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Chemistry Faculty and Students Lauded at Chancellor Honors Banquet

Chancellor HonorsThe Chancellor’s Honors Banquet is held each spring to recognize students, faculty, staff, and friends of the University of Tennessee for their extraordinary achievements.The 2013 banquet was held April 8th at the University Center. Following chemistry faculty and students are recognized during the banquet.

Professor George Schweitzer received a Citation for Success in Multidisciplinary Research.

Rachel Narramore received a Citation for Extraordinary Academic Achievement.

Rachel Naramore is a senior at the University of Tennessee double majoring in Honors Chemistry and History and is the outstanding graduate in Chemistry for Spring 2013 Commencement. She currently works in Dr. Baker’s lab in synthesis of novel sultams with potential as non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors for HIV. Last year she worked as a TA in Chemistry 120 and 130. Next fall she will begin medical school at the University of Florida College of Medicine. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, singing, and spending time with her family and friends.

Burton Mandrell received a Citation for Extraordinary Professional Promise.

Mandrell is from Knoxville, TN where he went to Bearden High School and graduated as a salutatorian of his class. At UT, Mandrell is a senior in the Chancellor’s Honors program pursuing an Honors BS in Chemistry (ACS certified) with a biology minor. He was recognized for Extraordinary Professional Promise at the Chancellor’s Honors Banquet and will be recognized as an Outstanding Graduate of the Chemistry Department at commencement this May. Currently, Mandrell works with Drs. Best and Camden on synthesizing deuterium labeled dyes for use in Hyper Raman Spectroscopy as part of his honors thesis.

Mandrell has been working in the Camden lab for 3 years, but he also spent a summer internship doing C-11 radiochemistry at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital as part of the NIH funded Pediatric Oncology Education program. In his free time, Mandrell enjoys live music and playing cards, especially bridge for which he represented UT along with 3 other UT students at the North American Collegiate Team Bridge Tournament in Philadelphia in July 2012 placing 7th out of 8th (beating Harvard!). After graduation, Mandrell will be attending the University of Wisconsin-Madison to pursue a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry.

The Banquet program also announced that Desta Bume, a College Scholar working with Professor Craig Barnes as one of the winners of a EUReCA award.

Desta Bume is from small village of Wotera in southern Ethiopia. After completing his education through 8th grade in Wotera, he went to high school in Hawassa city and graduated as valedictorian of his graduating class of nearly 1000 students. During his high school career in Ethiopia, Desta had an opportunity to come to the United States through an exchange program and he spent his junior year at Signal Mountain High School in Chattanooga, TN.  Being an exchange student provided him with priceless experiences that helped him return to the University of Tennessee Knoxville as a Haslam Scholar, one of fifteen students accepted to the program from entering freshmen, in 2010. He is also a member of Chancellor Honors program. Currently, Desta is doing his course work through the College Scholars Program under Chemistry and Biological Sciences major.

Since the summer of his freshmen year in the College, Desta has been working with Dr. Craig Barnes on the project titled “Controlled Formation of Silicate Monolayers on Silicon Wafers.” In addition, he is working on “Expression, Purification and Characterization of Human Cytochrome P450 2C9 (CYP2C9) with Dr. Nitin Jain in BCMB Department.  For last two summers, Desta worked as a teaching assistant in Chemistry and Biology for Governor School of Sciences and Engineering and is planning to teach again this summer. At the end of his sophomore year, he received a top rising junior in Chemistry (ACS) and also won EUReCA award for his project with Dr. Barnes. After graduating in May 2014, Desta is planning to attend graduate school in Medicinal Chemistry.

In his spare time, Desta enjoys running, playing soccer, volleyball and volunteering for various charitable organizations. Partnered up with his former host high school, Desta raised money to build water wells, classrooms and bought library books for elementary school in home village of Wotera.