Wayne State Associate Professor Eranda Nikolla wins national award for women in science

Each year, the Women Chemists Committee (WCC) of the American Chemical Society (ACS) recognizes five outstanding, early-to-midcareer women scientists with the Rising Star Award. Recipients are chosen at a national level and span all academic, industrial and governmental sectors of chemistry.

This year, Wayne State Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science Eranda Nikolla, Ph.D., was named a recipient of the 2019 WCC Rising Star Award. Nikolla received a stipend for travel expenses to the 257th National Meeting of the ACS in Orlando, Florida, where she accepted the award and presented her innovative research in the field of electrocatalysis. For Nikolla, minimizing emissions and our reliance on fossil fuel is the ultimate goal.

“Fossil fuels are a dwindling resource, and substantial release of CO2 from their processing has become a contemporary challenge. This presents a significant problem as world population increases, consequently leading to an increased demand for fuel,” said Nikolla. “The research in my lab in the Wayne State University Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science is guided by the aim of addressing this challenge through designing cost-effective catalysts for efficient and environmentally friendly energy and chemical conversion.”

The WWC Rising Star Awards were established in 2011 to promote the retention of women in science. Along with offering their scientific work, winners are encouraged to prepare an additional lecture detailing their scientific path to success. Nikolla believes her educational path was fundamental in establishing her independent academic career, and is motivated by her passion to educate and inspire the future generations of scientists and engineers.

“Lessons learned during my academic path have been key in solidifying my dedication toward education and diversity as key components in advancing science and engineering,” said Nikolla. “Involvement with educational and outreach programs in chemical sciences and engineering has been a source of inspiration for following an academic career.”

This award is only the latest on an extensive list of Nikolla’s professional distinctions. She has also received the National Science Foundation’s CAREER Award and the Department of Energy’s CAREER Award, the 2016 Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, the Young Scientist Award from the International Congress on Catalysis, and was named an Influential Researcher by the editors of Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, a weekly journal published by the ACS.


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