Hamline News

Research Opportunity and Preparation Led to Award for Chemistry Major Lue Her ‘22

Portrait of Lue Her next to lab machine

Hamline University chemistry major Lue Her ‘22 won a student presenter award at the American Chemistry Society (ACS) 2021 Great Lakes and Central Regional combined meeting (GRLM 2021).

“It [the award] is prestigious for us,” said Hamline University visiting faculty member Urvashi Gangal, PhD.

Her gave the award-winning 15-minute oral research presentation about a plasma chemistry water purification technique during the green chemistry session of the meeting. Plasma chemistry is multidisciplinary research that falls under green chemistry, which encompasses the development of chemical processes and products that avoid the creation of toxics and waste.

The abstract from Her, Gangal and their Hamline collaborators, Tristan Contreras ‘20, Edgar Lopez ‘20, Alfonso Gonzalez ‘20, Patrick Kelly ‘22, Thomas Razidlo ‘22 and Robert Rossi, and their University of Minnesota collaborator Peter Bruggeman was titled "Water Treatment by a DC Pin to Water Discharge Plasma."

Her was one of 350 people to present an abstract and among the 47 to receive an award at the conference.

“The ACS GRLM serves as the regional technical research and networking conference plus job fair for chemists and most of the speakers in the 15-minute oral talks were grad students and postdocs,” said Gangal. “Besides, getting an award in the green chemistry session is very encouraging.”

The abstract emerged from a collaborative research project that started in the summer of 2019 and continued during the COVID-19 pandemic as a collaborative research project in the summer of 2020. The project remains active this summer as well.

According to Her, his relationship with mentor Gangal, plus opportunities for research collaboration, practice and academic preparation from the chemistry department made winning the presentation award possible.

Support was key to success

“I was lucky to be chosen for this talk among other students working with Dr. Gangal and I knew I had to give my best to it,” said Her. “After detailed discussions, help, and advice from Dr. Gangal, it took me at least a week or two to make the perfect presentation. After that, I spent hours reading my scripts, timing, and practicing.”

As a final preparatory step, Her practiced his presentation in front of all the professors and his peers doing summer research on campus at Hamline.

A strong department and caring faculty inspired Her

The lectures, labs and research opportunities, plus one-on-one interactions with professors in the Hamline University chemistry department set Her up for success.

“The professors invest a lot of time and energy in their students,” said Her. “If you are determined to find a career in chemistry or anything related, the chemistry department at Hamline will definitely get you ready and prepare you for what post-graduation, grad school, and the industry has to offer.”

Her met Gangal when she taught his introductory chemistry classes.

“I felt she (Gangal) would be a great mentor,” said Her. “She was starting her own plasma research lab at Hamline and after getting a quick introduction to plasma chemistry, I knew that this would be a game changer in my future career. I then quickly joined Dr. Gangal for research and haven’t looked back since.”

For the last two years Her has been conducting plasma chemistry research with a team led by Gangal, who established the Hamline Plasma Lab, one of the few plasma labs available to undergraduate chemistry students.

Her believes that his Hamline research experience will benefit him as he moves forward with his career.

“Plasma chemistry is an emerging field of study as scientists from all over the world work on applying it to many applications,” said Her. “One of the applications is plasma medicine which really aligned with my goal to attend medical school in the near future.”'



Written by staff.