Chemistry Students Stand Out at Research Convention

Chemistry students at 2018 ISCC

Arka Rao '18, Daniel Boehmler '20, Henry Wilson '18, Deondre Jordan, and Linda Lin '20 attended the annual convention, which is the oldest of its kind in the U.S.

On April 7, 2018, five Swarthmore students attended the 82nd Annual Intercollegiate Student Chemists Convention (ISCC) hosted by Elizabethtown College. The meeting gathered over 200 undergraduate students from 15 academic institutions. This year marked the first time Swarthmore has sponsored a trip to the ISCC, where participants give oral presentations followed by a Q&A session about their research.

“Road trips are always fun, especially when you’re with others who share your passions for chemistry as well as for blasting tunes and making spontaneous stops on the way home,” says Arka Rao '18.

The student attendees included Rao, a chemistry major from Albany, N.Y., Henry Wilson ‘18, a chemistry major from Jacksonville, Fla., Deondre Jordan ‘19, an honors chemistry major from Philadelphia, Pa., Daniel Boehmler ‘20, a biology major from Lousville, Colo., and Linda Lin ‘20, an honors biochemistry major from New York, N.Y. They represented three labs within the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry: those of Professors Kathryn Riley, Christopher Graves, and Liliya Yatsunyk.

Rao, Wilson, Jordan, and Lin all gave talks at the conference about the research they have been conducting over multiple semesters and summers. There were four concurrent sessions focused on inorganic, physical, analytical, and organic chemistry, each evaluated by two judges. The conference concluded with the plenary lecture and an awards ceremony. The talks by Wilson and Lin were recognized for their excellence with second-place awards in the inorganic and biochemistry divisions, respectively.

The conference was an especially valuable experience where the attendees presented the research they are so passionate about and learned about the cutting edge work conducted by their peers at other institutions.  

“It was a lot of fun to summarize my research in a PowerPoint form to a panel of judges as well as an audience who was genuinely interested in my work, says Rao. "They all asked very insightful questions that helped me think about new ways to optimize my research. Overall, the ISCC was a fantastic opportunity for me. I hope students continue to attend and present over the coming years.”