SAS Undergraduate Student Award


This award is given to junior or senior undergraduate students for outstanding research in spectroscopy. Typically the award provides a travel grant to support undergraduate student attendance at SciX. The award is based upon merit and financial need, and students must present a paper at the SciX Conference in order to quality. Complete eligibility requirements and details can be found HERE.


2022 Award REcipients


Ewelina Randall

City College of New York

Awarded for work in construction of hyperspectral microscopy of visible and near-infrared fluorescence and the development of near-infrared nanosensors that transduce information via spectral changes in living cells and animals.





Aaron K. Mclean

Monash University

Awarded for work in applying FTIR spectroscopy to diagnose COVID-19 in saliva and helping develop the chemometric model for the infrared based saliva screening test for COVID-19.





Aric Potter

University of Utah

Awarded for studies in reversed-phase chromatographic stationary-phase materials with covalently-bound n-alkyl chains and the influence of surface curvature on the structure of alcohol-hybrid monolayers.




2021 Award Recipients


Aldo Hernandez

Recognizing work in developing a new application for a currently existing plasma-based atomic emission technique and work on developing glow discharge optical emission spectroscopy (GDOES) for the elemental mapping of nanoparticles.

Aldo Hernandez is a recent Texas Tech University alumnus who completed his Bachelor of Science in Chemistry in May 2021 with a minor in philosophy. His work falls under the broad umbrella of analytical chemistry with a focus in atomic spectroscopy and statistical analysis. He has tackled the problem of low information throughput some techniques have in studying nanoparticles. Under the guidance of his mentor: Dr. Gerardo Gamez at Texas Tech, Aldo worked on the implementation of glow discharge optical emission spectroscopy (GDOES)- an already existing elemental mapping technique- on nanomaterial analysis, with the goal of showcasing the improved throughput in the orders of magnitude compared with competing techniques. As a recent graduate, Aldo hopes to apply his knowledge in analytical chemistry and instrumentation on future career prospects.


Laurin Lux

Recognizing work in FT-IR Imaging and analyses.

Laurin Lux is a student of Analytical Chemistry and Data Science at Technische Universit√§t Wien. In his bachelor studies of Technical Chemistry he was working in the research group of Dr. Bernhard Lendl. Among other projects he was researching on ultrasonic particle manipulation combined with Raman sensing and changes of protein secondary structures monitored by QCL-spectroscopy. At the moment he is a Marshall Plan research scholar at Beckman Institute at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in the research group of Dr. Rohit Bhargava. In the chemical imaging and structures laboratory he is working on the determination of the limit of detection for IR imaging data. In this environment he can combine his passion for data processing with statistics and chemical sample preparation. 


Robert Spiers

Recognizing work in chemometrics with a current focus on calibration sample selection to improve model predictions.

Robert Spiers is in his fourth year of studying Physics at Idaho State University, and two years into pursuing undergraduate research in chemometrics with Dr. John Kalivas. Spiers works on developing novel chemometric processes to model the relationship between the near infrared (NIR) spectra for samples and their corresponding constituent amounts (analyte). Spiers’ first project provided a successful and robust mechanism to perform both model updating and model selection via model diversity and prediction similarity (MDPS) to new sample and measurement conditions without any target reference values. His second project deals with identifying matrix matched subsets from libraries of tens of thousands of samples (local modeling). Both these projects aim to make quantitative sample analysis simple, rapid, and accurate for consumer and industrial applications.


2020 Award Recipients


Nicole Miller

Recognizing work in laser induced breakdown spectroscopy of complex mineral samples and application of plasmas to cancer research including as a possible alternative to chemotherapy.


My name is Nicole Miller. I graduated from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in May 2020. My bachelors was completed in Mechanical Engineering, with a minor in Global Engineering. My research has focused on integrating machine learning with Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy using various sample types such as soil, geological, and metal. I have also worked on a project for an alternative to chemotherapy combining electroporation and cold plasma in lung cancer cells. Currently, I am living in Minnesota and hoping to find work with thermal/fluid systems. 


Sofia Pozsonyiov

Recognizing the application of statistics, machine learning, and visualization to a LIBS project began in 2017 when she was a high school student.

Sofia Pozsonyiova is an applied mathematics and statistics student who just finished her last year of undergraduate studies at Macalester College in Saint Paul, MN. Her primary research focus is on integrating machine learning and statistical methods to improve the interpretation and classification of laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) data. Sofia began working with Dr. Prasoon Diwakar back in 2017 at Frost Science Museum where she was first introduced to the field and subject of LIBS. From there she has continued to work with Dr. Diwakar, pioneering new algorithms and tools to better handle data generated via laser spectroscopy. After finishing her undergraduate degree, Sofia will be pursuing a higher degree in applied mathematics so that she could continue evolving her knowledge and passion for the field!


Michaela Ann Sullivan

Recognizing research in microplastics and a passion for the environment via a collaboration with the Marine Biology department at University of New Haven, and an internship at Horiba doing microspectroscopic analysis of plastics in Connecticut harbors to identify the materials and ideally determine if these materials can be traced to their sources.


Michaela Sullivan is an undergraduate student at the University of New Haven, majoring in forensic science with a chemistry concentration and a minor in environmental science. Michaela’s main professional interests pair her love for chemistry and natural sciences with environmental conservancy and criminal law enforcement. Her current research involves the examination and identification of microplastics in aquatic and terrestrial systems using micro Raman spectroscopy. Michaela hopes that her current and future research in this topic will prompt further study into the evidentiary value of anthropogenic materials in terrestrial systems and how spectroscopic methods may be employed in the distinction between actual evidence from a crime scene from accumulated microplastics and other materials deposited into the environment in the form of pollution. After she graduates from the University of New Haven, Michaela hopes to pursue a masters degree in analytical chemistry and eventually work for the Criminal Enforcement sector of the US EPA. In her free time, Michaela enjoys playing guitar and bass, playing video games, reading, and gardening during her summers home in New Jersey.

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