Pelkey and Chem Majors Present – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Pelkey and Chem Majors Present

The Pelkey Research Group, led by Professor of Chemistry Erin T. Pelkey, attended the 43rd National Organic Chemistry Symposium (NOS) between June 23 and 27 at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Held biennially to highlight recent advances in organic chemistry, the NOS is the premier event sponsored by the American Chemical Society Division of Organic Chemistry. This year’s Symposium included talks from organic chemists from around the world and featured poster sessions each night displaying research ranging in topics from synthesis to organometallics to biological applications.

HWS student chemists Amy van Loon ’14, Maeve Holton ’15 and Carly Rolph ’15 presented two posters about their research on the synthesis and reactions of 3,4-diaryl-3-pyrrolin-2-ones.

“The National Organic Chemistry Symposium was my first experience presenting our work, so it was a big stage for my debut as an organic research student, as most of the attendees were graduate students,” says Rolph, a double-major in chemistry and environmental studies.

“It was exciting to be able to present to such experienced chemists and it was very interesting to hear their feedback. My time at the National Organic Chemistry Symposium has helped me gain confidence in my work and made me realize the options I have after graduation.”

Holton, a chemistry major with plans of attending graduate school, added “as one of a small number of undergraduate students in attendance, my experience at the National Organic Chemistry Symposium significantly increased my appreciation for the uniqueness of the HWS research program and the opportunities that it affords.”

“The National Organic Chemistry Symposium provided an environment for us to get feedback and encouragement from people who have dedicated their lives to organic chemistry. Their enthusiasm for our work provided us with a new perspective on the research we have done,” said van Loon, a chemistry major and theater minor.

Recent HWS graduates and former Pelkey Research Group members. Taryn White ’13 and Catherine Downey ’13 also attended this year’s symposium, as did Associate Professor of Chemistry Justin Miller, who presented a poster on his research on the synthesis of the chemical compound Spiruchostatin A.

Attendance at the conference was made possible by a grant from the National Institute of Health; a travel grant from the Division of the Organic Chemistry awarded to Holton; and the generosity of Dr. Edward Franks ’72.  More information about the Pelkey Research Group can be found at:

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