Single-Step Mechanism

Student Presents Research at National Chemistry Workshop

Springfield, Ohio – Phuc “Leo” Vo, Wittenberg class of 2017, has been invited to present at the American Chemical Society Undergraduate Computers in Chemistry Division (ACS UG COMP) Workshop that will take place in San Diego, Calif., March 13-17.

Vo, a chemistry major and biochemistry/molecular biology minor from Saigon, Vietnam, will be presenting his project during the poster session of the workshop. His project, which is part of Wittenberg Associate Professor of Chemistry and Chair Justin Houseknecht's research, looks at the reaction mechanism of one of the most important organic reactions – the nucleophilic substitution reaction between acetic anhydride and substituted phenolates. These reactions have traditionally been viewed as a two-step reaction with a stable intermediate. However, this project will hopefully provide evidence that a single-step mechanism is in fact possible through studying energy and charge data. This project will also be part of Vo’s senior year thesis.

“I was informed about the workshop by my research advisor, Dr. Justin Houseknecht, and I sent in a successful application to the ACS for a chance to be part of a group of people who will be presenting at the workshop,” Vo said. “This will be a wonderful chance for me to present my ongoing research, which I have spent a lot of time and effort on, and which will most likely be my senior thesis come senior year. I'm hoping to receive lots of feedback at the workshop on how to improve on this particular project and how I should tackle some of the problems I have encountered so far. The workshop will also be a great source of information that will help me narrow down my plans post-graduation.”

- Phuc “Leo” Vo, Wittenberg class of 2017

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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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