Mindy Levine, assistant professor of chemistry at URI, wins national Rising Star Award

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KINGSTON, R.I. – Oct. 21, 2015 – Mindy Levine, an assistant professor of chemistry at the University of Rhode Island, has won a Rising Star Award from the American Chemical Society.

Levine is among 10 women throughout the country recognized by the nonprofit’s Women’s Chemists Committee for contributions to the field of chemistry.

The Sharon, Mass., resident is an expert on synthetic organic chemistry, with a focus on how molecules communicate with each other when they are not attached. Her research can be used to develop tools for medical diagnostics and sensors for detecting toxicants in the environment.

The recipient of a $650,000 research grant from the National Science Foundation, as well as grants from the National Cancer Institute and the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative, Levine also supports outreach activities to educate high school girls about chemistry and careers in science.

Her annual chemistry camp, held during April vacation week for middle school girls, is a huge success, with sessions on the chemistry of bubbles, lipstick chromatography and cornstarch relays. She also welcomes high school girls to the URI campus to conduct hands-on chemistry experiments, and conducts outreach at Kingston-area high schools as well as elementary schools in her hometown.

Levine received her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Columbia University and postdoctoral training at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The Rising Star Award was established in 2011 to help promote the retention of women in science. Winners are in the early stages of their careers in academia or industry.

“I am deeply honored to receive this award and am thankful to the chemistry department at URI for providing an excellent environment and the resources for success,” says Levine. “Unfortunately, women in STEM disciplines still face a variety of biases throughout their careers, which makes the work done by the Women’s Chemists Committee all the more important and significant. As a woman and chemist and the mother of a young daughter, I look forward to continuing to work with the Women’s Chemists Committee to encourage future generations of female scientists, and to continuing my important chemistry research at URI.”

Levine will receive her award in March at a meeting of the American Chemical Society in San Diego, Calif.

“The Rising Star Award is a tribute to both Mindy’s talent and hard work,” says Bill Euler, chair of the URI chemistry department. “She has an outstanding publication record, has been successful in obtaining grant funds, is a respected classroom teacher and is a role model for all young women who wish to pursue a career in a STEM field.”

The other 2016 winners are: Karelle Aiken of Georgia Southern University; Anastassia N. Alexandrova of the University of California, Los Angeles; Rongjuan Cong of The Dow Chemical Co.; Elise B. Fox of the Savannah River National Laboratory; Susan Halpern Chirch of L’Oreal USA; Amanda B. Hummon of the University of Notre Dame; Jin K. Montclare of the Polytechnic School of Engineering at ?New York University; Jennifer A. Prescher of the University of California, Irvine; and Rebecca T. Ruck of Merck Research Laboratories.

Pictured above: Mindy Levine, assistant professor of chemistry at the University of Rhode Island, and her daughter, Dahlia Levine Hilewitz. Photo by Mindy Levine.