Students attend conference

The chemistry department took 18 students and seven faculty members to the annual Southeastern Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society (SERMACS) to present and view research.

Scientists, professors and students from several states in the southeast attended the conference. Different universities come each year to present research. There were 1,700 people at SERMACS this year, with 1,207 of them presenting research.

There were 271 undergraduate students who presented posters and 32 who gave oral presentations. Of the 18 FMU students who attended the conference, 10 presented posters.

FMU faculty were the primary authors on seven posters and one oral presentation. Some also served as symposia session presiders or judges for the undergraduate poster competition.

Enoch Adogla, Dr. Allen Clabo, Dr. Jennifer Kelley, Dr. Jessica McCutcheon, Dr. Pete Peterson, Dr. Kris Varazo, Dr. Ken Williams and Travis Ragsdale were faculty who participated.

At the end of the trip, students and professors had the opportunity to listen to two well-known guest speakers in the field of chemistry. The first speaker was Martin Chalfie, who was one of three scientists to earn the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 2008 for his work with green fluorescent protein. The second speaker was Harry Gray, who won the 1991 Priestly Medal.

Kelley served as a member of the organizing committee for the conference.

“For me, I got to see my graduate research advisor, and I haven’t seen him in 10 years,” Kelley said. “The unfortunate part was I had laryngitis so I didn’t get to talk to him. But I did get a picture with him.”

Kelley said the reward was to see what the students learned at the conference.

“For them, it’s new,” Kelley said. “I always hear from students, either after the trip or people that have gone that tell me how much they really enjoy that trip and that it was one of the highlights of their college career.”