Chemistry Research Scholars Program


The Chemistry Research Scholars Program at RIT is a program designed to recognize and highlight the research achievements of undergraduate students conducting chemically-related research.

The program increases the visibility of our research students, fosters a culture of undergraduate research, and promotes undergraduate research. It targets students that want to engage in serious undergraduate research for at least three semesters at RIT in the School of Chemistry and Materials Science or chemically-related field. This may include a student who is a major within the school but who chooses to conduct chemically-focused research with a faculty mentor outside of the school. It also includes students not majoring in chemistry or biochemistry but who are conducting research with a faculty mentor within the School of Chemistry and Materials Science.

The program recognizes students who design and execute high-quality research projects under the guidance of their selected faculty mentor. Exceptional work accepted for publication in peer-reviewed journals will be published under the co-authorship of the student and faculty mentor.

Program Information

Who may enter the Chemistry Research Scholars Program?
Undergraduates who are doing research in the chemical sciences shall be designated in the Chemistry Research Scholars Program including:

  1. Undergraduates who are doing research with a professor within the School of Chemistry and Materials Science regardless of the student's major, or 
  2. Undergraduates majoring in chemistry or biochemistry, regardless of the school in which the research mentor resides, as long as the research is related to the chemical sciences.

A student must fulfill the requirements below to qualify for admission into the Research Scholars Program:

  • Be an undergraduate
  • Have done research for at least one semester with the professor who will serve as the student's research mentor within the program

In order to graduate as a research scholar, you must meet all of the criteria listed under progress once you have been admitted to the program.

A one page research abstract written by the student in collaboration with the research mentor and submitted electronically (Research Scholars Program Admission Form and Faculty Mentor Form). The abstract should include the purpose/significance of the research, and a general description of what will be carried out over the course of the project, with the understanding that the direction of research can change as discoveries are made.

  • The above mentioned abstract will be submitted to the Chemistry Research Scholars Committee electronically.
  • There will be a rolling admission and a student may apply at any time.

A letter of acceptance into the program will be sent to the student.

The student will satisfy the following requirements in order to graduate as a Chemistry Research Scholar:

  • Graduate with a GPA of 3.0 or higher.
  • Do research with the same research mentor for at least three semesters (1 summer = 2 semesters).
  • If the research is conducted within the School of Chemistry and Materials Science, the student will sign up for the "Advanced Chemistry Research" or "Advanced Biochemistry Research" for at least one semester.
  • Obtain no grade lower than a B in research while in the program.
  • Maintain a research laboratory notebook in accordance with standards set by the research mentor.
  • Make at least one off-campus presentation.
  • The research student must also meet any other requirements and laboratory rules set by his or her research mentor.
  • Final Submission of documentation to complete the Chemistry Research Scholar Program.

At the beginning of the last semester prior to graduation, the faculty research mentor will complete the Faculty Mentor Form attesting that the student has met the requirements of the program and is deserving of the designation Chemistry Research Scholar.

The Chemistry Research Scholars Committee will administer the program to include, acknowledging completed applications, assessing whether submitted documentation meets the specified criteria for the Research Scholars Program, and informing candidates of final decisions.

All students who have successfully completed the Research Scholars Program will be recognized during graduation as "Research Scholars". They will also be recognized at a college-wide Research Scholars awards ceremony in the spring semester.

Faculty Mentors

Organic Chemistry
The research interests in my group are in the field of organic synthesis. My research is an interplay of activities in the synthesis of biologically relevant molecules and projects in synthetic methodology. Students working in my group will gain research experience in modern synthetic reactions, experimental design, purification techniques, and structure determination.

Organic Chemistry
Our research group interests are centered on the discovery of novel transition metal and Lewis acid-catalyzed synthetic methodologies. We are currently exploring ring strain as a design principle to gain new mechanistic insight into a large spectrum of remarkable reactivities not observed in other p-bonded systems. Special emphasis is placed on sp2-hybridized prochiral centers because of the regio- and stereochemical aspects of reaction selectivity. The goal of our research group is to develop useful synthetic building blocks to be applied in organic chemistry and other biologically important intermediates and products.

Physical, Analytical, and Materials Chemistry
Our research is centered around fluorescence spectroscopy of 21st century materials. These materials include conjugated polymers and carbon nanotubes for use in polymer photovoltaics, as well as biological probes. Using fluorescence, we can characterize new materials, study energy transfer and measure excited state kinetics. Through collaborations with RIT's nanopower Research Laboratory we also have access to nanoimaging techniques that allow us to correlate our measured spectroscopic properties with changes in macromolecular structures. 

My research interest is computational biochemistry, where we use computers to analyze biochemical systems and predict behaviors or functions. We have three different collaborative projects that all involve developing technology (writing programs, creating databases) and using the technology to create and explore biochemical information: 1) JBioFramework (simulated separations) is a good project for science majors with computer skills who are interested in programming in Java. 2) ProMOL is a plugin for the PyMOL molecular visualization environment that can be used to suggest functions for protein structures that lack assigned functions. This project is suitable for students with interests in programming, data analysis, and biochemical characterization of novel enzymes. 3) We are currently adapting the ProMOL project as part of a Course-based Undergraduate Research Experience. This project would be best for students who want experience in curriculum design and assessment of learning. 

Paul Craig headshot
Department Head
School of Chemistry and Materials Science
College of Science

Analytical Chemistry
The research interests in my group are in field of atmospheric chemistry. We are interested in understanding how volatile organic species (VOCs) emitted into the atmosphere are oxidized and what is their ultimate fate. Reactions in the atmosphere are simulated in an atmospheric chamber and the oxidation mechanism and kinetics are monitored by sensitive spectroscopic techniques. In addition, we are interested in understanding how the oxidized VOCs form aerosol and what is the molecular composition of these aerosols. To this end, a number of GCMS, LCMS, and spectroscopic techniques are used. This research aids in understanding how the atmosphere works and ultimately aids in improving atmospheric models which are used to simulate and predict the future atmosphere and influence policy decisions.

The Gleghorn lab is committed to understanding a variety of nucleic acid structures and their recognition by nucleic acid binding proteins that are important to cell biology. We use different biochemical techniques to identify properties of nucleic acids and to characterize the proteins that bind them. To determine the three-dimensional structures of macromolecules we use the technique of X-ray crystallography. One of the first steps in this process involves identifying conditions that will produce crystals. Grown crystals are then exposed to a beam of X-rays to produce diffraction images that are analyzed and processed with sophisticated software ultimately leading to what is called “solving” an X-ray crystal structure. Determining three-dimensional structures of macromolecules combined with well thought-out biochemical experimentation can reveal structure-dependent macromolecular functions. This knowledge can lead to revealing important aspects of cellular biology and/or developing technologies to treat disease.

Organic Chemistry
Our research lab is dedicated to the pedagogical research relative to the delivery of undergraduate organic chemistry labs. I also have wet chemistry projects for students looking for classical synthetic experience. Since most bioactive compounds extracted from natural sources such as corals and plants are produced in low quantities, synthetic chemists are often challenged with synthesizing the same molecules. Synthetic organic research thus plays three roles: 1) to verify the structure reported by isolation chemists 2) to discover a successfully efficient synthetic route towards the molecule and 3) to produce enough compound in order to alleviate stress on the environment. Learn more about my research at my website

Physical and Analytical Chemistry
The RIT Magnetic Resonance Laboratory is a research and development laboratory devoted to solving real world problems with magnetic resonance. The laboratory specializes in the development of magnetic resonance instrumentation, computer based tissue classification using magnetic resonance images, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of materials. The laboratory is currently focusing on developing a near surface MRI, and the NMR of hydrated randomly packed particles.

Joseph Hornak headshot
Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science
College of Science
Director of Magnetic Resonance Laboratory
Program Faculty, School of Chemistry and Materials Science

Biochemistry and biophysics
The goal of the Michel Research Group is to link the structural properties and conformational motions of proteins to their functions using various spectroscopic, biophysical and molecular biology techniques. To accomplish this goal, we use site-directed mutagenesis, NMR spectroscopy and other biochemical approaches to manipulate protein structure and dynamics and evaluate the functional impact of those changes. The lab focuses their structure/function studies on two protein families: the c-type heme signaling/sensing proteins from Geobacter sulfurreducens and antigenic proteins from Haemophilus influenzae, pathogenic bacteria which cause diseases such as meningitis, pneumonia and otitis media (ear infections).

Lea Michel headshot
Associate Professor
School of Chemistry and Materials Science
College of Science

Materials Science
Our research investigates the magnetocaloric effect in metallic nanostructures and explores nano-scale magnetic materials for use in advanced refrigeration devices. We also study electronic devices using quantum mechanics. My group makes sensors out of nano-scale magnets. These sensors are in your hard drive; it’s what reads the bits. Magnetic field sensors decipher data stored in magnetic bits on hard disc drives. Our research focuses on the basic properties of magnetic materials on a scale 10,000 times smaller than a human hair.

Polymer Chemistry
Our group investigates the syntheses of polymers using metallocenes and other single-site catalysts. These catalysts provide excellent control over the structure and molecular weight properties of modern synthetic polymers. Our major goals are to develop new polymers or new polymerization processes for existing polymers that lead to high productivities and better end properties. Besides utilizing polymerization catalysts that are commercially available, we also design new metalorganic catalysts. Our work includes the syntheses of polymers with novel morphologies and polymer/composites at the nanoscopic scale.

Matt Miri headshot
Associate Professor
School of Chemistry and Materials Science
College of Science

Physical Chemistry
Dr. Rocha’s research group focus is in the area of nanotechnology, more specifically, in the use of nanomaterials (such as carbon nanotubes, graphenes, etc.) in energy, electronics, and biomedicine. Using primarily optical spectroscopy techniques (absorption, fluorescence, Raman) for materials characterization, fundamental understanding of nanomaterials chemistry is necessary to assist the chemical and engineering communities take their next-generation products to market more rapidly. In the future, Dr. Rocha plans to expand into other elemental nanomaterials, first as hybrids with carbon nanomaterials and then later as primary materials. Students will learn fundamentals of nanotechnology, optical spectroscopy, chromatography, and instrumentation design.

Our research entails the discovery and characterization of new enzymes. The enzymes either come from model bacteria such as E. coli or pathogenic bacteria such as M. tuberculosis or Staph. aureus. Enzymes from pathogens have the potential to be novel antibiotic targets. We study members of either the Nudix hydrolase superfamily or the HAD superfamily; in this way we can understand family relationships as well. Students in the lab do bioinformatics to uncover new enzymes, clone the genes, and express, purify, and characterize the proteins. We also do knock-out mutagenesis to determine the cellular function of some of these enzymes.

Analytical/Materials Science
Our research is oriented towards nanostructured materials and novel fuel cells that would have competing applications. Nanostructured materials offer interesting chemistry in studying electro-catalysis that would help in miniaturizing the synthetic plants. Besides the nanostructured materials, one can find useful applications in developing sensitive and rationale-based sensors. A few of the materials open up the prospects of understanding spintronics and novel devices.

Analytical Chemistry/Bioorganic
The goal of the Schmitthenner Research Group is to develop versatile, easy-to-use templates to construct “targeted molecular imaging agents” useful for the early detection of cancer. The templates are chemical scaffolds comprised of peptides with differentially protected side chains. This will enable selective deprotection and binding to different imaging and targeting agents on the same template. The imaging agents are contrast agents for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), chelating agents for positron emission tomography (PET) and dyes for near infrared fluorescence (NIRF). The targeting agents are peptides which “seek” cancer cells to selectively image diseased tissues.

Polymer Chemistry
Research in Tom Smith's imaging materials laboratory centers on the design and synthesis of functional polymers. Our objective is to create intelligent, sensorial materials that exhibit significant electronic, photonic, magnetic, redox, or ferroelectric response characteristics. Block copolymers that facilitate incorporation of functional groups in macromolecular systems with control of architecture and tertiary structure are the heart of synthetic activities. Additional materials that are being studied include organometallic polymers and nanoscopic organic/inorganic polymer composites. The group is also working to prepare novel proton exchange fuel cell membranes. Visit my website at:

Physical /Environmental Chemistry
Surface modification of materials is a key technology for the processing and manufacture of many products which would otherwise be unattainable. By altering the chemical and physical properties of the surface without changing the bulk properties, adhesion to the surface may be greatly improved. Students will work with a number of surface modification techniques in the Plasma Science Laboratory including: (1) UV photons; (2) vacuum UV (VUV) photons produced downstream from low-pressure microwave plasmas of rare gases; (3) VUV radiation from inert gas excimers formed in high pressure rotating dc arc experiments; (4) reactive neutral gaseous particles and (5) reactive ions.

Physical / Inorganic / Biochemistry
In collaboration with the Rochester General Hospital and South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, our research focuses on developing analytical methods and devices that detect the presence and quantify the dosage of critical pharmaceutical agents in order to verify drug authenticity in the field. Our research seeks to affect the global problem of counterfeit drug introduction into the marketplace, and minimize its profound negative impact on the fight against lethal diseases. Assay platforms design, that can be adapted for field use with minimal instrumentation or resource requirements, provides additional research opportunities within our group. For further information on these research opportunities, please contact me at

Small Business Development / Materials Science
As a physical chemist and serial entrepreneur (Cerion Advanced Materials, Cerion NRx, Cerion Energy and Zero Valent NanoMetals, Inc) my interests lie at the intersection of small business development and the materials science of functionalized inorganic nanoparticles. In the unique size regime of 2 nm metal oxide or fully reduced metal & alloy nanoparticles (an optimum size in kinetic and thermodynamic reactivity), we have had success making : ceria metal oxide combustion catalysts for the oxidation of diesel soot, functionalized ceria clusters that ameliorate the central nervous system symptoms of excess reactive oxygen species, and functionalized nano metals for electrically conductive 2D and 3D additively manufactured antennas. In addition, we are working on the mechanism of action of very promising oncology materials and delivery vehicles to carry them into and out of the human body. Inorganic nanoparticle synthesis, the mathematical and quantum mechanical description of the action of these materials are skill sets that we cultivate.

headshot of Kenneth J. Reed

Kenneth J. Reed. Ph.D.
AMPrint Center, Institute Hall 73-4216


Class of 2018

group photo of chemistry scholars with awards

Left to Right: Marc Toro (Dr. Takacs) MS Structural Engineering Program UC Berkeley, Benjamin T. Catalano (Dr. Rocha) PhD Chem Program U Penn, Sarah Stanton (Dr. Michel) Nursing Program U Rochester, Kara Farquharson (Dr. Michel) MS Chem Program RIT, Shivani Phadke (Dr. Michel) MS Biotech Program, Northeastern, Kaitlyn Houghtling (Dr. Goudreau) PhD Chem Program U Rochester, Rebecca Bogart (Dr. Cody) PhD Chem Program U Vermont, Tyler Zimmermann (Dr. Goudreau) QC Chemist Tangram Co, Sam Lucisano (Dr. Smith) Xerox, Robert Ichiyama (Dr. Williams) PhD Chem Program Rhode Island, Thomas Hynes (Dr. O’Handley) Gap Year then Medical School, Scott Humski (Dr. Willams) Klockner Pentaplast, Ryan Le Tourneau (Dr. Schmitthenner) PhD Chem Program UC Irvine

Not Pictured: Daniel Honeycutt (Dr. Miri) Lab Tech Axalta Coating Systems, Tobias Hull (Dr. Reed) PhD Program U Colorado , Shin Lutondo (Dr. Takacs) Product Developer Unilever 

Class of 2017

group shot of students holding awards

Back Left: William Marmor (Dr. Tina Goudreau) Stoneybrook Medical School, Mike Cattalani (Dr. Tina Goudreau) Gap Year, Julianne Caponigro (Dr. Tina Goudreau) Gap Year, Andrew Streit (Dr. Tina Goudreau) PhD Program Yale University, Jacky Lim (Dr. Hans Schmitthenner) PhD Program UConn, Andrew Dicola (Dr. Suzanne O’Handley) MS Program RIT

Front Left: Brooke D’arcy (Dr. Lea Michel) PhD Program Duke University, Ana Cartaya (Dr. Tina Goudreau) PhD Program UNC Chapel Hill, Taylor Wolf (Dr. Scott Williams) PhD Program St. Jude Research Hospital, Melissa Koch (Dr. Scott Williams) PhD Program U. of Rochester, Ashley Murphy-Shaw (Dr. Jeremy Cody) Medical School Campbell University College of Osteopathic Medicine

Not Pictured: Kevin O’Donovan (Dr. Suzanne O’Handley) Research Technologist at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Cassandra Martin (Dr. Suzanne O’Handley) Gap Year

Class of 2016

group shot of students wearing medallions

From left to right back row: Lucinda Dass (Dr. Suzanne O'Handley) Medical Internship in Toledo Spain and Medical School, Xinyun Li (Dr. Alla Bailey & Dr. Gerald Takacs) Returning to China and a potential graduate program, Tyler Hess (Dr. Scott Williams) MS program, Sustainability Systems, RIT, Paul Fanara (Dr. Jeremy Cody) PhD program, Chemistry, University of Buffalo, Ian Bencomo (Dr. Jeremy Cody) PhD program, Organic Chemistry, University of Chicago, Hannah Simpson (Dr. Christina Goudreau Collison) PhD Program, Chemistry, Purdue, Tumi Faniyan (Dr. Christina Goudreau Collison)

From left to right front row: Jasmine Edwards (Dr. Suzanne O’Handley) PhD program, Biomedical Sciences, University of Miami, Amy Huang (Dr. Nathan Eddingsaas) PhD program, Biology, Columbia University, Lauren Heese (Dr. Hans Schmitthenner) PhD program, Biomedical Sciences, Angel Payan (Dr. Lea Michel & Dr. George Thurston) PREP Scholar, University of Pennsylvania, Elizabeth May (Dr. Scott Williams) PhD program, Biological Sciences, Harvard University, and Sarah Kearns (Dr. Moumita Das) PhD program, Chemical Biology, University of Michigan

Not Pictured: Nnamdi Akporji (Dr. Hans Schmitthenner) PhD program, Organic Chemistry, UC Santa Barbara, Joseph Marsico (Dr. Massoud J Miri) Laboratory Technician, Kaylee Matthews (Dr. Lea Michel) PhD program, Molecular, Cell, and Biochemistry, Brown University, and Michael Regan (Dr. Hans Schmitthenner) PhD program, Polymer and Organic Chemistry, Clarkson

Class of 2015

group shot of students holding awards

From Left to Right: (Back row) Brandon Cona (Dr. Chris Collison) MS Program Biological Sciences at Tokyo University; Russell Burkhardt (Dr. Jeremy Cody) PhD program Cornell University; Jordan Armeli (Dr. Suzanne O’Handley) PharmD program at Albany; David Barnard (Dr. Lea Michel) PhD program U. of Rochester; Lauren Switala (Dr. Joe Hornak) MS program Cleveland State; Stephanie Beach (Dr. Hans Schmitthenner), PhD Program Boston University; Emily Newman (Dr. Lea Michel) MD at Cincinnati School of Medicine; Julianna Shaw (Dr. Lea Michel) PhD program Yale University; Taylor Barrett (Dr. Hans Schmitthenner) PhD Program UPenn; Chelsea Weidman (Dr. Hans Schmitthenner) PhD Program Boston College.

Class of 2014

group shot of students wearing medallions

From Left to Right: Laura Parisi (Dr. Matt Miri) PhD program at University at Buffalo, Austin Kelly (Dr. Tina Goudreau) PhD Program UC San Diego, Tessa DiDonato (Dr. Suzanne O'Handley) PhD Program Boston University, John Bettinger (Dr.Lea Michel) PhD program University of Toronto, Kimbria Blake (Dr. Suzanne O'Handley) PhD Program Harvard University, Kyle Oliver (Dr. Jeremy Cody) PhD Program University of Maryland.

Not Pictured: Sofiya Hlynchuk (Dr. Jeremy Cody) PhD program University of Michigan, Katherine Valentine (Dr. Tina Goudreau) PhD Program Virginia Tech.

Class of 2013

group shot of students holding awards

From Left to Right: Tri Nguyen (Dr. Michael Coleman), Carly Augustyn (Dr.Jerry Takacs) Research Assistant iCardiac Technologies, Mike Madaio (Dr. Suzanne O'Handley) Infectious Disease Lab Technician, Joy Snyder (Dr.Lea Michel) PharmD program at SUNY Buffalo, Christian Larrabee (Dr. Jeremy Cody), Anthony Carestia (Dr. Tina Goudreau Collison) Ph.D. Program UNC Chapel Hill, Ken Gerien (Dr. Suzanne O'Handley) PhD Program Ohio State, Rachel Schmidt

Not Pictured: Dr. Lea Vacca Michel / PhD in Physiology at Cornell University 

Class of 2012

group shot of students holding awards

From Left to Right: Bre Kalmeta (Dr. Lea Michel) PhD Program at Duke University, Andrew Pinkham (Dr. Thomas Kim) PhD Program at Ohio State University, Sam Ziebel (Dr. Jeremy Cody) PhD program at SUNY at Buffalo, Lauren Resch (Dr. Jeremy Cody) PhD program at University of Maryland Baltimore County, Jake Tatum (Dr. Jeremy Cody) Applying to Medical Schools

Class of 2011

group shot of students wearing medallions

Back Row From Left to Right: Joel Walker (Dr. Thomas Smith) PhD Program in Chemistry at the University of Vermont, Sebastian Ramirez (Dr. Suzanne O’Handley) PhD Program in Chemical Biology at the Johns Hopkins University

Front Row From Left to Right: Alejandra Rizo-Patron (Dr. Suzzane O´Handley) Montana Ingredients Manufacturer in Peru, Jennifer Milillo (Dr. Lea Michel) Medical School at SUNY Buffalo, Rebecca Smith (Dr. Joseph Hornak) PhD Program in Chemistry at the University of Rochester

Not Pictured: Thomas Spencer Bailey (Dr. Jeremy Cody) PhD Program in Chemistry at the University of Oregon

Class of 2010

group shot of students wearing medallions

Back Row From Left to Right: Jennifer Swartzenberg (Dr. Tina Collison) Masters Program at RIT, D.J.Tusch* (Dr. Jeremy Cody) PhD program at U. of Rochester, Joshua Thomson* (Dr. Suzanne O'Handley) Teach for America.

Front Row From Left to Right: Laura Filkins (Dr. Laura Tubbs) PhD program at Dartmouth, Amber Monfette (Dr. Matt Miri) Research Assistant in Nanopower Research Lab at RIT, Jessica Alexander* (Dr. Chris Collison) PhD program at MIT.

* Designates Distinguished Research Scholar awardee

Class of 2009

group shot of students wearing medallions

From Left to Right: Matthew Fullana (Dr. Matt Miri) PhD program at Case Western University, Lindsay Cade (Dr. Scott WIlliams) Research Lab at Massachusetts General Hospital, Timothy Liwosz* (Dr. Tina Collison) PhD program at University of Buffalo.

* Designates Distinguished Research Scholar awardee

Class of 2008

group shot of students wearing medallions

From Left to Right: Brett Granger* (Dr. Tina Collison) PhD Program, University of Texas, Austin, Jamie Lou Mallonga (Dr. Laura Tubbs) Proteomics Research, Pall Corporation, Long Island, NY, Julian Ramos* (Dr. Suzanne O'Handley) PhD Program, University of Washington, Jessica Smith* (Dr. Tina Collison) PhD Program, University of Rochester, Marc O'Donnell* (Dr. Chris Collison) MD Program, NYU

* Designates Distinguished Research Scholar awardee

Class of 2007

group shot of students holding awards

From Left to Right: Steven Pellizzeri* (Dr. Chris Collison) Ph.D. program, North Carolina State, Julia Kohn (Dr. Laura Tubbs) University of Rochester Teaching Certification, Sarah Denial* (Dr. Suzanne O'Handley) Ph.D. program, Cornell University, Brad Loesch (Dr. Marvin Illingsworth) Robert Pasquarelli* (Dr. Marvin Illingsworth) NREL, Greg Horracks (Dr. Marvin Illingsworth) Rachel Pleuthner (Dr. Paul Craig) Marie Krysak* (Dr. Jerry Takacs) Ph.D. program, Cornell University, Ryan Walvoord* (Dr. Tina Collison) Ph.D. program, University of Pennsylvania

* Designates Distinguished Research Scholar awardee

Class of 2006

group sot of students wearing medallions

Back Left: Mark Zimmerman (Dr. Paul Craig) MBA program, RIT, Joseph Peterson (Dr. Marvin Illingsworth) Polymer Ph.D. program, UMass Amherst, April Colleton (Dr. Chris Collison) Ph.D. program, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill

Front Left: Nakesha Smith (Dr. Laura Tubbs) Ph.D. program, SUNY Albany, Olukorede Agusto (Dr. Tina Collison) Ph.D. program, University of Pittsburgh