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TAMIU Students Present at National Conference in Boston Posted: 9/24/15

TAMIU Students Present at National Conference in Boston

 

Melissa Cadena and Dr. Kameron Jorgensen
 

A student at Texas A&M International University received the top prize for undergraduate research at the 250th American Chemical Society (ACS) National Meeting held in Boston last month.

Melissa Cadena, TAMIU senior, chemistry, won an award for her poster presentation on computational chemistry methods to study bromine halocarbons—greenhouse gases which lead to the breakdown of the ozone.

Several judges agreed that Cadena’s presentation, “Thermochemical study of halocarbons: Brominated methane, ethane, ethylene, and acetylene derivatives,” was “of exceptional quality and would be of broad interest to members of the COMP (Computers in Chemistry) division,” wrote Maria Nagan, professor and chair, Adelphi University, COMP Undergraduate Programming.

“The focus of my research has been on accurately predicting enthalpies of formation of these greenhouse gases to be used in climate-chemistry models for predictions of future weather patterns. I use various computational methods and compare their ability to predict enthalpies of formation by comparing them to experimental values when available,” explained Cadena.

Antonio Jimenez, Marcelia Rosan, and Melissa Cadena
TAMIU Students In Boston
Texas A&M International University students traveled to Boston recently to present their research at the 250th American Chemical Society (ACS) National Meeting.  Left to right are Antonio Jimenez, Marcelia Rosan, and Melissa Cadena.  The students were accompanied by Texas A&M International University’s Dr. Kameron Jorgensen, assistant professor of chemistry.


“When I started working in Dr. Kameron Jorgensen’s research group, I did not know a single thing about computational chemistry. Two years later, I feel I have learned a lot and winning an award has been very exciting,” said Cadena.

Dr. Jorgensen, assistant professor of chemistry, TAMIU College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Biology and Chemistry, took Cadena, Antonio Jimenez, junior, chemistry, and Marcelia Rosan, junior, biology, to the ACS Meeting to present their research and have the opportunity to enhance their research efforts and career paths.

Jimenez and Rosan presented their research on triclosan derivative effects to aid in the development of enhanced anti-malarial drugs.

“Attending conferences is a great way to enhance students’ college experience and for them to gain connections inside their discipline. Presenting at conferences gives them the upper hand when applying for jobs and graduate schools because of the networking that’s fostered during conferences. It also shows initiative, dissemination of their research findings and a desire to keep up with cutting edge research. It’s a wonderful way to put your best foot forward when looking toward the next step in your career pathway,” explained Dr. Jorgensen.

Presenting at conferences not only enhances a student’s future, it leads to higher retention of students, particularly in STEM, and improves their overall GPA, she noted.

“These benefits, along with many others, has led to TAMIU’s current Quality Enhancement Plan, ‘ACT on IDEAs,’ focusing on undergraduate research,” Jorgensen said.

Cadena’s research was a continuation of research she presented at the 2015 Lamar Bruni Vergara and Guillermo Benavides Z Academic Conference. She took second place in the undergraduate biology and chemistry poster awards at that Conference.

“I’ve encouraged Melissa to apply for the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program funded through the National Science Foundation which has previously funded her research at Rochester University during summer 2014 and at Texas State University during summer 2015,” added Jorgensen.

There is an additional benefit to being awarded a top prize. Cadena received a cash prize of $100 in addition to a certificate.

For more information, contact Jorgensen at 956.326.2568 or kameron.jorgensen@tamiu.edu or visit offices in Lamar Bruni Vergara Science Center, room 307.