2017 Keaffaber Scholar Award

Sebastian Acosta-Calle receives the 2017 Keaffaber Scholar Award

Congratulations to Sebastian Acosta-Calle, who has been named the recipient of the 2017 Keaffaber Scholar Award. The award has been made possible through the generosity of Dr. Jeffrey Keaffaber, a longtime friend and supporter of the Department of Chemistry. Dr. Keaffaber received his Ph.D. from the Department in 1989 (with Prof. William Dolbier, Jr.) and has enjoyed a career in industry, entrepreneurship, consulting, and teaching. Within the Department of Chemistry he has served as a senior lecturer, undergraduate advisor, and pioneer of new teaching initiatives.

The Keaffaber Scholar Award recognizes the overall excellence in research and academic scholarship of one of our senior chemistry majors. To be eligible for the award, the undergraduate must be research active within the Department of Chemistry and committed to pursuing a Ph.D. in chemistry. This year’s recipient, Sebastian Acosta-Calle, is pursuing a Bachelor’s of Science degree in chemistry. He has been working in the lab of Dr. David Wei for two years, conducting research in physical chemistry. His research involves the design and synthesis of a plasmonic photo-catalyst with LSPR-mediated photothermal effects. The purpose of his research is to enhance the utility and performance of palladium nanoparticles in catalytic hydrogenation reactions of olefins. In the spring of 2017, Sebastian was awarded the University of Florida’s University Scholars Program Award and the Department of Chemistry’s Chemical Physics Scholarship for his undergraduate research. In the fall of 2017, Sebastian was named NSF Florida-Georgia LSAMP Scholar for his academic achievements. Sebastian plans to pursue a PhD in chemistry with a focus in synthetic chemistry. His goal after earning his PhD is to obtain a research position in academia.