Past Group Members

Past Post Doctoral Scholars

Dr. Dongbing Zhao

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.

Past Graduate Students

Veronika Kottisch

Ph.D. Cornell University – 2019

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, 24 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).

Dillon Gentekos

Ph.D. Cornell University–2019

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 fifth 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 Trotta

Ph.D. Cornell University–2019

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.

S. Parker Singleton

B.S. University of South Carolina – 2015 – Chemistry

M.S. Cornell University – 2017 – Chemistry

sps253@cornell.edu

S. Parker Singleton III was raised by wolves deep in the Blue Ridge Mountains of South Carolina. While pursuing a B.S. in chemistry from the University of South Carolina (Go Cocks), Parker never forgot his childhood companion Issac, a small woodland sparrow residing in his beard. Parker’s beard provides Isaac with a safe and warm environment, while Isaac keeps his beard clean. This ensures Issac never misses a meal and strengthens their symbiotic relationship. After a short stint in professional wrestling as El Whiskers, Parker is currently pursuing a PhD at Cornell University. He continues to donate his beard trimmings to an organization that builds the self esteem of whiskerless cats.

Past Undergraduate Students

Gerickson Lopez

Cornell University – 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.

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.

Nancy Shen

Cornell -2018- Biological Sciences

Nancy was born and raised in Virginia Beach, Virginia in a small cottage that doubled as a Jamba Juice. One day while on a trip to her grandfather’s house in the forest, Nancy became lost deep within the dark woods (Someone should contact the city and see if they can make a path or something). Fortunately for her, and the rest of this story, Nancy was saved by a kindly forest spirit named Cyanine who glowed all colors of the rainbow. Cyanine showed Nancy to the edge of the forest when the spirit suddenly dematerialized. The kindness of the forest spirit inspired Nancy to pursue a career in which she can also help people. In the meantime, she’s making dyes and is the master of colorful columns.

Amanda Innamorato

Cornell -2019- Human Development

It was the first day of rush week at Cornell. Coaxed by her freshman roommate to attend, Amanda entered her first sorority house and heard the cries of, what she initially thought to be, the screech of a thousand violins. But no. It was simply the song and dance of 40 girls pridefully showing allegiance to their house. Amanda thought she was well diverse in culture and language—she came from an Italian immigrant family and grew up in Long Island after all. But this…this high pitched, uniform screeching was something even her beloved Bichon Frise couldn’t hear. This siren song drew Amanda closer and closer towards her Cornell family at Kappa Delta. But there is a hidden past to Amanda of which her sisters are unaware. By day, Amanda appears to be a tennis playing, book reading, Italian cooking, serotonin loving human development major. However, every full moon, Amanda pulls out her yellow ballroom dress and has a romantic getaway with her one true love—Prince Adam.

Mason Wu

Cornell – 2016 – Chemistry

yw372@cornell.edu

Mason began his Pokémon journey at the age of 10 as a warm-hearted and well-intentioned but stubborn, rash, and amateur Pokémon Trainer in the small town of Palo Alto, CA. He was forced to accept a stubborn Pikachu from Professor Oak as his starter Pokémon because he woke up late on the day he was set to get his first Pokémon. He was determined to achieve his goal, however, and when Pikachu saw that he was willing to compromise his own safety to keep it safe, the two of them formed an extremely strong bond that has been noticed and remarked upon by many. This unbreakable friendship would set his course for the future. Soon after, Mason left Palo Alto on his quest to Catch ‘em All, and to be the very best, like no one ever was. Mason’s first Gym Victory came against L.T. Fors, “The Lightning American”, in Fall of 2014. Mason was rewarded with the Thunder Badge for this victory and is continuing to pursue his dream of being the best Pokémon Master so that one day his hometown may be known world-wide. Mason’s mastery of electric type Pokémon has translated well to his research, as he is blazing a new trail for the future of batteries.

Kathleen Naeher

Cornell – 2017 – Human Biology, Health, and Society

kan53@cornell.edu

Kathleen ran to Ithaca from her native Long Island. On her trek, she met Brett who convinced her to join the lab, just after telling her that she had arrived in the “gorges town”; without this providential intervention, she might still be running. Kathleen brings to the lab her genuine happiness and deep love of T-Swift, to the great delight of her labmate Jacob, who now has an excuse to play “Shake It Off” on repeat, all day. Her work with sensitive monomers has rendered Kathleen a distillation expert, while her soft touch with experimental set-ups has lead to a close friendship with Dave, our glassblower. When she is not studying for her major in Human Biology, Health, and Society (or watching a chick-flick!), she dedicates her time to strenuous training for both rowing and track in preparation for the 2016 Olympic Games. Her favorite restaurant is the Cheesecake Factory, which (despite her impassioned petition) has yet to open a location in Ithaca, a fact that- while unfortunate for her tastebuds- might be better for her Olympic dreams.

Mengyuan Jin

Cornell – 2017 – Chemistry

mj368@cornell.edu

Our sweet baby Qipa grew up in Shanghai, China, where she first became a master of League of Legends. Qipa is fluent in many forms of alchemy, including: chrysopoeia, immortality elixirs, and the like. Her most applicable use of alchemy has been in the development of a universal solvent to clean Jacob’s NMR tubes. She has a great relationship with Jacob, her mentor, who also hates cheese. Though Qipa insists that her favorite celebrities all live in the animated world (as no real person deserves her adoration) that may begin to change as Jacob has introduced her to the world of Taylor Swift. Qipa is an adamant denier/skeptic of tomatoes, ignoring the 99.9% of scientists who confirm that the tomato is, in fact, a fruit. Though she misses the great Singles’ Day celebrations back home, she is able to find happiness in Lady M Cheesecake. An excellent cook, Qipa commonly enjoys intestine, goat, frog & chicken feet, chicken heart, monkey’s brain, and raw baby rat.

Teresa Datta

Cornell -2020- Chemistry

Brittney Moncrieffe

Cornell – 2020 –

Past REU Students

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Colleen Trainor

Hillsdale College, Michigan – 2020 – Chemistry

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Red Smith-Sweetser

Rochester Institute of Technology, New York – 2020 – Chemistry

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Zachary Vaughn

Oberlin College, Ohio – 2020 – Chemistry

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Erin Meyers

Kansas State University, Kansas – 2019 – Chemistry

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Kirkland Sugrim

Cornell University

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Allison Wu

Williams College, Massachusetts – 2018 – Chemistry

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Hazel Chimei Davis

Furman University, South Carolina – 2017 – Chemistry

Lauren Dupuis

Montana State University – 2019 –  Chemical and Biological Engineering