AnGayle (AJ) Vasiliou (Chemistry and Biochemistry) has received a National Science Foundation grant through the Research in Undergraduate Institutions (RUI) and an Undergraduate New Investigator grant from the American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund. The proposed work seeks to answer questions regarding the reaction mechanisms for the thermal decomposition of sulfur compounds encountered in petroleum and biofuels, which is currently poorly understood and in some cases completely unknown. This knowledge gap prevents any progress in refinery cleanup methodology, and the proposed work could lead to technology improvements in current desulfurization processes for both petroleum and biomass refineries. A total of twelve Middlebury undergraduates will be working with AJ on the NSF and PRF projects.
The other place AJ truly loves to invest her time is the Summer Posse immersion program, a two-week session held on campus involving the training and preparation for the incoming STEM Posse before they arrive on campus in the fall.
Posse recruits outstanding student leaders in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, D.C., Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans and New York, and sends them in teams (posses) to some of the most selective colleges and universities in the country. Middlebury has hosted a new Posse group from New York each year since 1999. In the fall of 2012, the College added a second Posse group from Chicago. In the fall of 2015, through an extended partnership with The Posse Foundation, Middlebury College started offering full-tuition scholarships annually to 10 urban students pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
“My major academic role is to design and teach a chemistry lab that will simulate a realistic college experience for the students. This past summer (2016) the lab was focused on spectroscopy and kinetics. This is one activity of many in the two-week program, but I’m very grateful to be part of such a wonderful program”. The lab that was designed and completed by the STEM Posse students for the summer immersion program has since been incorporated into Middlebury’s regular General Chemistry II lab series.