WOOSTER, Ohio – Rachel Molé, who graduated magna cum laude from The College of Wooster on Monday, won the 2017 Ernest B. Yeager Award, an annual honor given to one undergraduate in the northeast Ohio and northwestern Pennsylvania region by the Cleveland section of the American Chemical Society (ACS), it was recently announced.
Molé, a chemistry major from Jamestown, N.Y., was rewarded principally for her senior Independent Study (I.S.), titled “Investigation of Antidepressant Load Reduction Following Tertiary Wastewater Disinfection Treatment.” With funding from the National Science Foundation, she was part of a team that researched the effects of newly installed disinfection systems in wastewater treatment at a pair of water reclamation plants in Chicago, hoping to ultimately reduce pharmaceuticals from reaching the environment. Molé helped demonstrate that “UV photochemistry and chlorination has shown to be able to transform estrogenic and neuro-endocrine disrupting compounds and may be a side-benefit to disinfection.”
Molé will present the work at the annual Conference on Spectroscopy and Analytical Chemistry, hosted by John Carroll University, on May 24. Additionally, she receives $400 and a one-year membership to the Society for Applied Spectroscopy for her efforts.
This caps a series of presentations Molé has made. At Wooster’s own I.S. Symposium, she gained first prize for the Melissa Schultz I.S. Research Prize in Sustainability and the Environment, and she also presented it at the ACS National Meeting & Exposition in San Francisco during April and at the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry’s World Congress in Orlando during November.
“Receiving the Yeager Award is an impressive achievement since the pool of applicants is drawn from so many other colleges and universities across the region,” said Paul Edmiston, professor of chemistry and Molé’s I.S. advisor. “Rachel is highly deserving of the award. She is a talented young scientist and terrific leader.”
Outside of academics, Molé excelled on the tennis courts, earning five all-North Coast Athletic Conference honors (three in singles, two in doubles). In fact, she set a school record for career doubles wins at the No. 1 position with 37.
Molé will continue her studies this fall at Baylor University in pursuit of a Ph.D. in environmental science.
In 1962, the Yeager Award was established for the purpose of encouraging interest at the undergraduate level in spectroscopy and analytical chemistry. It is presented annually to an outstanding student attending a college or university in northern Ohio or northwestern Pennsylvania who has demonstrated an interest in some aspect of spectroscopy.