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goldwater scholarship to chemistry major
April 7, 2021

Goldwater Scholarship Goes to Chemistry Major Focused on Drug Discovery Career

Chemistry major Seth Jolly ’22 recently received the Goldwater Scholarship, the most prestigious undergraduate award for students in science, mathematics and engineering. He says close mentoring in the research lab of Associate Professor of Chemistry & Biochemistry Mark Turlington, Ph.D. positioned him for the honor.

“When I came to Berry the spring of my senior year in high school, I met many of the Berry chemistry and biology faculty, one of them being Dr. Mark Turlington,” Seth recalls. “He mentioned a program called the Science Scholars, which is designed to funnel research-minded students directly to undergraduate research with Berry faculty … At our first official meeting after being paired, Dr. Turlington told me that he saw Goldwater potential in me and that he would give me an opportunity to be competitive for the scholarship.”

Seth notes that chemistry coursework gave him the background concept to conduct responsible research and that hands-on collaboration with Turlington reinforced practical knowledge of common organic lab procedures and built experience in writing formal papers: “All this knowledge culminated in my Goldwater application as I could convey why we took certain steps in our research and the chemical concepts that validate our claims.”

Turlington commends Seth’s talents in the lab, particularly a research project that led to his first peer-reviewed article. “Seth carried the project from start to finish all the way to its publication in the Journal of Organic Chemistry — one of the top organic chemistry research journals,” he says. “Seth plans to attend graduate school and then work in the pharmaceutical industry, and I am confident he will be an exceptional drug discovery scientist.”

“The purpose of this paper was to develop an effective reaction method to synthesize bromo-substituted propargylamines,” Seth explains. “Bromo-substituted propargylamines can be used as building blocks in potential drug molecules due to having many reactive groups in close proximity. Through our research, we have synthesized these compounds (with varying structures) and high yield in one synthetic step (previous syntheses used four steps with a low overall yield to produce these types of compounds).”

Each Goldwater Scholar annually receives an amount equal to the cost of tuition, mandatory fees, books, and room and board minus the amount of support provided for by other sources, up to a maximum of $7,500. Seth says he will apply the scholarship toward tuition and further research in Turlington’s lab, where he will complete his honors thesis project (synthesis of ruthenium-containing TMC monomers) during his senior year.

He adds that he is grateful for the role his mentor has played in his development: “Dr. Turlington has shown me, by example, how much dedication it takes to properly conduct science and how to effectively operate in a shared workspace. He has offered me every opportunity to succeed and personally seen to it that I am well-equipped for the next stage of my academic and professional career.”

As a scholar-athlete — including two years as the captain of Berry’s golf team — Seth is a pro at work/life balance. “I am very passionate about school and golf,” he says. “The biggest discipline I had to learn to achieve success in both of these areas is time management … I have learned that rest is essential!”

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