FACSS Student Award and Hirschfeld Scholars

FACSS is proud to support the development of the next generation of leaders in analytical science. Pre-doctoral students presenting at the conference are encouraged to submit applications for the FACSS Student Award and the Tomas Hirschfeld Scholar Award. Both awards recognize research excellence but highlight the different ways that this may be achieved.

The FACSS Student Award is given to the student who has furthered the state-of-the-art in their chosen field(s) and in so doing, advanced the understanding of important scientific or societal questions. The recipient will have a strong research record and be identifiable as an emerging leader in analytical chemistry.

The winner(s) of the Tomas Hirschfeld Scholar Award will best exemplify the extraordinary creativity of the award’s namesake, whose deep understanding of the chemistry and physics of measurement science allowed him to find new connections and applications that eluded most practitioners. The recipient(s) and their work will be seen as potentially defining the future practice of analytical chemistry.  To learn more about the remarkable contributions of Tomas B. Hirschfeld, click here.


To be considered for either award, students must submit an abstract for oral presentation at SciX, then submit the following as a single PDF file: 

  • The application form 
  • Two letters of nomination, including one by the student’s mentor
  • A copy of the candidate’s résumé
  • A copy of the candidate's graduate transcript
  • Copies of reprints and/or preprints of research accomplished

Please submit all of the above in one combined PDF during abstract submission by the oral abstract deadline.

If you have any questions, please contact us at scix@scixconference.org.

FACSS Student Award Recipient 2022

Alexis Weber

Alexis Weber is a 3rd year Ph.D. Candidate in Dr. Igor Lednev’s lab in the Department of Chemistry at the University at Albany, SUNY. She was born in New Orleans, Louisiana and grew up in Jacksonville, Florida. She received her Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science – Analytical Track at the University of Central Florida (UCF). This is where she first became interested in research, specifically spectroscopy. And it was during her undergraduate course work that she realized forensic chemistry was the field she wanted to pursue. After completing her B.S. in Forensic Science, she decided to continue with her education, leaving Florida to pursue a Master of Science in Forensic Science at the University of New Haven (UNH) in Connecticut. Under the guidance of Dr. Virginia Maxwell, Alexis’ researched focused on the use of spectroscopy for fiber analysis.

While finishing her Master program, she decided to keep moving up the east coast and applied for the Doctoral Program for analytical chemistry. She had the pleasure of being introduced to Dr. Igor Lednev and was offered a position in his laboratory. Which has allowed her to work on research involving the analysis of body fluids using vibrational spectroscopy. Specifically, her work focuses on laying the foundation for the creation of a needed methodology for determining the time since deposition of bloodstains using vibrational and fluorescence spectroscopy. Her research has resulted in five first-author publications of seven total publications and presented her research at several scientific conferences. She has been recognized by awards in different scientific communities, including the University at Albany President’s Award for Academic Leadership.

On top of her academic achievements, she is the Chief Operating Officer of SupreMEtric LLC, a university spin-off start-up founded by Dr. Lednev. This company focuses on the commercialization of Raman spectroscopy products paired with chemometrics for to identify body fluids. With this experience she has had a unique opportunity to balance being both a member of academia as well as learning about the science industry. Due to this unique experience, Alexis considers herself at a crossroads for the focus of my future career between academia and industry. Though she knows no matter what, her aspirations analytical forensic chemistry will remain her focus.

Tomas Hirschfeld Scholar RecipientS 2022

Sayantan Mahapatra

Sayantan Mahapatra is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Chemistry with a focus on single-molecule chemical analysis of surface structures at the University of Illinois Chicago. In 2015, he earned a Bachelor’s degree (B.Sc.) in Chemistry with minors in Physics and Mathematics from the University of Calcutta, India. Following that, he obtained a Master’s degree (M.Sc.) in Chemistry at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur in 2017 and moved to Chicago to pursue his doctoral studies in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Illinois Chicago under the supervision of Dr. Nan Jiang.

His current research interest is mainly focused on Angstrom-scale chemical analysis of surface-supported molecular structure (single-molecule) and two-dimensional materials using ultrahigh vacuum tip-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (UHV-TERS) technique. His research integrates scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) with optical spectroscopy inside UHV to understand some of the vital chemistry and physics-related problems in the single-molecule study ranging from spectroscopy to molecular-level catalysis. Besides, single-molecule engineering of precursor molecules towards different desired products on the surface is another area that draws his attention. With atomically confined light at the STM tip apex, the highly energetic plasmons generated at the tip apex can be specifically utilized to probe certain chemical reactions. So far, he has six first-author publications, including one JACS and one Nano Letters.

Sayantan has received multiple awards during his time at the University of Illinois Chicago. In 2021, he received Dean’s Scholar Fellow Award from UIC Graduate College. He is a member of the American Vacuum Society (AVS), where he earned the Morton M. Traum Student Award in 2020 and the Russel and Sigurd Varian Award in 2021. In India, he was an Innovation in Science Pursuit for Inspired Research (INSPIRE) fellow funded by the Govt. of India. Outside the lab, Sayantan loves to play soccer, cricket, hiking, or watch the night sky.

Anna Wójtowicz

Anna Wójtowicz is a 4th-year Ph.D. Candidate at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland under the mentorship of Prof. R. Wietecha-Posłuszny. Her Ph.D. project aims to develop and implement novel spectroscopic techniques for practical forensic and analytical chemistry.

Before entering the Ph.D. program, Anna completed her bachelor’s and master’s studies in Chemistry at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków. In her research, she dealt with the spectroscopic analysis of bloodstains for forensic purposes. During her studies, she also gained significant international experience by taking two summer internships in leading research laboratories in the United Kingdom, successively at the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge. Then, in the second year of her doctoral studies, she received a prestigious scholarship from the Iwanowska Program offered by the Polish National Agency for Academic Exchange for outstanding young researchers and carried out a one-year research project in the laboratory of Prof. Igor Lednev at the University at Albany, State University of New York, USA. She worked on biological stain analysis for forensic purposes using fluorescence, infrared, and Raman spectroscopy in combination with advanced statistics, with a particular focus on menstrual bloodstain aging.

Anna’s work resulted in multiple peer-reviewed publications that she has presented at numerous local, national, and international scientific conferences. The results obtained have already allowed one to advance the understanding of the essence of changes in biological tissues and fluids and to develop new methods of identification and detection that may define the future of forensic analytical chemistry. This includes, in particular, the development of new methods of detecting postmortem changes in vitreous humor using infrared spectroscopy, capturing post-deposition changes in menstrual bloodstains using fluorescence, and testing the stability of psychoactive substances in alternative matrices, vitreous humor and liver, using liquid chromatography with a mass detector.

Past recipients


FACSS Student Award

Vanessa Cupil-Garcia, Duke University

Tomas Hirschfeld Scholar Awards

Nicolas Morato, Purdue University

Grant Myres, University of Utah


Not awarded 


FACSS Student Award

Ewelina Mistek, SUNY Albany

Tomas Hirschfeld Scholar Awards

Shachi Mittal, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Erika Portero, University of Maryland College Park


FACSS Student Award

Edward D. Hoegg, Clemson University

Tomas Hirschfeld Scholar Awards

Katie Spalding, University of Strathclyde


FACSS Student Award

Nicholas Riley, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Tomas Hirschfeld Scholar Awards

Aboualizadeh Ebrahim, University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee

Paidi Santosh, Johns Hopkins University


FACSS Student Award

Mustafa Unal, Case Western Reserve University

Tomas Hirschfeld Scholar Awards

Kyle Doty, SUNY Albany

Mario Saucedo-Espinosa,Rochester Institute of Technology


FACSS Student Awards

Marie Richard-Lacroix, University of Montreal

Lynn X. Zhang, Clemson University

Tomas Hirschfeld Scholar Awards

Stephanie DeJong, University of South Carolina

Patrik K. Johansson, University of Washington


FACSS Student Award

James R. Hands, University of Central Lancashire

Tomas Hirschfeld Scholar Awards

Menglian Zhang, Ohio University

Andrew Schwartz, Indiana University


FACSS Student Award

Larry Gibson, University of Notre Dame

Tomas Hirschfeld Scholar Awards

Gloria Sheynkman, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Bai Nie, Michigan State University


FACSS Student Award

Ali Khumaeni, University of Fukui, Japan

Tomas Hirschfeld Scholar Awards

Nathaniel Gomer, University of South Carolina

Rohith Reddy, University of Illinois


FACSS Student Award

Yun Zhang, Ohio University

Tomas Hirschfeld Scholar Award

Olivier R. Bolduc, University of Montreal


FACSS Student Award

Jacob Shelley, Indiana University

Tomas Hirschfeld Scholar Awards

Ishan Barman, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Anil Kumaar Kodali, University of Illinois


FACSS Student Award

Yuze Sun, University of Missouri

Tomas Hirschfeld Scholar Award

Matthew Lockett, University of Wisconsin


FACSS Student Award

David Strasfeld, University of Wisconsin, Madison

Tomas Hirschfeld Scholar Awards

Christopher R. Field, University of Illinois

Matthew Keller, Vanderbilt University


FACSS Student Award

Sen Li, Purdue University

Tomas Hirschfeld Scholar Awards

Matthew Schulmerich, University of Michigan

Junrong Zheng, Stanford University


FACSS Student Award

Daniel B. Bassil, University of Missouri, Columbia

Tomas Hirschfeld Scholar Awards

Andrea Tao, University of California, Berkeley

Tim M. Brewer, Clemson University


FACSS Student Award

Allen E. Haddrell, Simon Fraser University

Tomas Hirschfeld Scholar Award

Jean-Francois Masson, Arizona State University


FACSS Student Award

Lawrence W. Dick, Jr., Duke University

Tomas Hirschfeld Scholar Award

Ryan J. Priore, University of South Carolina


FACSS Student Award

Yongfen Chen, University of New Orleans

Tomas Hirschfeld Scholar Award

Brandon T. Ruotolo, Texas A&M University


FACSS Student Award

James H. Barnes IV, Indiana University

Tomas Hirschfeld Scholar Award

Christian Pellerin, University Laval


FACSS Student Award

Heather Peters, Wake Forest University

Tomas Hirschfeld Scholar Award

Michael Doescher, University of South Carolina


FACSS Student Award

Christopher D. Zangmeister, University of Arizona

Tomas Hirschfeld Scholar Award

Dimitri Pappas, University of Florida


FACSS Student Award

Renee JiJi, Arizona State University

Tomas Hirschfeld Scholar Award

Sara L. McIntosh, Duke University


FACSS Student Award

John A. McLean, George Washington University

Tomas Hirschfeld Scholar Award

Susan L. R. Barker, University of Michigan


FACSS Student Award

Bryan C. Castle, University of Florida

Tomas Hirschfeld Scholar Awards

Darren Dunphy, University of Arizona

Radislav Potyrailo, Indiana University


FACSS Student Award

Christine M. Ingersoll, State University of New York at Buffalo

Tomas Hirschfeld Scholar Awards

Paul Edmiston, University of Arizona

Steven R. Emory, Indiana University

Dana M. Spence, Michigan State University


FACSS Student Award

David E. Cliffel, University of Texas at Austin

Tomas Hirschfeld Scholar Awards

Curtis D. Cleven, Purdue University

Robert J. Willicut, Louisiana State University

Jeremy M. Shaver, Duke University


FACSS Student Award

Diana S. West, Wright State University

Tomas Hirschfeld Scholar Awards

Jeanette K. Rice, State University of New York at Buffalo

W. Russell Everett, University of Arkansas


FACSS Student Award

Michael Ruberto, Seton Hall University

Tomas Hirschfeld Scholar Awards

Ray Bakhtiar, North Dakota State University

Sheryl Ann Tucker, University of North Texas


FACSS Student Award

Evelyn Guizhen Su, University of Connecticut

Tomas Hirschfeld Scholar Awards

Vasilis Gregoriou, Duke University

Patrick A. Limbach, Ohio State University

Jeff Mazzeo, Northeastern University


FACSS Student Award

Rebecca M. Dittmar, Duke University

Tomas Hirschfeld Scholar Awards

Scott E. Van Bramer, University of Colorado

Marilyn O’Grady, Virginia Polytechnic Institute

Chris G. Gill, University of British Columbia


FACSS Student Award

Richard L. Irwin, University of Connecticut

Tomas Hirschfeld Scholar Awards

Paul Shiundu, University of British Columbia


FACSS Student Award

Patrick J. Treado, University of Michigan

Tomas Hirschfeld Scholar Awards

Renato Zenobi, Stanford University

Mingda Wang, Ohio State University


FACSS Student Award

George Yefchak, Michigan State University

Tomas Hirschfeld Scholar Awards

James T. Cronin, University of Delaware

Sue E. Zhu, Villanova University


Tomas Hirschfeld Scholar Awards

Jonathan V. Sweedler, University of Arizona

Brad Tenge, University of Washington

Peter Wentzell, Michigan State University

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