Dr. Robert L. Augustine, Professor Emeritus of Chemistry and executive director of the Center for Applied Catalysis, will present an award to younger chemists or engineers who have contributed to their field at the Organic Reactions Catalysis Society this April in San Diego, Calif.
Augustine shared in an email the award’s purpose.
“The Board of Directors of the Organic Reactions Catalysis Society (ORCS) decided to set up an Early Achievement Award to recognize those chemists or engineers under 40 who had already made some significant contributions to the use of catalysis in organic chemistry and had the potential to continue doing so in the future,” he said.
The award, which is in Augustine’s name, will be distributed along with additional awards, every two years at the ORCS biennial conference.
“Several months ago I received a telephone call from one of the Board members asking me for permission to call the award the Robert Augustine Early Achievement Award which I agreed to,” he said.
Biochemistry majors who are familiar with Augustine and his work shared their thoughts about the opportunity that young scientists now have.
Heidi Elashal, a junior biochemistry major, expressed that she finds Augustine to be an asset to the Seton Hall scientific community, considering his background and experiences.
“I think it’s really great to have someone of Dr. Augustine’s academic background and success in the scientific community associated with our department and school,” she said. “In our field, research is a top priority and his foundation and now award allows scientists to explore the work of others, meet new people at conferences and further their research goals.”
Elashal explained further that the award can propel young scientists forward into non foreseeable futures.
“Awards like this provide budding researchers with opportunities that they might not have otherwise,” she continued. “Such awards send a message that innovations can come from anyone and that’s definitely inspiring to someone of my aspirations,” Elashal continued.
Senior Sara Lamcaj, and junior Alexandr Trifinov, both biochemistry majors, shared similar sentiments with Elashal.
Lamcaj found Augustine’s openness and background makes the honor all the more prestigious.
“Being a biochemistry major and conducting research here at Seton Hall, I certainly feel inspired by Robert Augustine’s Early Achievement Award and by his research,” she said. “Being a recipient of this award is a true honor coming from a leader in research for heterogeneous catalysis in synthetic reactions,” she said.
Lamcaj spoke further about the purposefulness of Augustine’s work and what receiving the award truly means.
“Augustine’s work is focusing on producing a product similar to petroleum but is obtained from sustainable biomass,” Lamcaj said.
“Sustainable chemistry is extremely important to minimize the use and generation of hazardous substances and it is truly inspiring that Robert Augustine is conducting this research.”
Trifonov finds that in light of Augustine’s success, supporting students will encourage them to progress even further.
“By creating a biennial award for younger scientists, Robert L. Augustine showed his respect to younger minds, who are the future of science. It is crucial to support us, younger scientists, because it keeps a sparkle in our minds,” Trifonov wrote in an email.
Augustine will have a role in the award’s presentation in April. He knows, though, that the award will also mean a great deal in decades ahead as more young scientists are honored.
“I have to say that having the award named after me means much more to me than winning an award,” he said. “This will be a significant part of my legacy, which will remain long after I am gone,” he said.
Kaitlyn Quinn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org