John Andjaba C’16 has earned a rare honor for an undergraduate – his research paper is going to appear in a premier chemistry journal, Chemical Communications. John, a senior Chemistry major, has been working on his research project since his freshman year under the mentorship of Dr. Christopher Bradley, Assistant Professor of Chemistry. Dr. Bradley is one of the co-authors of the paper entitled, “Cp*Co(IPr): synthesis and reactivity of an unsaturated Co(I) complex” along with Jesse W. Tye (Ball State University), Pony Yu (Princeton University), and Iraklis Pappas (Princeton University) . The Chemical Communications Journal is in the top 10-15% of chemistry journals worldwide in impact factor and in the past year has published research from top schools such as Harvard, Stanford, Princeton, and Oxford. Dr. Bradley explains, “Undergraduates rarely end up publishing articles in such journals as the first (primary) author. This particular journal probably has 1-2 articles a year with undergraduates as the primary author.” This publication sets John apart from other chemistry undergraduates and will open up doors in his future.
John’s research, funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation obtained by Dr. Bradley, is aimed at finding better catalysts for industrial chemical processes. Converting petroleum by-products to useful end products requires a chemical catalyst. One of the most effective catalysts, iridium, is also one of the most rare and expensive metals. John has been attempting to design and create a new catalyst using cobalt, a much more common and less expensive metal, in place of iridium. Not only did John successfully synthesize the molecule, he also was able to identify and describe a never-before-seen molecule, which was the focus of his publication.
Although John experienced many peaks and valleys during his research he explains, “The most exciting part of my research was watching Dr. Bradley’s reactions of joy when we got the final product.” Dr. Bradley and John having been working together for four years, Dr. Bradely explains "working with student’s like John on original research projects reinforces why I chose to work at an undergraduate institution. The ability to mentor someone with the drive and interest in science that John possesses makes it exciting to come to work each day." This publication could not have occurred at a better time as John prepares his applications for graduate school. In fact, a professor from Texas A&M, that watched him present his research at a conference in New York, reached out to John to invite him to apply to his lab. John plans to go into the Organic Chemistry field and is hoping to get accepted into a Ph.D. program. It’s safe to say that his publication will help give him the edge over other applicants for whatever path he chooses after the Mount.