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Clarkson University Doctoral Student Awarded American Chemical Society Travel Grant

Clarkson University chemistry doctoral student Olivia Z. Durham has received $500 to attend the American Chemical Society National Meeting.

Olivia DurhamDurham, from Sterling, N.Y., will use the ACS Polymer Division Travel Award to go to Boston in August and present the paper "Functional Polymer Particles Prepared by 'Click' Thiol-Ene and Thiol-Yne Suspension Polymerizations." Durham collaborated on the research with her advisor, Professor of Chemistry & Biomolecular Science Devon Shipp.

Durham's research has led to the discovery of a novel approach to making polymer-based colloidal particles, which are of significant academic and commercial importance because they form the basis of many paints and coatings.

Her work has focused on a process called "click" thiol-ene polymerization. The basic chemistry of this process has been understood and used for many years, but Durham was the first to demonstrate the utility of this type of polymerization in suspension and miniemulsion reactions.

Since her first peer-reviewed publication in 2012 and two subsequent papers, researchers at leading institutions around the world have begun their own efforts researching these important materials.

Durham hopes the development of "clickable" and highly functional thiol-ene/yne polymer particles will provide versatile materials for many applications, including paints, coatings, cosmetics, diagnostics and drug delivery.

Durham said the grant for first time presenters at an ACS National Meeting will not only help finance her travel but also give her the chance to experience everything the meeting has to offer, allowing her to explore opportunities, learn about research in other laboratories and contribute her own work to the scientific community.

"I look forward to the many networking opportunities available at ACS National Meetings with the expectation that it will further develop my career in chemistry," she said.

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and the health professions, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

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