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Chemistry student joins national advisory board

A student from the University of North Georgia has been selected for a national role that will include shaping the programs offered to students attending American Chemical Society (ACS) conferences.

Zach Husk, a senior majoring in chemistry at UNG, was recently selected as one of only two student liaisons in the nation to the Society Committee on Education's (SOCED) 2013-14 Undergraduate Programs Advisory Board. Husk will assist the board in fulfilling its mission to provide undergraduate students with a meaningful program during national ACS meetings and will attend the first SOCED meeting this month.

"Zach's appointment is a reflection of the commitment both the University of North Georgia and the ACS have to undergraduates' involvement in their own education," said Dr. Tim Howell, acting head of UNG's Department of Chemistry. "His appointment and his work leading up to it demonstrate UNG's values of integrity, respect and service. Undergraduate research at UNG gives students an opportunity to develop analytical, experimental and communication skills, which will be highly prized in Zach's role as liaison."

Husk and his fellow liaison will support the board by suggesting programming for ACS meetings, preparing reports on their activity in each national meeting, identifying and organizing student volunteers, gathering student feedback and creating reports, introducing student-hosted workshops, assisting with planning for the undergraduate social, introducing the eminent scientist lecturer at the conference, and writing articles for "inChemistry" magazine or the Reactions Blog. Husk said the role will greatly enhance his leadership management and organization skills.

"Zach is a very capable and motivated student with an exceptional academic record as a chemistry major," said Dr. Holly Carpenter Desai, UNG assistant professor of chemistry, who has worked with Husk on multiple undergraduate research projects. "He is one of the top students in our department, and he has demonstrated success in the classroom, laboratory and undergraduate research lab that complement his superior academic achievements."

Husk spent 10 weeks this summer working with Dr. Kimryn Rathmell of the University of North Carolina (UNC) in research on clear-cell Renal Cell Carcinoma. Husk was selected as part of UNC's Summer Undergraduate Research Experience program. Husk worked in her research lab and clinic, where he also shadowed several surgeons during tumor extraction operations. In November 2012, Husk began working at a drug toxicology lab with Aeon Clinical Laboratories.

"After I graduate from UNG, I plan on studying organic synthesis with a medicinal chemistry focus so I can one day go into drug development and design," Husk said. "I am very interested in oncology, so any research dealing with the synthesis of drugs that target cancer would be my ideal career."

Husk is interested in pursuing graduate degrees at several schools, such as California Institute of Technology and Emory University.

"The opportunity that Zach has before him will continue to pay dividends for him in the future as he will be making valuable professional contacts and perhaps gather ideas for future pursuits," Howell said. "As he demonstrates his integrity and willingness to lead and serve this experience will only open more doors for him in the future."

The student liaisons are also working on a system that will allow local ACS chapters, such as the Northeast Georgia Section of ACS, to broadcast their content to student chapters, such as UNG's Society of Chemistry Students.

"We want to streamline communications between local and student chapters," Husk said. "There traditionally hasn't been much interaction between local and student chapters, so we want to develop a live stream system that will allow the local chapters to stream their meetings and other events to student chapters."

Contact:

Michael Marshall
Communications Specialist
Michael.Marshall@ung.edu
706-867-3579

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