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Chemistry student awarded competitive fellowship


Ann Pham ’19 was recently awarded a highly competitive travel grant to present her student-faculty research in front of academics and industrial medicinal chemists at an international conference in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

I'm glad I have this opportunity to expand my horizons and meet with other scientists in the field.
Ann Pham '19, Chemistry and Finance Major

As a 2019 Medicinal and Bioorganic Chemistry Foundation Scholar, Pham will receive a $1500 fellowship to support her travel and lodging and have her fees covered for the 2019 MBCF Conference where she will present her research on January 27-31, 2019. 

“I was very surprised when I received the award letter, as I didn't have much hope in such a competitive fellowship,” said Pham. “After the initial reaction, it was joy and excitement. I'm glad I have this opportunity to expand my horizons and meet with other scientists in the field.”

Pham’s research in collaboration with  Dr. Brent Chandler, assistant professor of chemistry, may also contribute to how we treat certain medical conditions in the future. Pham was able to successfully synthesize muscone, a compound naturally found in an endangered species of deer, through a four-step process using environmentally friendly substances. Muscone has been shown to effectively regulate the he blood-brain barrier and has therapeutic potential including stroke treatment, mood elevation and neural protection. 

She said completing student-faculty research has been a learning experience that has given her the opportunity to work one-on-one with a faculty expert to gain hands-on experience applying the theories she has studied in the classroom to conduct scientific experiments. 

As she looks forward to graduation in a couple of weeks, Pham said she hopes to take the spring semester to travel and gain work experience and continue developing her research skills in graduate school next fall. 

“My plan for post-grad is more schooling — I can't get enough of it. The research that I will present definitely helped me a lot in figuring out my future plan,” she said. “It also taught me a lot about myself as a researcher: what I'm good at and bad at, what I like and don't like and what motivates me.” 

About Illinois College

Founded in 1829, Illinois College is a residential liberal arts college fostering academic excellence rooted in opportunities for experiential learning while preparing students for lifelong success. The college is located in Jacksonville, Illinois. With an enrollment of about 1,000 students, the college offers over 50 undergraduate programs. In 1932 the society of Phi Beta Kappa established a chapter at Illinois College, and it remains one of only 11 in the state.

Illinois College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association.

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