Illinois Wesleyan Student Researcher a McKnight Prize Finalist
Oct. 17, 2011
BLOOMINGTON, Ill.— Illinois Wesleyan senior Matthew Bockman has been named a finalist
for the Frank and Sara McKnight Prize in Undergraduate Chemistry, one of the nation's top undergraduate research awards.
Winners will be named in mid-November following presentation of their research to
the sponsoring UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. Bockman becomes the third
McKnight finalist named from Illinois Wesleyan in the past six years.
"We are extremely proud of Matt and the fact that a biology major could compete for
such an important chemistry prize,” said Beling Professor of Natural Sciences and
Professor of Chemistry Ram Mohan, who nominated Bockman. “What else could better illustrate
how opportunities exist at IWU across majors for students.”
Bockman, a senior biology major, spent two semesters and two summers in Mohan's laboratory
developing green chemistry applications for use in the pharmaceutical industry.
“The research that I did in Prof. Mohan's lab over the summer, which is what I will
be presenting at the McKnight conference, involves environmentally friendly organic
synthesis focusing on green chemistry. This includes working with compounds that are
nontoxic, noncorrosive, easy to handle and relatively inexpensive. I used a bismuth-based
catalyst to carry out a chemical reaction that normally involves more harsh reaction
conditions that are not ‘green’,” said Bockman.
The McKnight Prize was established by UT Southwestern Medical Center, which is part
of the University of Texas system. Prizes are awarded to undergraduates during their
senior year in three categories: Chemistry, Biophysics or Quantitative Biology, and
Biological Chemistry. Each year about 15 McKnight finalists are chosen from hundreds
nominated across the country. Finalists are invited to UT Southwestern where they
give poster presentations on their work. Winners are then selected based on the significance
of their research and the quality of their presentation.
Contact: Matt Kurz, (309) 556-3203