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Best In Class

Chemistry major earns prestigious scholarship at national conference.

Springfield, Ohio—Demonstrating the power of student-faculty collaborative research, Garrhett Via ’15 from Geneva, Ohio, was awarded the James Manner Award Scholarship for Best Undergraduate Poster at the 2015 Pittsburgh Conference on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy (Pittcon), the world’s largest annual premier conference for laboratory science, held March 8-12 in New Orleans.

One of the 16,000 conference attendees from 90 different countries representing industry, academia, and government, Via received the award from the wife of the late chemist Dr. James Manner for his poster, Investigation of a One-Step Synthesis-Grafting Method to Modify Glassy Carbon Electrodes.

“The general idea of my research was the development of a unique method to attach certain molecules to the surfaces of glassy carbon electrodes. The research that I did focused on detecting copper ions in water-based solutions,” Via said.

Via was one of two students who attended Pittcon with professor of chemistry and department chair Kristin Cline. Chi Nguyen ’16 presented research she conducted last summer with her mentor Sarah Fortner, professor of geology and environmental science.

With more than 80 percent of Wittenberg’s chemistry majors participating in research during their four years, Cline is eager to help hard-working students present their findings. Cline, who has been attending Pittcon with students for the last ten years, said Via’s award came as a surprise to the both of them.

“Garrhett spoke articulately and enthusiastically to poster session attendees,” Cline said. “I am thrilled that his hard work has been rewarded in this way and that our research captured this positive attention.”

Proud to represent Wittenberg “at such a large and respected venue as Pittcon,” Via plans to continue pursuing his passion for science in medical school at The Ohio State University following his graduation with a B.S. in chemistry this spring.

“I hope that others take note of Wittenberg’s fantastic science program and its opportunities for great research,” he said.

Via’s research was made possible by generous funding Virginia Ellis Franta ’36 and Wittenberg Board of Directors member David Baines. Student travel funds were provided through an endowed scholarship in honor of Professor Emeritus Nelson Sartoris.

Written by: Madeline Geiger ‘16

About Wittenberg

Wittenberg's curriculum has centered on the liberal arts as an education that develops the individual's capacity to think, read, and communicate with precision, understanding, and imagination. We are dedicated to active, engaged learning in the core disciplines of the arts and sciences and in pre-professional education grounded in the liberal arts. Known for the quality of our faculty and their teaching, Wittenberg has more Ohio Professors of the Year than any four-year institution in the state. The university has also been recognized nationally for excellence in community service, sustainability, and intercollegiate athletics. Located among the beautiful rolling hills and hollows of Springfield, Ohio, Wittenberg offers more than 100 majors, minors and special programs, enviable student-faculty research opportunities, a unique student success center, service and study options close to home and abroad, a stellar athletics tradition, and successful career preparation.

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