MHC Students Win Top Chem Poster Prize

Posted: August 29, 2007

Facing stiff competition primarily from graduate students, Mount Holyoke chemistry majors Leigh Foster '08 and Katharyn Fletcher '09 walked away with a coveted poster award at the Fall Physical Chemistry Poster session of the 2007 national American Chemical Society meeting in Boston August 19-23. Only six physical chemistry student poster awards are given at the Fall ACS meeting each year.

Fletcher's and Foster's poster was titled "Effect of dopant on perovskite proton conduction pathways." Proton conduction in perovskite oxides has potential application in fuel cells, humidity sensors, and batteries.

Fletcher and Foster have been working on this project for a year and have already published one paper on their work in the Journal of Chemical Physics, in conjunction with associate professor of chemistry Maria Gomez and a number of other MHC students and recent alumnae. That paper, "Comparison of proton conduction in KTaO3 and SrZrO3," was published in 2007 and is available online through a Web page maintained by Gomez and her students (link below).

Both Fletcher and Foster are chemistry majors; Fletcher double majors in German and Foster has computer science as a minor. Foster is from Waterford, Connecticut, while Fletcher is from Arlington, Massachusetts.

Gomez noted, "With a little bit of friendly competition, Katie and Leigh have pushed each other to excel. Having the background of a published paper and a good start on the simulations for a second, their poster contained an impressive body of work that was easily at a graduate student level. Congratulations to Leigh and Katie for a superb poster presentation earning them one of the national physical chemistry poster awards!"

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