Bethany Aden, a fourth year polymer chemistry graduate student in Kilbey’s group, was selected as one of the four winners of this year’s Eastman Chemical Company Fellowship, a fellowship established in 2011 to assist students in their research and help Eastman identify top performers in their early stages of graduate careers.
Aden will receive a total stipend of $5,500, which she will use to advance her dissertation project. “The Eastman Chemical fellowship allows me to achieve my research goals by giving me the opportunity to expand my knowledge of material science and thin film behaviors.” Aden said. “I can now dedicate time and effort toward developing another materials thin film project that will be included as my final project for my dissertation work.”
Dr. Pete Chapman, Eastman principal chemist, has been involved in the selection process for 5 years. “…this is the first time that an applicant from UTK has received the highest ranking! As a UTK alum this made me very proud.” Chapman commented. “Aspects of Bethany’s graduate career that impressed the committee included her research, extracurricular activities, leadership roles, and community service. Bethany demonstrated to the committee that she understands the big picture and that was important.”
While feeling honored being selected for the fellowship, Aden was equally grateful for her mentor and colleagues. “It feels great to work hard and someone from outside of the University recognizes the work you are doing. I am so thankful for my boss, Dr. Kilbey, and the support he gives me as well as the support from my research group, past and present members.” Aden said.
Growing up in McKenzie, Tennessee, Aden earned her B.S. in Chemistry and Cell and Molecular Biology from the University of Tennessee, Martin. While attending UT Martin, she conducted research with Mr. Mike Stockdale as part of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) Forensic Lab. Now Aden’s research is focused on the chemical transformation of reactively-modified interfacial thin films. She also serves as the financial director and actively involved with the Commission for Women’s STEM Committee.