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Greg Lapp ’06 (Lancaster, Pa.) and Maria Azimova ’06(Tashkent, Uzbekistan) presented their research at the American Institute of Chemical Engineers’ (AIChE) annual meeting Oct. 29-Nov. 4 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Azimova’s research was judged third best in its category among undergraduation presentations.

Lapp collaborated with Javad Tavakoli, associate professor of chemical engineering, on research entitled “One-Step Synthesis of Dimethoxymethane via Methanol Oxidation Over Multi-Component Catalysts.” A Marquis Scholar and member of the a cappella group The Chorduroys, Lapp is conducting honors thesis research on a related topic with Tavakoli’s guidance.

“I believe that [the conference presentations] have enormous positive impact on the participants,” says Tavakoli. “Students, as well as faculty advisers, feel recognized for their work, and they return from these experiences matured and challenged. The high national ranking of [the chemical engineering department], I suspect, has been favored by the continuous participation of our students at the annual meetings of AIChE for the past 17 years.”

A recipient of the United Nations TOKTEN Award and a Fulbright Summer Scholarship, Tavakoli has presented his research in numerous publications and at conferences such as the World Water & Environmental Resources Congress, the World Congress of Chemical Engineering, and the National Science Foundation International Symposium and Technology Expo on Small Drinking Water and Wastewater Systems. He has served as a consultant for the Department of Environmental Protection and companies based in the U.S. and abroad.

Azimova, who is pursuing a B.S. degree in chemical engineering and an A.B. degree with a major in mathematics, collaborated with Samuel Morton, assistant professor of chemical engineering, on EXCEL Scholars research. They conducted a pioneering study of industrial toxicity by trying to determine how ionic liquids affect the bacteria designed for wastewater treatment facilities.

In Lafayette’s distinctive EXCEL Scholars program, students conduct research with faculty while earning a stipend. The program has helped to make Lafayette a national leader in undergraduate research. Many of the more than 160 students who participate each year share their work through articles in academic journals and/or conference presentations.

“Students have a great experience and are energized when they return to classes,” says Morton of the conference.

Morton collaborated with the University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Laboratory on his liquid separation technology research, and spent time with Azimova at the university conducting experiments in its laboratory.

Previously, Azimova collaborated on EXCEL research with Joshua Sanborn, assistant professor of history, on a project examining the history of Russia during World War I. She served as vice president of Math Club and is a member of the student chapter of AIChE and Society of Women Engineers. She is a recipient of the Professor James P. Crawford Prize in Mathematics, awarded to a student who has made a special contribution to the mathematics community at Lafayette by participating in and providing leadership for the department’s co-curricular activities.

Chosen from among Lafayette’s most promising applicants, Marquis Scholars like Lapp receive a special academic scholarship and distinctive educational experiences and benefits, including a three-week, Lafayette-funded course abroad or in the United States during January’s interim session between semesters or the summer break. Marquis Scholars also participate in mentoring programs with Lafayette faculty and cultural activities in major cities and on campus.

As a national leader in undergraduate research, Lafayette sends one of the largest contingents to the National Conference on Undergraduate Research each year. Forty students have been accepted to present their research at this year’s conference.

Categorized in: Academic News