Evan Wang, ’09, Ben Giglio, ’09, Miles Johnson, ’09, Anne Galyean, ’09 and Bobby Day, ’09, have amassed a staggering amount of honors, awards and grants between them during their time at Richmond. But these five chemistry majors don’t just look good on paper—their love of chemistry has had them working overtime in the lab, spending summers in the Gottwald Center for the Sciences and building relationships with faculty mentors; it’s taken them to national conferences, across the Atlantic and is now taking them to some of the best graduate programs in the country.

Evan Wang is an Oldham Scholar, Goldwater Scholar and National Merit Scholar. He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and has been awarded HHMI and Beckman Fellowships. His research with his faculty mentor, chemistry professor Carol Parish, has focused on the Bergman cyclization of the enediyne molecule, which has many potential anti-cancer applications. He focuses on the structural variations of this molecule using quantum mechanical methods.

Wang, who is also a math minor, travelled to Vienna during his sophomore year as part of a class taught by math professor Della Fenster. There, he struck up a scientific collaboration with theoretical chemist Hans Lischka at the University of Vienna, a collaboration that continued back at Richmond and led Wang back to Vienna to conduct research in the summer of 2008. Wang has not yet decided which graduate school he will attend but plans to study theoretical and computation chemistry.

Ben Giglio is a Beckman Scholar who does research in organic chemistry with his faculty mentor, chemistry professor John Gupton. He works with a class of compounds called vinylogous iminium salts as starting materials for the synthesis of marine alkaloids, which are nitrogen-containing compounds found in sea creatures. The lab recently completed a relay total synthesis of one such compound called Lamellarin G trimethyl, which possess anti-cancer, anti-HIV and multidrug resistant reversal qualities.

In addition to his focus on organic chemistry, Giglio took advantage of as many elective chemistry courses as possible while at Richmond—classes such as medicinal chemistry and biochemistry. After graduation, he will attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to continue his study of organic chemistry.

Miles Johnson is a Goldwater, Cigna and J. Gray Wright Scholar and is the recipient of an HHMI fellowship. During his time at Richmond, Johnson has worked on three different projects concerning the development of unique organic methods, all in the lab of his faculty mentor, chemistry professor Wade Downey. These methods will give chemists a wider range of tools to tackle complicated synthetic challenges.

Johnson, who is also a Latin American and Iberian studies major, presented his research at the American Chemical Society Southeastern Regional Meeting in November 2008. After graduation, he plans to attend the University of California, Berkeley to study organic chemistry.

Anne Galyean, a University Scholar and National Hispanic Merit Scholar, is the recipient of the University of Richmond Second-Year Research Achievement Award and the J. Stanton Pierce Chemistry Award. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Mortar Board National Honor Society and was awarded an HHMI Fellowship and School of Arts & Sciences Summer Research Fellowship.

Research has had a huge affect on Galyean, who has presented at regional and national conferences and has authored published papers as an undergraduate. Along with faculty mentor Mike Leopold, she has focused on stable, multi-layer film assemblies of aqueous nanomaterials with polymeric linking mechanisms for metal ion biosensors. She plans to attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill after graduation to study environmental chemistry and engineering.

Bobby Day, a University Scholar, is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Mortar Board and Golden Key Honor Societies. He is a two-time HHMI Fellowship recipient and has received a Fieser Fellowship to study chemistry at Harvard University. Day, who is also a Latin major, has focused his research on gold nanoparticles and gold nanoshells, which exhibit some unique optical properties. In the lab of his faculty mentor, Mike Leopold, Day has studied these materials in the hopes of utilizing their properties for sensing applications, specifically to improve certain medical diagnostic techniques.

Day has especially enjoyed spending his summers on campus in Leopold’s lab, discussing research results and approaches to scientific problems with his mentor. Summer research at Richmond, he says, was the perfect time to find out about the projects of classmates and to talk with faculty members about things like internships and career direction. Day will study physical and materials chemistry at Harvard.