Shugrue ’13 Receives Competitive NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

April 9th, 2014 by 

Image by John Buckingham

Christopher Shugrue ’13, of Rocky Hill, Conn., has been awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. The fellowship provides three years of support for graduate study leading to research-based master’s or doctoral degrees, and is intended for students who are at the early stages of their graduate study. NSF received more than 14,000 applications for the 2014 competition, and made 2,000 fellowship award offers.

Shugrue, who majored in chemistry at Holy Cross, is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in chemistry from Yale University. The funding from the fellowship will allow Shugrue to synthesize and study phosphoric acid containing peptides, which could selectively catalyze a multitude of reactions. Most specifically, he is interested in the reduction of quinolines and imines, common structural motifs in pharmaceuticals.

After completing his studies, Shugrue plans to work as a chemistry professor. “I hope to become a professor at a small college, where I can both instruct students in a classroom setting and directly teach undergraduates how to carry out their own research,” he wrote in his personal statement. “In this light, graduate school at Yale will enable me to grow as a chemist, a teacher, and a person, helping me to better reach out and help not only my students, but also the larger community, come to understand, appreciate, and apply chemistry to make a difference in the world.”

At Holy Cross, Shugrue was an undergraduate research assistant for Brian Linton, assistant professor of chemistry; a PAL (peer assisted learning tutor) through the Academic Services and Learning Resources department for several chemistry courses; a teaching assistant for four separate chemistry courses; and member of the chemistry department student advising council, in which he was co-chair during his senior year. He was also an altar server and liturgical coordinator for the Chaplains’ Office, and was in the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternal service organization, where he was a grand knight his junior year.

The National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program helps ensure the vitality of the human resource base of science and engineering in the United States and reinforces its diversity.  The program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees at accredited US institutions.

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