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