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Chemistry student one of four Purdue Goldwater Scholarship recipients


Whether he is growing crystals, wielding lasers or constructing theoretical models of his research, Chemistry sophomore Nicholas Pogranichniy’s body of work not only impresses his professors and supervising graduate students; it impresses national government scholarship panels as well.

Announced March 24, Pogranichniy was one of four Purdue University Barry Goldwater Scholarship recipients.

“It’s a great honor to be recognized as one of the four people from Purdue and then to win from a pool of over 1,000 applicants nationwide, to be one of the 300 winners is a great honor,” Pogranichniy said. “Since I’m only a sophomore and the pool is dominated by juniors, I was surprised but pleased I had won.”

Working in Prof. Garth Simpson’s lab within the Herbert C. Brown Laboratory of Chemistry, Pogranichniy gets to work in a wet lab creating solutions and dyes for his study on protein crystals. He then utilizes an upright laser system to get various readings from the crystals before entering data and creating models of the work on computers.

The goal of the work is to enhance the second harmonic generation of crystals by intercalation of different dyes. Pogranichniy has been researching how to put dyes into the crystal lattice, image them and see enhanced response of the emitted light coming back out.

Pogranichniy said he likes the variety of the research. Every day is different but he expects more defined roles in the lab next year. But for now, the West Lafayette, Ind., native enjoys learning the ropes around the labs.

His research was a key part in obtaining a Goldwater Scholarship, which pays out $7,500 for tuition, fees, room and board.

The U.S. Congress established the Goldwater Scholarship in 1986 to promote highly qualified scientists, mathematicians, and engineers by awarding scholarships to sophomores and juniors who intend to pursue research careers in these fields. For the first time since 1999, all four students Purdue was allowed to nominate won this coveted award.

The other Purdue winners were Emily Erickson (Agriculture), Sean McDowell (Biomedical Engineering) and Haefa Mansour (Chemical Engineering).

Nicholas Pogranichniy

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