Teaching News

UF’s 2024 Gates Cambridge Scholar Maddie Ross

We are pleased to announce Maddie Ross, a Bio-Chem major here at UF has made history as UF’s 10th Gates Cambridge Scholar.

The University of Cambridge, through the Gates Cambridge Scholarship program, annually awards full funding for postgraduate studies to exceptional international students (outside the UK) across all disciplines offered. Selection for these prestigious awards is based on four key criteria:

  • outstanding intellectual ability
  • reasons for choice of course
  • a commitment to improving the lives of others
  • leadership potential

The Gates Cambridge Scholarship’s core mission is to cultivate a global network of future leaders dedicated to improving lives. This is achieved by meticulously selecting outstanding scholars and providing them with comprehensive financial and non-financial support during their studies.

Ross is a biochemistry student at UF and at the University of Cambridge, she will pursue a Ph.D. in chemistry, continuing her dream of helping medical patients at the molecular level. She hopes her upcoming research opportunities in the United Kingdom will unveil new medical applications – particularly for Type 1 diabetes. Ross is the first Gates Cambridge Scholar at UF since 2017.

Link to Gates Cambridge post https://www.gatescambridge.org/biography/18822/

Double Victory for Chemistry in Goldwater Scholarships

Not only are all five UF endorsees for the Goldwater Scholarship receiving the final award, two out of the five winners, Cole English, and Dorothy Ware are both Chemistry Majors!

Becoming a Goldwater Scholar is highly competitive. Just a maximum of five students are endorsed each year per higher education institution. The scholarship supports sophomore and junior undergraduates committed to research-focused careers in mathematics, natural sciences, and engineering. It is the premier scholarship for undergraduates in STEM fields. 

Cole English, a driven third year student, is already making a significant impact in the field of biochemistry. With a remarkable publication record as first author on multiple scientific papers, English demonstrates both research prowess and the ability to effectively communicate his findings. His leadership extends beyond the lab, as he actively mentor students and even visiting professors. Currently juggling over a dozen projects, English’s main focus is unraveling the mysteries of protein-DNA interactions, which forms the core of his research group’s endeavors. Ambitious and dedicated, English has his sights set on a Ph.D. in Chemistry and Chemical Biology. His passion lies in the realm of cancer epigenetics, where he aspires to develop innovative methods to gain deeper insights into cellular processes. Driven by a desire to inspire future generations, English also sees himself as a dedicated professor, fostering a love for scientific exploration in others.

Dorothy Ware is a third-year student, who is motivated to discover breakthroughs in using the immune system to create novel targeted therapies against cancer after her father died from bilateral gliosarcoma (a rare brain cancer) when she was eight. This has inspired her to pursue a degree in biochemistry. The knowledge and experience she gains in her academic journey are contributing to her mission to fight cancer. Ware shadows medical professionals, interacts with cancer patients, and volunteers in UF’s Dream Team non-profit. She was also a Harvard Amgen Scholar. Ware plans to earn an M.D./Ph.D. in Immunology. She is motivated to discover breakthroughs in using the immune system to create novel targeted therapies against cancer.

List of all the 2024 Goldwater Scholars https://goldwaterscholarship.gov/

2023-2024 College Faculty Advising/Mentor Award Winner Dr. Boone Prentice

We are pleased to announce the college’s Teaching/Advising Awards Committee has selected Dr. Boone Prentice for the 2023-2024 College Faculty Advising/Mentor Award. The College of Liberal Arts & Sciences (CLAS) started this program to acknowledge and reward outstanding teaching and advising by faculty members which aims to motivate and celebrate exceptional efforts in both teaching and advising by professors. Dr. Prentice consistently demonstrates superior teaching and advising skills that contribute significantly to the overall student learning experiences.

Nominations for these awards are solicited from a diverse group of individuals including students, faculty members, department chairs, and administrators. Dr. Prentice’s success in the competition is a sign of true excellence as many notable CLAS advisors were nominated for this award. A significant number of Dr. Prentice’s nominations came directly from students, evidencing his support and profound influence on their academic pursuits.

Dr. Boone Prentice (fifth from left back row) pictured with his research group.

Dr. Prentice has also been nominated to represent the college in the university-wide competition administered by the Office of Academic Affairs. This nomination recognizes his potential to be considered among the best advisors across the entire university.

Dr. Ronald K. Castellano Selected 2023-2024 FDMA Recipient

Dr. Castellano (second from left) pictured with his research group.

We are pleased to announce Dr. Ron Castellano has been presented the prestigious Faculty Doctoral Mentoring Award (FDMA). The FDMA is presented annually by the University of Florida’s Graduate School to acknowledge and celebrate faculty members who consistently demonstrate exceptional mentorship qualities.

The FDMA specifically highlights faculty who provide outstanding, innovative, and impactful mentoring to doctoral and Master of Fine Arts (MFA) students. The nomination process for the FDMA has a diverse range of nominators, allowing current UF graduate students, faculty members, administrators, and even alumni to nominate deserving faculty members who have demonstrably impacted students across various academic disciplines and stages of their graduate careers.

Dr. Castellano’s philosophy, that not only deems him meritorious of this award, but shows his true character is “human aspects and lab culture first and science and “products” next.” As an advisor and mentor, Dr. Castellano goes beyond simply guiding students through their research or thesis but also offers individualized guidance and support tailored to each student’s needs and goals while challenging and inspiring students to think critically and creatively.

Link to article detailing the award http://• grad.ufl.edu/articles/2024/news-202403/04-02.html and Professor Castellano’s Personal Statement detailing his mentoring experience and philosophy https://graduateschool.ufl.edu/media/gradufledu/pdf/fdma-2023-2024-castellano.pdf

Additional links to the Faculty Doctoral Mentoring Award Webpages: http://The Faculty Doctoral Mentoring Award webpages & http://• grad.ufl.edu/work/awards/fdma/fdma-winners

2023 UF Center for Teaching Excellence Affordable Access Award

Congratulations  to our Director of General Chemistry, Melanie Veige, for being selected as a recipient of one of the UF Center for Teaching Excellence Affordable Access Awards for 2023. Melanie worked closely with the Center for Online Innovation and Production over the course of Fall 2022/Spring 2023 to reimagine the course CHM1020: Chemistry for the Liberal Arts, to make it more affordable for students. 

Her efforts and those of other UF educators to make quality courses more accessible for students were recognized at the Interface 2023 Conference April 20, 2023. Information about the award and the other awardees can be found here (https://teach.ufl.edu/awards/affordable-access-awards/).

2023 James and Laura Winefordner Summer Graduate Scholarship

The Analytical Chemistry Division is pleased to announce the recipient of the 2023 James and Laura Winefordner Summer Graduate Scholarship, Tyler Volta. Tyler is a graduate of the University of Florida and a member of Professor Charles Martin’s research group. His dissertation research focuses on the ionic and electronic transport properties of synthetic gold nanotube membranes.

Congratulations Tyler!

Melanie Veige Honored as Florida CourseShare Pioneer

Florida CourseShare Honorees

The Florida CourseShare award recognizes faculty for their willingness to support innovative collaboration across the State University System. Florida CourseShare faculty allow course materials that they created to be shared to Canvas Commons so that other instructors can adapt them for course development. Visit the Florida CourseShare page to learn more about this initiative.

• Contributed CHM1020 Chemistry for the Liberal Arts

Melanie Veige is a Senior Lecturer and Director of General Chemistry in the department of chemistry. She enjoys creating highly structured, engaging materials for largely introductory level chemistry courses. She has lately turned her skills to revising and iteratively updating the general chemistry lab manuals, both for residential students and for UF Online (boot camp).

Melanie Veige Launches CHM2045L Bootcamp for UF Online

“The Director of General Chemistry, Melanie Veige, has launched the inaugural CHM2045L bootcamp lab for UF Online students over Summer A 2019. Students first participate in a short online course, developed by Mrs. Veige and instructional designers from the Center for Online Innovation and Production. Students then attend lab in-person for two weeks to perform every lab activity from the regular CHM2045L course. In the General Chemistry lab, run by Donna Turner and Candace Biggerstaff, graduate students Diana Choi and Anthony Pastore meet with the students each day to shepherd them through lab activities. The course is the culmination of over a year of collaboration between the Department of Chemistry and UF Online, with input from the Statewide University System. The course is a unique and exciting opportunity for our online students to experience hands-on learning while they interact with instructors, teaching assistants, and fellow students. See the UF Online corresponding blog post here: 

Ashley Erb and Chris Brewer Received Graduate Teaching Awards

Ashley Erb is a second year graduate student in the Aponick group, who has been teaching in our CHM2211L lab course for two years. For Ashley, Organic Chemistry really energizes her and she strives to pass on this enthusiasm to her students. Ashley’s skills as an instructor have recently been recognized by both the Chemistry Department and the University of Florida, and she is a recipient of a 2018-2019 University of Florida Graduate Student Teaching Award.

Christopher Brewer has been honored as a recipient of the 2018 – 2019 UF Graduate Student Teaching Award.  This award is presented by the UF Graduate School and awardees are nominated by their department.  Chris is a fourth year graduate student in the McElwee-White group and has taught CHM1025 as instructor seven times over four years.  Chris has had the opportunity to share his passion for chemistry with over two thousand students during his time teaching at UF.  During lectures Chris incorporates numerous live chemistry demonstrations to foster excitement about learning.  Additionally, Chris coordinates and teaches an Honors Harry Potter-themed Potions Camp for incoming freshmen to the UF Honors Program.  To Chris, teaching others is a very rewarding part of his graduate career.