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Amazing student: Kaitlin Luedecke

Alan Flurry

Goldwater Scholar, chemistry major and Chicago native Kaitlin Luedecke is on track to become a chemistry professor and hopes to inspire a new generation of scientists both in the classroom and in the laboratory:

University highlights, achievements, awards and scholarships:

Spring break 2019 I traveled to Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Colonia, Uruguay, with some other UGA Foundation Fellows, and I had the time of my life! I attended some lectures at the Buenos Aires Law School, visited a prison, toured a hospital and ate A LOT of good food (the best ice cream I’ve ever had!). I also watched the sunset on a beach in Uruguay, a tango show in Argentina and an opera in el teatro colón. I am so lucky to have been exposed to such a unique culture during spring break — a highlight for sure!

My third year was overall a pretty fruitful one for me. I began the school year with an invitation to the American Chemical Society Inorganic Undergraduate Symposium Workshop at the 256th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society in Boston, Massachusetts. As a mid-term Foundation Fellow, my fellowship began my junior year as well, so I was able to use some of my conference funding to attend the conference (Boston is expensive, FYI!). In Boston, I met with notable inorganic chemists, attended talks and learned about the graduate school application process. Additionally, I gave a poster presentation at the meeting, and my poster was highlighted and awarded by the Inorganic Division. I also received the 2018 Undergraduate Award in Inorganic Chemistry from the American Chemical Society, an award given to one student per institution annually.

Outside of the American Chemical Society sphere, I was also named a 2019 Barry Goldwater Scholar this year. This scholarship is the most prestigious award given in the natural sciences, mathematics and engineering, and is awarded based on academic merit and research experience to students wishing to pursue a Ph.D. in their field. I was recognized for my research in inorganic chemistry, which I wish to pursue a professorship in after obtaining my Ph.D. I was also inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, America’s most prestigious academic honor society that honors the brightest liberal arts and sciences undergraduates through a highly selective, merit-based process.

I was excited to begin this school year as president of the Student Affiliates of the American Chemical Society (SAACS), affectionately referred to as Chemistry Club. I was secretary this past year, and I hope to continue our professional development, outreach with Kids & Chemistry and Boy Scouts, and support for chemistry majors at UGA. Also, I am excited to grow into my role as marketing officer of Chess Club, which involves managing all social media and growing the club.

Conducting research in the Robinson Inorganic Chemistry Research Laboratory has been rewarding for me. Besides the most recent national American Chemical Society meeting I attended, I have given oral presentations at three other regional and UGA conferences. I am third-author on a publication in the chemistry journal Dalton Transactions, “1,3,2-Diazaborole-derived carbene complexes of boron,” and I hope to have a first-author publication out soon. I have received the CURO Research Assistantship three times, and received conference funding from CURO as well. Additionally, the Robinson lab has provided me with a fellowship and conference funding.

Terrific young scholars who still allow themselves to have fun as university students while engaging in high-level career training comprise an important aspect of the UGA culture. Study Abroad, CURO and symposium workshops go hand-in-hand with having the time of your life - as they should! Congratulations to Luedecke on a great UGA experience and best wishes to a young woman is already well on her way.

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