Our Students

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology is committed to providing its students with an outstanding learning and living experience. Our program is geared to enable students to be problem solvers, work well in teams, be excellent communicators and leaders who are prepared to excel as they transition into their next experience.  We are also committed to ensuring that your  graduate school experience offers multiple opportunities for personal growth and fulfilling experiences. RPI sits in the capital district close to beautiful lakes, hiking trails, music venues and club activities so that your hard work is balanced by enriching activities.  Listen to what some of our students have to say about their experience at RPI…..

Undergraduate Students

Audrey Bors: Class of 2025
I am a second-year undergraduate student in the Chemistry department here at RPI, and I am currently working towards my BS in chemistry on the industrial track. RPI has not only outstanding academics but many opportunities to get involved outside of school. I am in the Naval Reserves Officer Training Corp (NROTC) and upon graduation, I will be commissioned into the US Navy as an officer and be able to apply my degree to become a nuclear engineer in the Navy. The main thing that drew me to RPI was the ability to learn and study many different tracks besides traditional chemistry. The industrial track allows me to have interdisciplinary studies in the chemical engineering field and learn many unique skills of an engineer but with the knowledge and practical skills of a chemist. One of the best parts about the chemistry department here is all the opportunities offered to undergraduate students that allow them to explore the field of chemistry and the different disciplines it offers. I am currently involved in the research of organic astrobiology, hydrothermal vents, and electrochemistry, which are fields that I would otherwise not have been exposed to if it wasn't for RPI's unique opportunities. The other great part about the chemistry department is the close relationships you develop with your peers through labs, collaborative projects, and specialized classes.
Pete Koster: Class of 2026
I’m Pete Koster, a first-year chemistry major from Massachusetts. When I was looking for schools last year, I knew I wanted to go to a STEM focused school with lots of opportunities for me to pursue my interests. That's exactly what I’ve experienced at RPI. Everyone here, including peers, mentors, and professors, are invested in helping you achieve your goals. I had the opportunity to join a research lab in just my second semester here and have gained a lot of experience in just a short time. Outside of academics, I spend a lot of my time in both the curricular and extracurricular bands, playing in the orchestra, symphonic band and pep band.
Livia Carmody: Class of 2025
My name is Livia Carmody, and I am a Sophomore Chemistry major at Rensselaer! I chose to come to Rensselaer because of its emphasis on getting undergraduates involved in research; this is something unique to Rensselaer. I have been involved in research since I was a freshman. There are many faculty members here that have been supportive of my journey into researching. It doesn’t matter what type of research you’re looking to get into, there will be someone here to help you! I am lucky to be a part of the B.S-PhD program. This allows me to take my research to the next level. I love the atmosphere at Rensselaer. Everyone here is very supportive and helps each other through struggles in both research and classes. There are many programs designed to help you prosper, so take advantage of them! Being from Maryland it has been amazing to be on a campus that makes me feel at home. It makes my decision to stay for a few more years easier! There are lots of fun hills to sled down when it snows and there are many cute walking paths in nearby parks for when it is warm out! I cannot wait to see what is next to come here at Rensselaer!
William Mancini: Class of 2025
My name is William Mancini, and I am a sophomore at RPI. I chose to come to RPI not only because of its excellent reputation among employers, but because of the opportunities that the school provides its students. One of the biggest differences between RPI and other universities is not only the focus on research, but the focus on undergraduate research. This allows for the average student to add meaningful work and experiences to their resume that undergraduates at most schools don’t have the opportunity to accomplish. RPI also has a large and diverse group of students allowing for everyone to find meaningful friendships whether it be through classes, sports, clubs, or other organizations.
Liangping Zhu: Class of 2025
The RPI undergraduate Chemistry program is exceptional in the way it encourages and allowed me to be involved in research as a freshman. The opportunity to do research provides me many out-of-classroom experiences and emphasizes discovery of the unknown in science. My RPI experience has been invaluable not only because its intensive coursework leads to comprehensive understanding, but also its research resources provide more possibilities for the future.
Isabella (Zella) Evans: Class of 2024
My time at RPI has been one of growth and excitement. There is always a chance to learn more as I interact with professors, advisors, and fellow students. The Chemistry department is full of amazing people, constantly looking to collaborate and provide new opportunities. My fellow third-year Chemistry majors have become some of my closest friends on campus, as we pursue our academic interests together. Through our fantastic department, I have been researching as an undergraduate since my freshman year, and it becomes more exciting with every new day. RPI has presented me with amazing opportunities to be active in the lab that I never could have found elsewhere. I plan on pursuing my PhD in chemistry, and I have received the most encouragement from this department. When I'm not doing work for my classes or working in the lab, you'll likely find me outside. I'm known to spend my free time slacklining on the '86 field, reading in my hammock, or hiking at one of the nearby state parks. It's also likely that you'll find me with a cup of coffee in hand from one of Troy's quaint cafes. Thanks to them, I have become something of a latte connoisseur. The welcoming environment of RPI's campus has become a place that I am proud to call home, and I look forward to seeing what else it has to offer me as I move forward in my academic career.

Graduate Students

Andrea Mitchell, First-year Graduate Student
I chose RPI due to the sense that I belonged among the student body. What I didn’t expect when I came to the school was to be presented with a multitude of opportunities from the faculty in the chemistry department. These include not only the opportunity to conduct research, to work alongside other undergraduate and graduate students in the lab, but further the opportunity to mentor freshman that are taking General Chemistry through the I-PERSIST Mentoring program. In addition to this, I’m also what has been termed a “demo diva”, in which I carry out demos in the general chemistry lectures with a group of other undergrads. I think the best part of this has just been the ability to have fun with my peers while also giving the students a visual of what they are learning about in lecture (and lighting things on fire of course). Outside of this I’ve also been involved in the school’s chemistry club, chem honors society, and 8th Wonder, a dance club on campus. These clubs have not only given me leadership opportunities, but a sense of community on campus. Overall, the chem department has not only given me a good education and allowed me to pursue my passions in chemistry, but has given me much more than what I would have imagined when I decided to commit to the school.
Rebecca Miceli, Fifth-year Doctoral Candidate
My name is Rebecca Miceli, I am a fourth-year doctoral candidate at Rensselaer! I graduated from Wheaton College MA in 2019 and started here at RPI the following fall. I was excited to be closer to home and live much closer to the Adirondacks and southern Vermont mountains. I love trail running, mountain biking, and skiing – the trails are very accessible from Troy. My cohort and I survived the pandemic shutdown together by enjoying all the outdoor restaurants, beautiful parks, and bike paths in the area. In terms of academics, I have loved everything about RPI. It is very easy to work in a collaborative environment, both through CBIS and co-advisorships. I have taken numerous classes that have directly impacted my research, and get to work with undergraduate students in a research setting every day. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is an awesome school that will prepare you for your future!
Gayathri Subramaniam, Fifth-year Doctoral Candidate
Being a graduate student at RPI has allowed me to become an interdisciplinary researcher. RPI culture promotes collaboration and teamwork which leads to an innovative and caring community. Advisors and staff at RPI are incredibly helpful and always available to discuss problems and help you find solutions. Along with its incredible researchers, RPI has state of the art facilities that are available to students to further their research. One of my favorite things about RPI is that there are plenty of places to explore in the cities of Albany and Troy. RPI is also near the Adirondacks for outdoor activities, and major cities like Boston and NYC being only a bus ride away.
Rebecca Greene-Cramer, Fourth-year Doctoral Candidate
I chose to come to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute because I knew I would receive outstanding training from experienced faculty and have the opportunity to take part in groundbreaking research. The chemistry department faculty are invested in the success and wellbeing of their students and focus their instruction on knowledge and skills needed to secure positions in industry and academia upon degree completion. Outside of academics, Rensselaer is in a great location for anyone who enjoys outdoor activities. Hiking and skiing are easy day trips from Troy and you can pick up the Empire State Trail across the river. Trains or flights out of Albany also make travel outside of the capital region a breeze. Downtown Troy is home to great local shops, cafes and restaurants and the Farmer’s Market is a top weekend destination for visiting friends and family. Troy’s historic location on the Hudson features a Riverfront Park that is a great destination all year long.
Lauren Zakrzewski, Fifth-year Doctoral Candidate
I am a fourth year PhD candidate in the Chemistry & Chemical Biology department at RPI. I graduated from The College of Saint Rose with a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry in 2019 and thus, have been a member of the RPI community since fall 2019 (pre-pandemic days). Surviving the pandemic certainly wasn’t easy, but it was possible through the support of my peers and faculty as well as the adaptive nature of all of us here at RPI. Being part of Rensselaer gives me an immense feeling of pride and fulfillment. Our institution is full of bright minds in various avenues of scientific and engineering research—which only helps to broaden my own horizons when pursuing my particular chemistry-related research. RPI’s motto mentions, “why not change the world?” As each day passes, I feel that I come a step closer to achieving that goal through my work here at RPI.
Paige Nowak, Second-year Doctoral Candidate
RPI’s motto is “Why not Change the world?” Since making a difference in the world is my life’s goal, I was immediately drawn to this school. As a student who did their undergrad at RPI, choosing RPI for my graduate studies was an easy decision. The chemistry department is unlike any other department on campus. From the professors who care so much about their students, to my peers who celebrate each others successes, this department truly feels like home. Both professors and students organize social events, celebrations, and activities to enjoy together as a department. The professors at RPI are extremely resourceful and helpful, if they can’t assist you with your current situation, they will find someone who can. In the undergrad program, students have the option to participate in research, which prepared me for my graduate studies and helped me to choose a focus of study. As an undergraduate, students also get access to training on many different instruments which strengthen your CV and improve your chances for securing a position in a variety of fields. RPI also has an abundance of resources to help find internships, jobs, and experience in any field, they also offer free services for resume/CV reviews and mock interviews to increase your chances at landing your dream job! However, RPI isn’t all work and no play! There are an abundance of clubs and organizations to join on campus. From sports and dancing, to outdoor activities, the fun is there for you to participate in. Joining an academic club or honors society is also an option. These groups offer great opportunities such as going to professional conferences, which is truly a unique experience. The city of Troy is another reason RPI is unique, there are many restaurants and shops within walking distance to campus. There is always something fun to do, from a board game café to sports bars and trivia nights to a farmers market every Saturday, you will never be bored in this city.
Isha Shah, Fourth-year Doctoral Candidate
My name is Isha Shah, and I’m a third-year doctoral candidate at Rensselaer! I graduated in 2020 from Albright College with my B.S. in Biochemistry and started at RPI in the fall semester. I’ve ended up loving the collaborative nature of the Chemistry department and have taken many opportunities to both give and receive help from other labs to develop my research and professional skills. I appreciate the push that graduate researchers receive to develop mentoring skills through teaching assistantships and mentoring undergraduates in the research lab. I think there is also a push for a healthy work-life balance, which was one of the most important factors for me in deciding where I would pursue my career. When I’m not in the lab, I like to spend time outdoors with my dog, Venus, or volunteering with my organization Alpha Phi Omega to help at local schools, shelters, and humane societies. RPI has pushed me to be well-rounded both in and out of the lab and I can’t wait to see where my academic work takes me next!
Benjamin Howard, Second-year Graduate Student
My name is Benjamin Howard and I am a first year graduate student in the Chemistry program at RPI.. I began my STEM career in North Carolina and attained a Bachelors of Science in both Biology and Chemistry. The impetus of my passion for science, specifically chemistry, is grounded in my curious nature that was evident in my youth. I decided to pursue a career in STEM out of my fascination with medicine and have yet to look back. Though moving from another institution in a different state was a great step in life, my short time in Troy has provided a great community and a wealth of knowledgeable resources and healthy learning spaces within the Institute itself. The sense of collaboration within the program is incomparable and the academic caliber is rigorous, yet insightful, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Holistically, this environment has allowed me to call it home and have a zest for pursuing my PhD in Chemistry.
Charles McCabe, Fifth-year Doctoral Candidate
There are so many ways to get involved in the campus community at RPI, both academically and socially. There is so much exciting research going on all the time, and faculty are always open to starting new collaborations. With the annual graduate symposium and multiple other events put on by various departments, there are many opportunities for us to share our research. The clubs and professional organizations on campus are always holding events and are a great way to meet people on campus and connect with graduate students from other departments we might not see otherwise. When I’m not working on a new synthesis, I like to play trombone in the RMA Symphonic Band here on campus. It’s a great way to feel like a part of the community.
Dan Xiao, Fifth-year Doctoral Candidate
I am a 4th-year PhD student in the Chemistry and Chemical Biology Department at RPI. I graduated from Beijing Institute of Petrochemical Technology in 2013 and then moved to Singapore where I earned a M.S. in chemistry from the National University of Singapore in 2015. After spending 4 years in industry working for the China General Nuclear Power Group in Singapore, I chose to continue my studies and came to the U.S. in pursuit of my PhD. RPI offered me an excellent opportunity to communicate, work with, and study under world-renowned researchers: and I took it! I attend seminars with well-known leaders in research and am engage with them personally to share ideas and refine my skills. I really enjoy the RPI campus as it is so beautiful and filled with ambition. It is the perfect place to ponder my research conundrums and walk with colleagues to discuss new ideas. Outside of research, I enjoy sampling the diverse cuisine the capital district offers, going to Grafton and Thacher state parks for hiking, and attending the many fairs and parades that go on in beautiful upstate New York.

Arthur G. Schultz Award

2015 Jeffrey Galczynski 
2014 Eliot Woods
2013 Kathryn Linkens
2012 Carolyn A. Buckley
2011 Jessie Ziegler
2010 Christopher Stabler
2009 Matthew Leonardi
2008 Max Molleo
2007 Chester Simocko
2006 Kathleen Linn
2005 Brett Hildebrandt
2004 Michael Kienzler
2003 Michael Zonca
2002 Anthony Shaw
2001 Melissa VanAlstine

George J. Janz Award

2021 Caius Jacott
2018 Colby Watts
2018 Max Osterberg
2017 Jessica Patrick
2016 Joshua Correira
2016 Michaela Burnley
2015 Alicia Meehan
2015 Katelyn Fallows
2014 Zhaorui Huang
2013 Zachary Helming
2012 Emily Werth
2011 David Goldfarb
2010 Melissa Clark
2009 Christopher Marotta
2009 Joseph Haegele
2008 Stephen Thomas
2008 Ashley Meenaghan
2007 Trevor Sherwood
2007 James Porambo
2006 Felicia Tsaixx
2005 Thomas Slaney
2004 Brian Ruddy
2003 Luke Stelling
2002 Luke Stelling

William Pitt Mason Award

2022 Jason Huang
2021 Shannon O'Neil
2020 Riley Barton
2019 Landon Kilgallon
2018 Benjamin Kaufold
2017 Tyler R. LeBlond
2016 Suttipong Suttapitugsakul
2015 Jessica Krause
2014 Sandra Pittelli
2014 Amanda Leonardi 
2013 Shawn Nelson
2012 Kallie Erin Powers
2011 Hilary Hamer
2010 Christopher Marotta
2009 Ashley Tennyck
2008 Trevor Sherwood
2007 Kathleen Linn
2006 Jordan Mader
2005 Kathleen Opper
2004 Marta Manning
2002 David M. Weber
2001 Eileen Elizabeth Jackson Ugueto
1999 Christian Kirk
1998 Richard F. Niro
1997 Matthew Alexander Toczko
1996 Peter Thomas Symanowicz
1995 Evan George Antoulinakis

John and Mary Cloke Prize

2022 Qianhui Wang
2021 Christian Franquiz
2020 Jessica Hellinger
2019 Mikaela DiBello
2018 Jeffrey Galczynski
2017 Katelyn E. Fallows
2016  Steven Ellington Tignor
2015 Jonathan Fine
2014 Kathryn Linkens
2013 Jessica Ziegler
2013 Elisa Novelli
2012 Aaron Cohen
2011 Matthew Leonardi
2010 Stephen B. Thomas
2009 Erik Townsend
2008  Eric Choudhary
2007 Christopher Laurie
2006 James Hayes
2005 Aayse Betul Dinc
2004 Anthony Shaw
2003 Melissa VanAlstine
2002 Michael Musorrafiti
2001 Colleen Nathan
2000 Garrett Oakley

W. H. Bauer Doctoral Prize

2022 Michael Pagels
2021 Brian Molnar
2020 Robert Centore
2019 Megan Kizer
2018 Zheqin (Theodore) Yang
2017 Anthony Maiorana
2016 Angela Mohanty
2015 Michael Topka
2014 Christopher Coates
2013 Sayaka Masuko
2012 Peter Palomaki

Dr. Johanna Maas Graduate Teaching Assistant Award

2022 Evelyn Rugaber
2022 Dan Xiao
2021 Welby Huynh
2021 Cody Edson
2019 Ramali C. Walgama
2019 Michael Pagels
2018 Anna Smallwood
2018 Sara Foreman
2017 Courtney Walton
2017 Megan E. Kizer
2016 Fan Yang
2015 Jennifer Wilcox
2015 Anthony Maiorana
2015 James Buchwald
2014 Marissa Civic
2013 Akshar Gupta
2012 Bradley Burcar
2011 Peter Palomaki
2010 Brenden Bathrick
2010 Tycho Spadaro
2010 Jesus Javier Aguilera
2009 James Porambo
2008 Sayaka Masuko
2008 Michael Perry
2008 Asem Abdulahad
2007 Songjie Zhang
2007 William Case
2006 Maria Hernandez
2006 Christine Fiorillo
2005 Kyungseok Oh
2005 Xiaodun Mou
2004 Seong Han Yi
2004 Jennifer Vreeland
2003 Diana Rogers
2002 Simon Nicholas Platts
2001 Eric Fiveland

The Slezak Memorial Fellowship

2022 Charles McCabe
2022 Dan Xiao
2019 Brian Molnar
2018 Megan Kizer
2017 Nathaniel Anderson
2016 Victor Schultz
2016 James Buchwald
2015 Marissa Civic
2014 Angela Mohanty
2013 Chris Coates
2012 Subhadeep Kal
2011 Matthew Tarasek
2010 Ruchira Chatterjee
2009 Boyangzi Li
2008 Yuehua Yu
2007 Tatiana Laremore
2006 Xiangdan Wang
2005 Fikri Avci
2004 Xiaoping Ao