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Group Members


Post Doctoral Scholars


Quentin2

Dr. Quentin Michaudel

Ph.D. Scripps Research Institute – 2015 –  Organic Chemistry – Baran Group

M.S./B.S. École Normale Supérieure de Lyon – 2010 – Chemistry

qnm2@cornell.edu

Quentin (affectionately referred to as Dr. Q, Q-bone and the big Q) comes to the Fors group from an exotic, far away land: France. After completing his Masters degree at the École Normale Supérieure de Lyon in 2010 through a joint internship with the Baran group, Quentin went on to receive his PhD, also from the Baran group, at The Scripps Research Institute in 2015. Forsaking the warm weather of La Jolla, CA, Quentin then moved to Ithaca, NY, in order to join/babysit the Fors Research group. This was done in part to learn the ways of intentionally polymerizing small molecules, but also to become accustomed to the inevitable cold weather that could ultimately arise due to climate change (for more information, see the 2004 film The Day After Tomorrow). When not complaining about the cold or the snow, Quentin enjoys offering free French lessons to his fellow members (though they are generally not needed due to the high proficiency of French already spoken in the lab), breathing in the strong aroma of his homemade lunches in front of his hungry fellow lab members, and showing off his chouette dance moves to practice for nights out in da club.


 Graduate Students


Dillon

Dillon Gentekos

B.S. Pennsylvania State University – 2014 – Chemistry

dg623@cornell.edu

Dillon was born amidst salt and smoke in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, where a great red comet hailed his coming into the world. Dillon’s affluent upbringing sheltered him to the troubles of the world, but after a tragic incident involving some bats and an aggressive theatrical performance, Dillon was transformed into the caped crusader we know him as today. Wielding the great round bottom flask Lightbringer, Dillon spent his undergraduate career at the Pennsylvania State University studying chemistry by daylight and using his vast wealth to combat crime by night; for he is the Prince that was Promised, and his is the song of Ice and Fire. Realizing that it was his destiny to combat the Great Other in the Battle for the Dawn, Dillon pursued a graduate education in Chemistry and is currently a second year in the Fors Research Group at Cornell University. He spends his time laboring away in the lab, because Dillon was the chemist that we deserved, but not the one we needed right now. And so we’ll grill him at group meetings, because he can take it. Because he’s not a hero… he’s a silent guardian, a watchful protector… a Dark Knight. For the Night is dark and full of terror, but Dillon’s chemistry burns them all away.


Jacob

Jacob Trotta

B.S. Villanova University – 2014 – Chemistry

jtt72@cornell.edu

Jacob was born in Boston and grew up in Peabody, Mass., with three older sisters. On a cloudy Ithaca day, I sit down with him to find out more about his life. Although he’s fresh out of his senior year of college at Villanova University, which he fondly recalls as the best time of his life, the light in his eyes is already beginning to wither. He begins to reminisce the darker years of his past, such as in seventh grade, when he liked Green Day. I try to console him by encouraging him to discuss his celebrity crushes. He is positively giddy as he gushes about Olesya Rulin, whose iconic role as Kelsi in the film High School Musical immediately comes to my mind. When I ask him to choose a person he can meet out of anyone in the world, dead or alive, he tells me, “Quentin, dead,” then he begs me to keep his answer off the record. I inform him that it’s already on the record. Either way, he changes his answer to T Swift, his other celebrity crush. He also likes Carly Rae Jepsen. It is heartwarming, the crushes he has. Some of Jacob’s favorite movies are V for Vendetta and Zombieland. When I offer Interstellar, he grimaces in disgust. It is the most overrated film in the history of cinema, he says. I had many opinions as well but I won’t include them here. Amiable as he is, he maintains he is both a dog and cat person and his favorite chemistry course was organic chemistry.



Veronika

Veronika Kottisch

B.S. Jacobs University Bremen – 2015 – Chemistry

vk297@cornell.edu

Bold, intelligent, dedicated: To the untrained eye, Veronika Kottisch may seem to be just another Cornell University PhD student. However, her dark, mysterious past tells a different story. Some claim she was raised by owls deep within the Black Forest. Others believe her to be a supernatural being who has come down from the heavens to usher in the age of the cucurbituril. Or perhaps she is the result of Coca Cola’s reckless experimentation involving two dozen Starbucks’ Pumpkin Frappuccinos and 40 liters of diet coke. Nonetheless, 22 years ago the well-caffeinated Veronika appeared on this Earth in Cologne, Germany ready to begin her life as a chemist. While pursuing her B.S. at Jacobs University, Veronika discovered her passion for designing vegetable-shaped molecules and vehemently petitioned for the pumpkin to become the national squash of Germany. Upon arriving at Cornell University, Veronika’s visions of her pumpkin past have been replaced, and now she spends her evenings toiling away in the lab, knitting strands of polymers together to design the latest line of Fors Group merchandise. This clothing line, soon to be published in Victoria’s Secret’s scientific catalog, will soon be available for $105 per gram plus shipping and handling (PROMO CODE: Pumpkin).


Brian

Brian Peterson

B.S. University of Wisconsin La Crosse – 2015 – Chemistry

bmp66@cornell.edu

Brian grew up in a van down by the river in Milwaukee Wisconsin where he developed a love of cheese, bratwurst, and Packers football. He then moved to Wisconsin – La Crosse where he became player hater of the year for four consecutive years. After a well deserved victory lap, Brian decided to move to Ithaca in a futile effort to get away from Wisconsin’s “winters.” Now in 2016, the world has called on one man who could make a difference. With hopes to improve national security and independence, Brian is pursuing his PhD in chemistry in the Fors research group. When not bogarting the rotovap, Brian enjoys asking questions such as “Why are we here?” and “What does it all mean?”


steph_coco_jensen

Stephanie Rosenbloom

B.S. Pennsylvania State University – 2016 – Chemistry

sir37@cornell.edu

In her past life, Stephanie was born into a gentle yet playful flock of Macaws in the Amazon Forrest. As she scavenged for food with her flock, Stephanie was the first to realize that eating damp soil could help neutralize the acid from the fruit consumed in a typical Macaw diet. It is no surprise that Stephanie is the great chemist we know her as today. However, due to an unfortunate accident with a gated doorway and the loss of a quarter inch of her middle claw (the details will be spared), Stephanie was reincarnated into her present day Atman. Her parents found her on the main line, a few miles away from Wynnewood, Pennsylvania where they decided to raise her as their own. Stephanie showed early interest in singing and had a special interest in mimicking bird calls. Furthermore, her aptitude for rock climbing stemmed directly from the large, gripping claws which were key to Stephanie’s survival as a Macaw, yet were also responsible for her fatal end. It took a while for Stephanie to adjust to the human life. This was most evident by her experimentation with clothing during her early stages of childhood. Trying to mimic the feathers of her flock, she constantly wore a multicolored reggae beanie as a child. Growing up, Stephanie showed an interest in paleontology. In an effort to reunite with her past, she would sleep walk through Philadelphia digging in the back yards of local houses trying to find any bird-like bones that may reunite her with her past. Finally realizing that Macaw’s were not indigenous to Pennsylvania, Stephanie applied to Pennsylvania State University as a wild life biology major, hoping her studies could take her back to the depths of the Amazon one day. To this day, it is unclear what drove Stephanie to the field of chemistry, but some have hypothesized that she plans to research a brush polymer that will have identical properties to that of Macaw bones.


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Renee Sifri

B.S. University of California, Berkeley -2016- Chemistry

rjs526@cornell.edu

The world got a little bit brighter at the wee hour of 5 o’clock in the morning, when Renee Jack

Sifri was born. Amazingly, after only a few hours in this world, Renee was already talking. In

fact, her first word was coincidentally poly(aryl ketone), something at the time her parents

mistakenly heard as “mama.” Some would say that Renee’s destiny to be a chemist should

have been realized in this moment, however, due to the unfortunate timing of NPR playing

Beethoven’s Fifth da capo during their car ride home from the hospital, baby Renee felt the

distinct Allegro con brio influence, and so she began her life as a prodigal pianist. At age 5,

Renee’s parents enrolled her in the world famous Austrian conservatory, Universität für Musik

und darstellende Kunst Wien, where after an inspiring performance at Hofburg palace, Renee

became regarded as the next Chopin by the Viennese. Much like Chopin, Renee traveled far

and wide performing original compositions, eventually traveling to India, where her love for

channa masala and naan bread was discovered. After catching a glimpse of beloved TV series,

Friends, at an airport, Renee mistook the show as reality TV, and believing that Ross and

Rachel were actually her real parents, decided it time to return to the US to track them down.

After the devastating realization that her birth city of Mission Hills, CA is nowhere near NYC

where Rachel and Ross have called home for many years, Renee accepted that they could not

be her parents, and decided to move back to California. There, she enrolled in college at the

University of California, Berkeley. Sitting in her favorite Berkeley coffee shop, Café Strada,

Renee overheard a conversation between John Hartwig, Bob Bergman, and her future PI, Felix

Fischer. Enchanted by their talk of C-H activation, Renee understood that her next  move had to

be a career in chemistry. Now, a graduate student in the Fors Group, Renee is known for her

aptitude for breaking glassware, perhaps to elucidate the pitch at which glass breaks.


Mike Supej

B.A. Knox College – 2015 – Chemistry

mjs678@cornell.edu

Michael Joseph Supej was born (almost) on the Ides of March in 1993, in a dark hidden alley behind Portillo’s in Oswego, Illinois. Growing up with a large dose of Portillo’s Italian beef sandwich made him into the mustache-wielding sarcastic freedom-fighting American patriot we know today. Attending the Liberal Arts Knox College from 2011-2015 unveiled Mike’s secret musical alter ego. When he picked up his first trombone, a strong chemical bond formed between man and instrument. By day, you know him as Mike Supej, the elaborate chemist, by night, he is the talented Jazz legend “Duke Silver”. With his black fedora, sunglasses and Jazz trombone, “Duke Silver” mesmerizes mature Ithaca night life. As a cover for his true aspirations, the young “Duke Silver”, aka Mike Soupi, is pursuing his PhD at Cornell University in the Fors Lab.


Undergraduate Students


Katie Sunglasses

Katherine Stawiasz

Cornell -2018- Chemistry

kjs282@cornell.edu

Despite being born and raised in Connecticut, Katie turned a deaf ear to the call of the Huskies and opted for the Big Red instead. Her somewhat questionable coordination skills and subsequent failure to rave over any ball sports might explain that choice. Katie is an accomplished oboe player and, when she is not rehearsing for one of the many Cornell orchestra ensembles she is a part of, she likes to serenade her pet hedgehog, Felix. Unfortunately for Felix, hedgehogs are known to be fairly blind, but not deaf. Her love for science is only surpassed by her love for food and wiener dogs, which, we must admit, do look like sausages on legs. As most proud Nutmeggers, she enjoys expressing her liberal views and punctuating any political discussion with her legendary eye-rolling. In the lab, Katie is an expert at synthesizing colorful dyes and sighing when asked to run a column.


Gerickson Lopez

Cornell -2019-

Gerickson Lopez (born October 24, 1986), known simply as Gerickson, is a Canadian rapper, singer, songwriter, record producer, and actor. Gerickson initially gained recognition as an actor on the teen drama television series Degrassi: The Next Generation in the early 2000s. Intent on pursuing a career as a rapper, he departed the series in 2007 following the release of his debut mixtape, Room for Improvement.  As 2012 rolled in, Gerickson was readying himself for another chart takeover as his third album was on the way. Between performing and recording, he was entangled in a feud with Rihanna’s ex Chris Brown. They were involved in a bottle-hurling fight at a VIP nightclub that summer. The club was destroyed and many patrons were injured, leading to numerous lawsuits being filed.  Gerickson’s lawyers neglected to comment. Later that year, he appeared as a guest on Meek Mill’s album “Dreams Worth More Than Money”. His contribution to a song called “R.I.C.O.”, however, started a feud with the MMG rapper, who publicly accused him of not writing his own lyrics. Gerickson then responded to the accusation with two diss songs before Meek fired back with a diss track of his own. With these incidents behind him, Gerickson has turned his attention towards his education.  He is currently working towards a bachelors degree at Cornell University and studying organic materials in electrochemical energy storage systems.


Nancy Shen

Cornell -2018- Biological Sciences