FACSS Student Award and Hirschfeld Scholars

FACSS is proud to support the development of the next generation of leaders in analytical science. Pre-doctoral students presenting at the conference are encouraged to submit applications for the FACSS Student Award and the Tomas Hirschfeld Scholar Award. Both awards recognize research excellence but highlight the different ways that this may be achieved.

The FACSS Student Award is given to the student who has furthered the state-of-the-art in their chosen field(s) and in so doing, advanced the understanding of important scientific or societal questions. The recipient will have a strong research record and be identifiable as an emerging leader in analytical chemistry.

The winner(s) of the Tomas Hirschfeld Scholar Award will best exemplify the extraordinary creativity of the award’s namesake, whose deep understanding of the chemistry and physics of measurement science allowed him to find new connections and applications that eluded most practitioners. The recipient(s) and their work will be seen as potentially defining the future practice of analytical chemistry.  To learn more about the remarkable contributions of Tomas B. Hirschfeld, click here.


To be considered for either award, students must submit an abstract for oral presentation at SciX, then submit the following as a single PDF file: 

  • The application form 
  • Two letters of nomination, including one by the student’s mentor
  • A copy of the candidate’s résumé
  • A copy of the candidate's graduate transcript
  • Copies of reprints and/or preprints of research accomplished

Please submit all of the above in one combined PDF to scix@scixconference.org by the deadline.
If you have any questions or need help finding your Paper Submission ID, please contact us at scix@scixconference.org.

FACSS Student Award Recipient 2021

Vanessa Cupil-Garcia

Vanessa Cupil-Garcia is a 4th year Ph.D. Candidate in Dr. Tuan Vo-Dinh’s Group in the Department of Chemistry at Duke University. She  was born in Tabasco, Mexico and came to the United States as a child. She graduated summa cum laude from Meredith College with degrees in chemistry and biology and an international studies minor. The Golden Door Scholars Program funded her undergraduate studies. She conducted a summer of research at the Georgia Institute of Technology under Dr. Stefan France where she synthesized indole carboxylates and worked on the carbon hydrogen functionalization of naphthalene diimide. She also worked at the Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) on quantifying the genetic variability in mitochondrial supercomplexes in D2 and B6 mice strains in Dr. Kari Buck’s laboratory. Her research at Duke University under the guidance of Dr. Vo-Dinh focuses on integrating nanotechnology and chemistry to develop diagnostic and therapeutic tools. She is currently synthesizing inorganic and organic nanomaterials for the treatment of cancers combined with immune checkpoint inhibitor drugs. She is also adapting inverse molecular sentinel sensors (iMS) for microRNA detection in plants for bioenergy purposes. During her time at Duke she has received the Kathleen Zielek Fellowship, the Duke Nanoscience Program Fellowship, and the Fitzpatrick Foundation Scholar. Her work has resulted in multiple peer-reviewed publications that she has presented at various local and national conferences.

She also mentors Latinx students as they pursue higher education and values scientific outreach. She has spearheaded multiple in person outreach programs, and during the pandemic helped move forward two projects enabling virtual outreach and take-home STEM kits. In her role as a volunteer with Siembra NC, she schedules COVID-19 vaccine appointments for non-English speakers.

Tomas Hirschfeld Scholar RecipientS 2021

Grant Myres

Grant J. Myres is a fifth-year graduate student at the University of Utah. Grant earned a B.A. in chemistry from Luther College in 2017.  In his undergraduate research under the direction of Olga Michels, Grant studied the effects of chemical modifications to photosensitizer scaffolds and the impact of these modifications on the association affinity with human serum albumin (HSA) using fluorescence spectroscopy.  Following graduation, Grant moved out west to pursue a Ph.D in analytical chemistry in the lab of Joel M. Harris at the University of Utah.  Grant’s research interests are focused on the development and applications of Raman spectroscopy to investigate and quantify biomolecular recognition interactions at solid/liquid interfaces. 

In Grant’s thesis research, he has developed a quantitative, label-free, and structurally informative heterogeneous assay using confocal-Raman microscopy to probe reactions of DNA immobilized on the interior surfaces of individual porous silica particles.  This development has enabled the quantitative detection of differences in target strand length, base-content, and conformation.  This methodology has also revealed cation-dependent changes in interfacial DNA aptamer structure, which has implications in providing fundamental insight into the chemistry that governs the response of DNA aptamer-based biosensors.  Grant’s future research involves investigating the association of small-molecule therapeutics with immobilized duplex-DNA and characterizing both association affinities and primary sequence-specificity while simultaneously gaining insight into how the association reactions modulate both small-molecule and DNA structural conformations.

Grant currently has 2 publications and has presented his work at 7 national conferences and 2 invited seminars.  Since starting graduate school, Grant has won several awards for both research and teaching: University of Utah Teaching Assistant of the Semester Award (2019), Society of Applied Spectroscopy Student Poster Award (2019, 2020), and a FACSS Student Poster Award (2019).

Nicolás Morato

Nicolás Morato is a Ph.D. candidate in Analytical Chemistry at Purdue University under the mentorship of Prof. R. Graham Cooks. Nicolás was born in Bogotá, Colombia, where he attended Universidad de los Andes and obtained two bachelor’s degrees, one in Chemistry (2017) and one in Industrial Engineering (2018), with cum laude and summa cum laude distinctions, respectively. During his undergraduate studies he worked under the supervision of Prof. Chiara Carazzone investigating the intra-species variation in the venoms and alkaloid extracts of several Colombian specimens, and with Prof. Ivan Mura on the stochastic modelling of biochemical processes. Before starting his graduate career, Nicolás was a Summer Undergraduate Fellow at Purdue University (2017) working with Prof. Jonathan Wilker on the characterization of oyster adhesive, as well as an Instructor (2018) in the Department of Chemistry at Universidad de los Andes.

During his graduate studies, Nicolás’ research has focused on the development of ambient ionization methods for the rapid and simple analysis of complex samples, avoiding sample preparation and separation steps which are commonplace in chemical analysis. His initial efforts were oriented towards forensic applications such as in situ drug testing, whereas his current research is mostly related to high throughput analysis utilizing desorption electrospray ionization (DESI). Some of his work in the latter area has involved the development of label-free quantitative enzymatic assays, the rapid profiling of microorganisms, and the screening of organic reactions to study catalysis and microdroplet phenomena. Nicolás’ work has resulted in more than 10 peer-reviewed publications and several honors including the Charles H. Viol Memorial Fellowship, the Eastman Summer Fellowship in Analytical Chemistry, and the ACS Division of Analytical Chemistry Graduate Fellowship.

Past recipients


Not awarded 


FACSS Student Award

Ewelina Mistek, SUNY Albany

Tomas Hirschfeld Scholar Awards

Shachi Mittal, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Erika Portero, University of Maryland College Park


FACSS Student Award

Edward D. Hoegg, Clemson University

Tomas Hirschfeld Scholar Awards

Katie Spalding, University of Strathclyde


FACSS Student Award

Nicholas Riley, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Tomas Hirschfeld Scholar Awards

Aboualizadeh Ebrahim, University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee

Paidi Santosh, Johns Hopkins University


FACSS Student Award

Mustafa Unal, Case Western Reserve University

Tomas Hirschfeld Scholar Awards

Kyle Doty, SUNY Albany

Mario Saucedo-Espinosa,Rochester Institute of Technology


FACSS Student Awards

Marie Richard-Lacroix, University of Montreal

Lynn X. Zhang, Clemson University

Tomas Hirschfeld Scholar Awards

Stephanie DeJong, University of South Carolina

Patrik K. Johansson, University of Washington


FACSS Student Award

James R. Hands, University of Central Lancashire

Tomas Hirschfeld Scholar Awards

Menglian Zhang, Ohio University

Andrew Schwartz, Indiana University


FACSS Student Award

Larry Gibson, University of Notre Dame

Tomas Hirschfeld Scholar Awards

Gloria Sheynkman, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Bai Nie, Michigan State University


FACSS Student Award

Ali Khumaeni, University of Fukui, Japan

Tomas Hirschfeld Scholar Awards

Nathaniel Gomer, University of South Carolina

Rohith Reddy, University of Illinois


FACSS Student Award

Yun Zhang, Ohio University

Tomas Hirschfeld Scholar Award

Olivier R. Bolduc, University of Montreal


FACSS Student Award

Jacob Shelley, Indiana University

Tomas Hirschfeld Scholar Awards

Ishan Barman, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Anil Kumaar Kodali, University of Illinois


FACSS Student Award

Yuze Sun, University of Missouri

Tomas Hirschfeld Scholar Award

Matthew Lockett, University of Wisconsin


FACSS Student Award

David Strasfeld, University of Wisconsin, Madison

Tomas Hirschfeld Scholar Awards

Christopher R. Field, University of Illinois

Matthew Keller, Vanderbilt University


FACSS Student Award

Sen Li, Purdue University

Tomas Hirschfeld Scholar Awards

Matthew Schulmerich, University of Michigan

Junrong Zheng, Stanford University


FACSS Student Award

Daniel B. Bassil, University of Missouri, Columbia

Tomas Hirschfeld Scholar Awards

Andrea Tao, University of California, Berkeley

Tim M. Brewer, Clemson University


FACSS Student Award

Allen E. Haddrell, Simon Fraser University

Tomas Hirschfeld Scholar Award

Jean-Francois Masson, Arizona State University


FACSS Student Award

Lawrence W. Dick, Jr., Duke University

Tomas Hirschfeld Scholar Award

Ryan J. Priore, University of South Carolina


FACSS Student Award

Yongfen Chen, University of New Orleans

Tomas Hirschfeld Scholar Award

Brandon T. Ruotolo, Texas A&M University


FACSS Student Award

James H. Barnes IV, Indiana University

Tomas Hirschfeld Scholar Award

Christian Pellerin, University Laval


FACSS Student Award

Heather Peters, Wake Forest University

Tomas Hirschfeld Scholar Award

Michael Doescher, University of South Carolina


FACSS Student Award

Christopher D. Zangmeister, University of Arizona

Tomas Hirschfeld Scholar Award

Dimitri Pappas, University of Florida


FACSS Student Award

Renee JiJi, Arizona State University

Tomas Hirschfeld Scholar Award

Sara L. McIntosh, Duke University


FACSS Student Award

John A. McLean, George Washington University

Tomas Hirschfeld Scholar Award

Susan L. R. Barker, University of Michigan


FACSS Student Award

Bryan C. Castle, University of Florida

Tomas Hirschfeld Scholar Awards

Darren Dunphy, University of Arizona

Radislav Potyrailo, Indiana University


FACSS Student Award

Christine M. Ingersoll, State University of New York at Buffalo

Tomas Hirschfeld Scholar Awards

Paul Edmiston, University of Arizona

Steven R. Emory, Indiana University

Dana M. Spence, Michigan State University


FACSS Student Award

David E. Cliffel, University of Texas at Austin

Tomas Hirschfeld Scholar Awards

Curtis D. Cleven, Purdue University

Robert J. Willicut, Louisiana State University

Jeremy M. Shaver, Duke University


FACSS Student Award

Diana S. West, Wright State University

Tomas Hirschfeld Scholar Awards

Jeanette K. Rice, State University of New York at Buffalo

W. Russell Everett, University of Arkansas


FACSS Student Award

Michael Ruberto, Seton Hall University

Tomas Hirschfeld Scholar Awards

Ray Bakhtiar, North Dakota State University

Sheryl Ann Tucker, University of North Texas


FACSS Student Award

Evelyn Guizhen Su, University of Connecticut

Tomas Hirschfeld Scholar Awards

Vasilis Gregoriou, Duke University

Patrick A. Limbach, Ohio State University

Jeff Mazzeo, Northeastern University


FACSS Student Award

Rebecca M. Dittmar, Duke University

Tomas Hirschfeld Scholar Awards

Scott E. Van Bramer, University of Colorado

Marilyn O’Grady, Virginia Polytechnic Institute

Chris G. Gill, University of British Columbia


FACSS Student Award

Richard L. Irwin, University of Connecticut

Tomas Hirschfeld Scholar Awards

Paul Shiundu, University of British Columbia


FACSS Student Award

Patrick J. Treado, University of Michigan

Tomas Hirschfeld Scholar Awards

Renato Zenobi, Stanford University

Mingda Wang, Ohio State University


FACSS Student Award

George Yefchak, Michigan State University

Tomas Hirschfeld Scholar Awards

James T. Cronin, University of Delaware

Sue E. Zhu, Villanova University


Tomas Hirschfeld Scholar Awards

Jonathan V. Sweedler, University of Arizona

Brad Tenge, University of Washington

Peter Wentzell, Michigan State University

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