Carolyn Gunthardt, a doctoral student in the Department of Chemistry at Texas A&M University, has been selected as a 2020 Phil Gramm Doctoral Fellowship Award recipient, announced last week by Dr. Karen L. Butler-Purry, associate provost for graduate and professional studies.
Gunthardt is one of seven Texas A&M doctoral students honored this year with the prestigious award, established in 2006 with the support of Phil Gramm, the former United States Senator from Texas who served as a professor of economics at Texas A&M for 12 years before being elected to Congress. The Gramm Fellowship Program seeks to promote, encourage and reward outstanding teaching and research by doctoral students whose command of their respective disciplines exemplifies the meaning of scholarship and mentorship in the highest sense.
Gunthardt and her fellow 2020 recipients will be honored in a Wednesday, Oct. 21 virtual ceremony set for 11 a.m. via YouTube Premiere as part of a weeklong Salute to Graduate & Professional Education Week sponsored by the Texas A&M Office of Graduate and Professional Studies. Each will receive a personalized award certificate and a fellowship in the amount of $5,000. In addition, all seven students henceforth will be recognized as Senator Phil Gramm Doctoral Fellows for general scholarship excellence and contributions to their disciplines.
“Dr. Gramm appreciated the roles of graduate students at a public university, from teaching undergraduates in introductory courses, to conducting vital research, to volunteering in the community,” said Dr. Mark J. Zoran, executive associate dean in the Texas A&M College of Science as well as longtime associate dean for graduate studies. “Ms. Gunthardt’s efforts in the Department of Chemistry and at Texas A&M University exemplify Senator Gramm’s vision for graduate students and their importance to our broad Aggie missions.”
Gunthardt earned her bachelor’s of science degree in chemistry from the University of Washington in December 2012 prior to coming to Texas A&M in fall 2015 to pursue her doctoral studies. Initially a member of Texas A&M chemist Dr. Kim R. Dunbar’s laboratory, she has spent the past three years in Texas A&M chemist Dr. Simon W. North’s research group, where her research focuses on the photodissociation dynamics of small molecules, including ozone. Gunthardt’s work has resulted in multiple high-profile publications, most notably an article published this summer in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences detailing a significant breakthrough in developing an understanding of the anomalous behavior in oxygen rotational distributions arising from the photolysis of ozone. She has mentored five undergraduate students within the North Lab and also received numerous awards for her research, including the JEMS Scholarship for Collaborative Research, the Thomas Hairston Memorial Graduate Scholarship and the Dow Chemical Graduate Scholarship.
In addition to research, Gunthardt has served as a teaching assistant for general and physical chemistry laboratories, from kinetics to thermodynamics. Her passion for teaching was recognized with a 2016 Chemistry First Year Program Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award. Equally dedicated to science and community outreach, she also volunteers with the annual Texas A&M Chemistry Open House, the annual Expanding Your Horizons daylong conference for 6th grade girls, and STEM nights at area elementary schools.
After completing her Texas A&M Ph.D. in chemistry in December, Gunthardt will head to Ann Arbor, Michigan, where she will study spectroscopy with entangled photons as an Intelligence Community Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Michigan.
Gramm spent two decades serving in the U.S. Congress and Senate, using his economic and financial expertise to create important laws and policies, and to provide advice to legislators and the White House. He authored numerous articles and books while at Texas A&M, ranging from monetary theory to mineral extraction economics. Currently, Gramm is senior adviser to U.S. Policy Metrics, an economic and public policy research firm in Washington, D.C. He is married to Wendy Lee Gramm, a former member of The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents and former chairman of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission under Presidents Reagan and Bush. They have two sons, Marshall, Texas A&M Class of 2000, and Jeff.
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