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Pictured, left to right: Dr. Ed Wovchko, Stephen Groves, Garrett Davis, Kristen Crowder, Abby Bowe, Hannah Povroznik, Dr. Joanna Webb, Dr. Caleb Gibson.

Wesleyan chemistry students and faculty present research, Benzene Ring earns award at National Meeting of the American Chemistry Society

BUCKHANNON, West Virginia –  West Virginia Wesleyan College is recognized for its exceptional academic programs, particularly in the sciences.  Recently, eight members of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry attended the Spring 2023 National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in Indianapolis, Indiana. 

The meeting’s emphasis was, “Crossroads of Chemistry,” and students and faculty participated in several days of symposium research talks, meetings with professionals, educational enrichment, and poster presentations in the areas of analytical, inorganic, organic, materials, physical, biochemistry and medicinal chemistry.

Wesleyan students Kristen Crowder ’23, of Bridgeport, West Virginia, and Abby Bowe ’24, of Powell, Ohio, presented a poster of their summer research entitled, “Recovery of Central Nervous System Regions After Exposure to Low and High Dose Methamphetamine Treatments” under the supervision of Dr. Bruce Anthony.  Kristen was supported by a Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) grant.  Abby was supported by a Wesleyan McCuskey Family Fellowship. 

Garrett Davis ’24, of Jane Lew, gave a poster presentation on the “Influence of Acer Species and Time of Sap Collection on the Antioxidant Capacity and Abundance of Simple Phenolic Compounds in Pure West Virginia Maple Syrup Extracts.”  Garrett worked under Dr. Caleb Gibson and was supported by West Virginia Maier Foundation and NASA WV Space Grant Consortium grants.  Hannah Povroznik ’24, of Bridgeport, presented her summer research entitled, “Increased Duodenal Iron Absorption in Dextran Sulfate Sodium-Induced Ulcerative Colitis Rat.” 

Stephen Groves ’24, of Bridgeport, presented a poster of his summer work, “Xanthine Oxidase Mediates Chronic Stress-Induced Cerebrovascular Dysfunction.”  Hannah and Stephen were supported by West Virginia IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (WV-INBRE) appointments.

The Benzene Ring, Wesleyan’s American Chemical Society Student Affiliate Organization, received a “Commendable” chapter award during the meeting’s Undergraduate Awards Ceremony.  The award recognized the group’s various professional development activities, community service, and outreach events conducted throughout the 2021-2022 academic year. 

Abby Bowe accepted the award on behalf of approximately 30 Wesleyan science students involved in those events and activities.  The meeting was quite stimulating, and those attending were enriched by the experience.

The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry students and faculty acknowledge the late Dr. John Penn for graciously establishing an endowment to support chemistry student travel to regional and national science meetings.  John majored in Chemistry and received a B.S. degree from Wesleyan in 1974.  He earned a Ph.D. in Chemistry in 1981 from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.  Dr. Penn was a Professor of Chemistry at West Virginia University for 34 years before his retirement.

Throughout his career, John published a number of papers in organic chemistry and chemical education.  He also received various honors, including the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Teacher Award in 1997, the WV Healthcare Association Volunteer of the Year award in 2011, and the Morgantown Elks Lodge #411 Elk of the Year in 2009 and 2011. 

Wesleyan students and faculty are also grateful for the generous financial support from the above-mentioned agencies, foundations and individuals.

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