National Honor Society for Women in Chemistry



Mairead Bartlett is to be commended for her ability to succeed despite limitations beyond her control. Besides taking traditional, lecture-based courses, she also began independent organic chemistry research as a sophomore. Nominator Elizabeth Jamieson writes: "Mairead is not only an excellent student, but she excels at independent research as well."

Her research advisor, Professor David Gorin notes: "Mairead has made exciting progress on a very important problem. She is technically skilled in the lab, has maintained a positive attitude despite sometimes frustrating results, and is highly engaged. Perhaps more importantly, Mairead ably grasps the intellectual big picture of her project and is able to independently propose experiments and structure her time, which are unusual skills for undergraduate researchers." "I am convinced that Mairead has unusual potential to succeed at the highest level in whatever career path she chooses." "She is among the most self-aware learners I have encountered at Smith – she is exceedingly adept at identifying when her understanding is strong or weak and proceeding accordingly."

Professor Kate Queeny writes: "I would simply add that Mairead’s ability to study abroad in Paris for an entire year is yet another testament to both her intellect and her engagement."

Mairead writes about her own experience: "My time in France has been illuminating, and throughout the course of the year it has become more clear that I want to spend my life doing chemistry. At the end of the semester I’ll return to the United States to continue researching Chan-Lam cross coupling, both over the summer and as my senior undergraduate thesis. I plan on applying for Ph.D. programs in organic chemistry, most likely in organometallics. I aim to become a professor at an undergraduate institution so I can take an active role in both teaching and research. I want to encourage undergraduates to try their own hand in lab while still maintaining my role in the classroom. I have found my calling in chemistry, and I hope to one day share my enthusiasm with the next generation of chemists."


Vanessa Cupil-Garcia has not allowed the hurdles presented by growing up in a family that lived below the poverty line to impede her as she has pursued her interest in science. She began her studies with the general idea of a career in science or engineering, but after as she put it, being "exposed to the research process," she now wishes to throw her considerable energies into a career as a science professor. Her advisor Alexandra Ormond writes: "Vanessa has had a diverse research background experience by participating in research at Meredith College and two summer research programs at other institutions: Georgia Institute of Technology and Oregon Health and Science University. All of the research experiences were different and led Vanessa to continue to pursue studies in chemistry, although she is a chemistry and a biology double major at Meredith." She is among the top 1% of all chemistry students at Meredith in the past 20 years. Vanessa has also distinguished herself outside the classroom and laboratory with a number of service activities both within Meredith (as Student Government Association Senate Chair) and outside its walls that included both children and adults. Vanessa proved essential in obtaining official organization status at Meredith College for the Iron Chapter of Iota Sigma Pi, a metropolitan chapter in North Carolina. Vanessa has also been crucial for ACS at Meredith College. Professor Wald Powell writes: "Under her leadership, ACS has been instrumental in organizing numerous activities that entertain, lead to peer bonding and attract promising science students as chemistry majors by holding events like Mole Day, Internship Panel, Periodic Table Cupcakes Bash, and Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream Social." Her mentors speak highly of her work not only as a teaching assistant and a laboratory scientist, but also as a person committed to helping others. Vanessa will begin to put her determination into action next fall as a Ph.D. student in the Chemistry Department at Duke University. As for the future, she puts it most clearly herself - "My research experiences have taught me how to think like a scientist, and my experiences as a Latina woman have made me determined to help other students pursue their goals without being hindered by the social and economic obstacles that I encountered."


Crystal Gunther explains that, as a first generation college student, she has been influenced to take full advantage of every opportunity. Crystal has performed multiple successful research projects, has received several funding awards, has been employed in industry and academia, has been inducted into several honor societies (including Iota Sigma Pi), and has held leadership positions. Professor Walda Powell writes: "She is that rare student that strives to learn all she can and is truly a jewel to teach and work with." Dr. Alexandra Ormond writes: "Because of her research and academic performance, Crystal was selected as one of the 27 in the nation for the Society of Chemical Industry (SCI) Scholars Program in 2016 and interned at Chemtura in Naugatuck, CT, in summer 2016." Crystal writes: "After obtaining my Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, I will be attending graduate school at North Carolina State University to obtain my Ph.D. in analytical chemistry. Analytical chemistry intrigues me because of the immense problem solving requirements and the idea of developing more efficient analysis methods for analytes of interest." After obtaining her Ph.D. in analytical chemistry, Crystal plans to work in industry for a company that is environmentally conscious and has green chemistry practices. The award committee notes that Crystal has amassed an impressive collection of experience and expertise, and will most certainly make a significant impact in the world of science.


Tesia Chciuk, an outstanding graduate student in the Department of Chemistry at Lehigh University, conducts research in the laboratory of Professor Robert Flowers. Tesia’s research is designed to examine the role of solvent, water, and coordinating ligands on the chemistry of Sm(II)-based reductants. Tesia has six publications, one in review, and two papers in progress. Her work has appeared in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, Angewandte Chemie, the Journal of Organic Chemistry, and Organic Letters. In addition, she has a comprehensive book chapter on the impact of additives in Sm(II) chemistry. Tesia has proposed that Sm(II)-water complexes carry out reductions of organic substrates through proton-coupled electron-transfer (PCET). In PCET reactions, a proton and electron are transferred in a single kinetic step. The driving force for these reactions is a consequence of bypassing high-energy intermediates and transition states. Although this process is widely recognized it has only recently been employed in organic chemistry. Tesia is demonstrating that it is the basis for many reactions of Sm(II)-water complexes. Her high profile publications are changing the way chemists think about coordination to low-valent metals as a means to carry out formal hydrogen atom transfer to organic substrates to initiate free radical reactions of synthetic importance. Her advisor Flowers, writes: "Her work on the role of water coordination to low-valent reductants will potentially change the way synthetic organic chemists think about synthesis and the use of formal hydrogen atom transfer from Sm(II)-water complexes and related reagent systems as a means to generate free radicals important in the construction of complex molecules." Tesia’s most recent work has shown that Sm(II)-water complexes are not unique. The use of additives such as glycols and amides that ligate strongly to Sm(II) also promote PCET to organic substrates.

Tesia's research accomplishments clearly demonstrate that she will find success in future scientific endeavors as she exemplifies the perseverance and conviction to do so.


Dr. Amy Pollock obtained her B.S. in Biochemistry from Grove City College, Grove City, PA and Ph.D. in Chemistry from Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA. She is presently Director of General Chemistry, Department of Chemistry, Michigan State University.

As Director of General Chemistry, Dr. Pollock oversees the instruction of all freshman lecture and laboratory courses. In addition, she teaches CEM141 and 142 General Chemistry course each semester. These are large enrollment courses serving more than 4,400 students per semester. Beside teaching her own sessions, Dr. Pollock has done a fantastic job in organizing the courses so that there is a common standard and topics coverage across the board, enabling the courses to run very smoothly each semester. Furthermore, to enhance the learning experience, Dr. Pollock led the efforts in transforming the general chemistry curriculum and method of instruction to a NSF-supported general chemistry curriculum (Chemistry, Life, the Universe and Everything, CLUE). This curriculum relies on a very different teaching approach, including an interactive classroom, and homework and examinations that are hand written and drawn (not multiple choice). It was a colossal effort to adopt it for the large size classes at a university like Michigan State.

To hone her ability to be a more effective teacher, Dr. Pollock has attended many professional development seminars and workshops and is a recipient of various teaching awards, including:
    STEM Gateway Fellow, Michigan State University: 2014 - 2016
    AT&T Faculty-Staff Instructional Technology Award – General Chemistry Award for Excellence: 2015
    Michigan State University College of Natural Science Teaching Prize: 2013
    Faculty-Professional Women’s Association (FPWA), Michigan State University: 2009 Outstanding University Academic Staff Award

Dr. Pollock’s nominators were uniformly excited about her nomination:
"She has had a tremendous impact on our general chemistry program. She is a gifted and award winning teacher. It has been our great pleasure having her as our colleague."
Commenting on a course taught by Dr. Pollock: “I was astonished to see that there were more students in the auditorium than there were seats. Students were sitting in the aisles and on the steps, because word was out that she was a great teacher who would help them learn."
"I can think of no other person who would be as deserving of this award."

Student support letters commented on Dr. Pollock’s teaching and reiterated how she has gone above and beyond to help them be more effective as teaching assistants and undergraduate learning assistants. Dr. Pollock has been and still is a mentor to students:
"She can explain concepts in so many different ways and devotes herself to her students' learning. She is one of the most outstanding professors I have ever had." "She is an idol of guidance and leadership for undergraduate students here at the department." "Everybody in that room felt Dr. Amy's unparalleled energy, deep passion and truly caring attitude for undergraduate teaching." "She offered me one on one teaching training and she shared her experiences and teaching strategies related to chemistry teaching." "Her unparalleled support, care and love for undergraduate teaching has earned a staggering amount of respect from all her students and I feel that I am writing on behalf of all of those graduate and undergraduate students to express tremendous support she has from all of us."

The Centennial Award Judges were very impressed: "I am especially impressed with Dr. Amy Pollock at Michigan State University. Amy has been teaching for 12 years since receiving her Ph.D. and has not lost the initial drive and enthusiasm of a new instructor. This is wonderful! The fact that she has been able to continue developing new, effective teaching techniques attests to her dedication. I am most impressed by her ability to get her colleagues and staff on board with the massive overhaul of General Chemistry at a large institution. That makes a major difference in undergraduate education."
"The fact that students would attend her classes even if they were not registered (just to learn the material) is strong evidence of her excellence in teaching. That is more meaningful than student evaluation survey scores."

Iota Sigma Pi is happy to recognize Dr. Pollock’s teaching achievements with the 2017 Centennial Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching.


Dr. Barbara Finlayson-Pitts received her Honors B.Sc. degree in Chemistry in 1970 from Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario; M.S. (Chemistry) in 1971 from University of California, Riverside and Ph.D. (Chemistry) in 1973 from University of California, Riverside.

She was Professor of Chemistry, California State University, Fullerton in 1981-1994. In 1994, she became Professor of Chemistry at University of California, Irvine. In 2008, she formed and served as the Director of the AirUCI (Atmospheric Integrated Research at University of California, Irvine) Institute, the mission of which is to "address urgent challenges we face in air and water quality, human health, climate change, and green technology through the integration of research, education, and outreach".

Dr. Finlayson-Pitts' research area is in the elucidation at the molecular level of the chemistry and photochemistry of reactions of atmospheric interest, particularly those that form particles or take place on surfaces. Dr. Finlayson-Pitts' groundbreaking research over the last 30 years has established the molecular basis of reactions occurring in the atmosphere, particularly those at environmental interfaces and in airborne particles. Her research involves sophisticated laboratory experimental studies of complex systems under atmospherically relevant conditions, where new insights are supported and atmospheric implications quantified through close collaborations with field measurement scientists, theorists and atmospheric modelers. Her research has revealed exciting new fundamental processes important in the formation of photochemical air pollution. Dr. Finlayson-Pitts has published over 185 refereed research papers, given numerous invited research lectures and education lectures. She is consistently in demand as an invited lecturer, conference presenter and as members of editorial boards, including Science, International Reviews in Physical Chemistry, The Journal of Physical Chemistry, Journal of Environmental Science and Health, International Journal of Chemical Kinetics, Atmospheric Environment, Research on Chemical Intermediates.

In recognition of her research achievements, Dr. Finlayson-Pitts has received numerous prestigious awards and honors, including American Chemical Society Award for Creative Advances in Environmental Science and Technology, 2004. She was elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences in 2006. In the same year, she was named UCI Distinguished Professor. In 2008, she received the Tolman Medal of the Southern California Section of the American Chemical Society. In 2013, she was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry. In addition, she is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (1993), Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (1994), the American Geophysical Union (2002) and received UCI School of Physical Sciences Award for Outstanding Contributions to Undergraduate Education (1996-1997). From December 2014- December 2015, She co-Chaired the National Academy of Sciences Committee on the Future of Atmospheric Chemistry Research.

Prof. Finlayson-Pitts is perhaps best known to the broader scientific community for coauthoring two editions of the most influential book on atmospheric chemistry. "Chemistry of the Upper and Lower Atmosphere: Theory, Experiments, and Applications" by Finlayson-Pitts and James Pitts Jr., a 969-page magnum opus the most recent edition of which was published in 2000. This book is regarded as one of the most influential compendiums of atmospheric chemistry knowledge. It can be stated without exaggeration that every atmospheric chemist keeps this book close by and refers to it constantly. This book has taught the new generation of scientists and policy makers to appreciate a strong fundamental link between the molecular properties of atmospheric constituents and workings of the Earth atmosphere as a system.

Apart from garnering over $6,000,000 grant for her own research, Dr. Finlayson-Pitts has organized major research initiatives at UCI. She has also directed several major multi-investigator projects, which have brought over $17,000,000 in air pollution research funding to UCI.

In addition to its cutting edge research activities, AirUCI has conducted, under her leadership, significant outreach activities to the community in the form of “Community Day” showcases of the research activities, as well as an annual teacher training program, that consists of a two-week educational experience during which middle and high school teachers gain hands-on education and laboratory training in advanced subjects in atmospheric and environmental chemistry. The teacher program, which has trained 200 high-school and middle-school teachers since 2005, was highlighted as one of the top outreach efforts by 2008 National Academies' Chemical Sciences Roundtable (CSR) workshop "Strengthening High School Chemistry Education through Teacher Outreach Programs".

Prof. Finlayson-Pitts is not only a visionary scientist but also a passionate educator. She invests a lot of her energy on development of new educational material for undergraduate students and makes her work broadly available through a number of publications in educational journals. Prof. Finlayson-Pitts is a great mentor, and a strong proponent of the education and professional preparation of women at all levels. During her career, she has trained 30 graduate students, 38 postdoctoral researchers, and 30 undergraduate students, including more than 40 women. Her former trainees include faculty members, government officials, and a famous astronaut! She serves as the Faculty Advisor to the Iota Sigma Pi Calcium Chapter, and she is very active in this role. She has served on the Board of External Advisors to the Minority Opportunities in Research (MORE) Programs since 2004.

Iota Sigma Pi is happy to recognize Dr. Barbara Finlayson-Pitts’ outstanding research achievements and her exceptional contributions to her profession and to bestow on her this highest honor from the Society.


Dr. Jaqueline L. Kiplinger earned a B.Sc. in chemistry in 1990 from the University of Colorado, and a Ph.D. in organometallic fluorocarbon chemistry in 1996 from the University of Utah. Her thesis work on carbon-fluorine bond activation and functionalization garnered several awards including the Union Carbide Student Innovation Recognition Award (1996), the Iota Sigma Pi Anna Louise Hoffman National Award for Outstanding Achievement in Graduate Research (1996), and the American Chemical Society's Nobel Laureate Signature Award for the best Ph.D. thesis in the U.S. (1998). She spent two years as a Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley with Bob Bergman. She came to Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) as the first Frederick Reines Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow in 1999, and for her accomplishments, she received the Lab’s inaugural Postdoctoral Distinguished Performance Award in 2001. She joined LANL as a Technical Staff Member in Chemistry Division in July 2002.

Dr. Kiplinger is internationally recognized as a top researcher for organometallic actinide and lanthanide chemistry in the world today. Since joining Los Alamos as a staff scientist in 2002 she has published 74 research papers, and another three high-profile papers submitted. She is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Royal Society of Chemistry, and the American Institute of Chemists. In 2015, she was selected as the first woman to receive the F. Albert Cotton Award in Synthetic Inorganic Chemistry, sponsored by the F. Albert Cotton Endowment Fund. Kiplinger was honored for her work in establishing synthetic routes to novel uranium and thorium compounds that have opened up new frontiers in understanding the nature of bonding and reactivity in actinides. She is the first scientist at Los Alamos to have been honored with two national-level American Chemical Society awards, the first being the Nobel Laureate Signature Award for Graduate Education in Chemistry awarded in 1998.

According to her nominator, Dr. David Morris, Division Leader of the Chemistry Division at LANL, Dr. Kiplinger has never been content to devote herself solely to her research endeavors, and this is strongly reflected in her service to the broad scientific community and to ensuring a well-trained future workforce in chemistry. In particular, Dr. Kiplinger has served as an Alternate Councilor for the ACS’s Division of Inorganic Chemistry (2009-2011), on the Editorial Board for the ACS journal Organometallics (2010-2012), and most recently as the Chair-Elect and Chair for the Organometallic Chemistry Subdivision (2013-2015) in the ACS’s Division of Inorganic Chemistry. Dr. Kiplinger’s mentoring efforts have ensured that her people are recognized at the highest possible level. All of her previous postdoctoral associates have been nominated and successfully defended for Laboratory fellowships, and two in particular were successfully defended first as Director’s Fellows and subsequently as Reines Fellows. She was also successful in securing Postdoctoral Publication Prizes and outstanding PhD thesis prizes for her postdoctoral fellows.

Iota Sigma Pi is happy to recognize Dr. Jacqueline Kiplinger’s outstanding research achievements and her contributions to her profession with the Violet Diller Award for Professional Excellence.