CAS News

Michael Mormino

Chemistry holds annual awards banquet

TAMPA, Fla. -- Some say they’re nerds; some say they’re quirky. Nevertheless, they are often admired for their above average GPAs. But according to Michael Mormino, a senior at the University of South Florida majoring in chemistry, they’re just cool.

“We are nerds,” Mormino said. “But now, nerds are quite cool.”

Mormino is one of several USF students who received an unexpected award at the Department of Chemistry’s 25th Annual Celebration, held Feb. 21, 2012, at the USF Alumni Center. The event honors outstanding students with awards and scholarships that are donated by alumni and friends of USF.

Like many of the students who received an award, a scholarship or both, Mormino didn’t expect to win anything. As it turned out, he won three of those!

“It just proves anything that’s difficult becomes worth it if you put your mind and your time into it,” Mormino said. “It’s cool because the people around you are very like-minded, and you’re working on something that will impact humanity in a more positive way.”

Sometimes those like-minded people take a different route but still end up in the winner’s circle. They start out seeking a different degree, but the effects of studying chemistry overtake their original ambitions. That’s what happened to Jennifer Wedebrock, a senior at USF now majoring in chemistry.

“I started out in chemical engineering, but then I realized I liked the chemistry classes much better, so I decided to switch majors,” Wedebrock said. Her switch paid off; as result of her efforts, she won two awards that night.

An event such as this doesn’t just happen; it requires a great deal of planning. And according to Kimberly Read, the manager of fiscal and business planning for the Department of Chemistry, this year’s event required extra attention.

“The minute one event ends, we start planning the next one,” Read said.

According to Read, it was a tremendous success in part because of help the chemistry department received from the USF Alumni Association in getting the word out about the event. Read also said the entire staff pitched in to make the even a huge success.

The Department of Chemistry would like to thank each contributor who helped make this scholarship program possible through their generous gifts throughout the year. They would also like to thank the following for sponsoring specific awards:

American Chemical Society
American Institute of Chemists
Clear Springs Land
CRC Press
Barbara Martin
Dean Martin, Professor Emeritus
George Wenzinger Memorial Scholarship Fund
Hypercube, Inc.
Jay Worrell Memorial Scholarship Fund
John Wiley & Sons
Joseph Stanko
Merck & Company
Phi Lambda Upsilon
Sally Everett Memorial Scholarship Fund


Sally Everett Memorial Scholarship: Petoria Gayle, Leann Horne, Dennis Moreno, Angelica Troncoso, Laura Van Slykem, Maria Walton

Jesse S. Binford General Chemistry Award: Jessica Perry

Joseph Stanko Inorganic chemistry Award: Jacqueline Romero

Jack E. Fernandez Organic Chemistry Award: Samuel Jalali

Jeff C. Davis Physical Chemistry Award: Michael Mormino

T.C. Owen Biochemistry Award: Violeta Trenkova

Robert S. Braman Analytical Chemistry Award: Violeta Trenkova

ACS Analytical Chemistry Award: Jennifer Wedebrock

Hypercube Scholar Award: Michael Mormino

Phi Lambda Upsilon Award: Lea Shen

American Institute of Chemists Award: James Cleek, Michael Mormino

Dean Martin Outstanding B.A. Chemistry Major Award: Jacqueline Romero

Dean Martin Outstanding B.S. Chemistry Major Award: Brant Tudor

Outstanding Biomedical Science Award: Michael Massengil

Calvin Maybury Department Scholarship, B.S.: Shelby Register

Michael Zaworotko Department Scholarship, B.A.: Roy Elias

George Wenzinger Memorial Scholarship: Marcus Farmer

Jay Worrell Memorial Scholarship: Matthew Chrzanowski

Clear Springs Land Research Award: Sirisha Thambuluru

T.C. Owen Undergraduate Research Award: Jennifer Wedebrock

Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award: Michael Mormino, Jacqueline Romero


Filed under:Arts and Sciences Chemistry Student Success   
Author: Ron Algood