating and yoga as exercise.
Stephanie Tenney is a first-year materials chemistry graduate student working in Professor Justin Caram's group where she is studying the tunability of trap emission in Cd/Hg chalcogenide nanocrystals. Her research aims to understand interesting photophysics in these nanocrystals as well as expand the scope of materials which are emissive in the short wave infrared.  Stephanie graduated with a bachelor's degree in chemistry from Johns Hopkins University in 2018, where she worked on redox active coordination polymers under Professor Thomas Kempa. In her free time, Stephanie enjoys reading, hiking, painting, and drinking lots of coffee while snuggling with her cat. 
Article by Penny Jennings, UCLA Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, penny@chem.ucla.edu.