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Juniata Student Studying Chemistry to Attend CalTech on NSF Scholarship

(Posted April 30, 2012)

Katerina Korch, a senior studying chmistry. She is from Shillington, Pa.

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Katerina Korch, a senior at Juniata College from Shillington, Pa., studying chemistry, has been awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship that will pay for three years of her graduate education. She is the first Juniata student to receive the award as an undergraduate.

Korch, the daughter of David and Donna Korch, of Shillington, Pa., will be enrolled in the chemistry doctoral program of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif., in the fall.

The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing graduate degrees at accredited United States institutions.

Each fellow receives a $30,000 annual stipend for three years, along with a $10,500 cost of education allowance for tuition and fees, international research opportunities and professional development.

"I can certainly attest that Juniata truly changes lives," Korch says. "There is never a dull moment. I came here thinking that I wanted to be a medical doctor and through the curricular requirements and talking with my advisors I came to realize that my passion truly is organic chemistry. I couldn't be happier."

"I can certainly attest that Juniata truly changes lives. I came here thinking that I wanted to be a medical doctor and through the curricular requirements and talking with my advisors I came to realize that my passion truly is organic chemistry. I couldn't be happier."
Katerina Korch, senior

Korch recently won the 2012 Iota Sigma Pi Undergraduate Award for Excellence in Chemistry in April. Iota Sigma Pi is the national honor society for women in chemistry.

Korch has already established an extensive track record in undergraduate research. In summer 2011, she received an Amgen Scholars Scholarship to conduct research at UCLA, in Los Angeles, Calif. She worked on copper-promoted reaction that should make it easier to synthesize complex organic molecules, such as pharmaceuticals.

The previous summer in 2010, Korch received an NSF-Research Experiences for Undergraduate award to work in a chemistry lab at Clemson University, in Clemson, S.C. She worked on procedures for synthesizing and purifying carbon-based nanomaterials. In addition, while at Juniata she took on research projects in organic synthesis and methodology.

She was selected as an alternate for a Fulbright Fellowship in The Netherlands.

Korch also has been recognized for her musical talents as well. As a cellist with the Juniata College Orchestra, she performed four years with the ensemble and was chosen as the winner of the college's Concerto Competition in 2009-2010 academic year. She also performed in the college's Honors Recital April 12.

She has remained active in student clubs, including Chemistry Club, where she served as secretary and webmaster during her senior year. She participates in science outreach events with the Chemistry Club and the Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania.

She is a member of Gamma Sigma Epsilon, the chemistry honor society; Omicron Delta Kappa, the national leadership honor society; and the Juniata College Honor Society.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.