Seniors Kaylie Gage and Kelsey Poremba, both chemistry majors, have been named this year’s recipients of Clare Boothe Luce Scholarships, awarded to two women majoring in the physical sciences who are entering their fourth year of study at the College of the Holy Cross. The scholarship covers tuition, room and board, and fees. In addition, the College supports the Luce Scholars with paid research fellowships during the summer prior to the start of their senior year.
Gage, of Ashburnham, Mass., has been working with Kevin Quinn, associate professor of chemistry, on the synthesis of cis-Sylvaticin, a potential anti-cancer agent, since the summer after her sophomore year. They will be publishing a paper on their research this fall. This past summer she did research as part of a National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates program at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where she worked with chemistry professor Scott Denmark on the development of enantioselective sulfenocyclization reactions.
At Holy Cross, she is a Dana Scholar, student director for the Peer Assisted Learning program in chemistry, teaching assistant for the Organic Chemistry Lab, on the executive board for both Science Ambassadors and Holy Cross First Responders Club, and writes for The Crusader student newspaper.
She plans to obtain a Ph.D. in organic chemistry and become a professor. “I would like to encourage more women to enter the sciences and mentor them in the same way my professors at Holy Cross have mentored me,” she said.
Poremba, of Bedford, N.H., has been working with Bianca Sculimbrene, assistant professor chemistry, since the summer following her sophomore year. They are focused on developing an efficient method to synthesize peptide isosteres which can be used to study the structure and binding of proteins or provide alternatives to peptide drugs that are not currently pharmacologically viable.
At Holy Cross, she is co-captain of the women’s varsity swimming and diving team, resident assistant, and a teaching assistant for the Analytical Chemistry Lab.
She is currently in the process of applying to organic chemistry Ph.D. programs, after which she hopes to work either in industry or teach at the college level.
Clare Boothe Luce Scholarships are made possible by a major grant from the Henry Luce Foundation to encourage women undergraduates to major in the physical sciences, including mathematics, computer science, physics, and chemistry.