Laughlin '14 Selected as NSF Scholar

Thomas John Laughlin
Thomas John Laughlin

June 3, 2013                         

BLOOMINGTON, Ill.— Illinois Wesleyan University senior chemistry major Thomas John Laughlin from Bloomington, has been selected as a 2013 National Science Foundation (NSF) Scholar to attend the 17th Annual Green Chemistry and Green Engineering Conference (GC&E).  The scholars program awards scholarships to fewer than 40 students from the United States each year. IWU is one of the few solely undergraduate institutes from which students were selected for this honor.

As part of the award, which comes with a $1000 stipend to cover expenses while attending the conference, Laughlin will also attend a Green Chemistry workshop.

The GC&E conference, conducted by American Chemical Society’s Green Chemistry Institute, will be held from Tuesday, June 18 to Thursday, June 20 in North Bethesda, Md. The three-day conference is an opportunity for scientists, decision-makers, students and advocates to exchange and increase their understanding of green chemistry. It offers world-renowned keynote speakers, two poster sessions and more than 25 technical sessions on subjects such as designing safer chemicals and products, bio-based chemical feed stocks, green chemistry education and new business through new green chemistry.

“The conference should provide John and another accompanying IWU senior biology major, Brendan O’Donnell with a unique opportunity to interact with world-renowned chemists, including the keynote speaker Professor Milton Hearn of the Centre for Green Chemistry at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.  Professor Hearn recently received the highest award given by the Royal Australian Chemical Institute—the Leighton Memorial Medal.  It is especially important for undergraduate students to meet with experts in the field and be inspired by their pioneering work,” said Ram Mohan, the Wendell and Loretta Hess Professor of Chemistry at IWU. 

Laughlin and Jacob Starcevich’13 coauthored an article with Mohan, titled “Iron (III) Tosylate Catalyzed Synthesis of 3, 4-Dihydropyrimidin-2(1H)- ones/thiones via The Bignelli Reaction,” which was published in the peer reviewed journal Tetrahedron Letters in 2013.

“I will be able to interact with many top researchers in the field of green chemistry while I am there, and hope to gain valuable insight into the challenges faced by chemical industries in the 21st century regarding development of environmentally friendly chemical processes. This is especially relevant to my interests since I have spent a semester and a summer working in the Laboratory for Environmentally Friendly Organic Synthesis under the guidance of Dr. Ram Mohan,” said Laughlin.

For additional information, contact Sherry Wallace, director for news and media relations.

Contact: Mallika Kavadi’15 (309) 556-3181,