FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
University assistant professor
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Dr. Laura R. McCunn, an assistant professor in Marshall University’s Department of Chemistry, has been named one of eight recipients of a Camille and Henry Dreyfus Faculty Start-up Award. The unrestricted five-year grant provides $30,000 to begin her research program.
McCunn, a native of northeast Ohio, was hired at Marshall last spring and will begin teaching at MU this fall. She is one of only five faculty from a public institution in the past five years to receive the start-up award, according to Dr. Michael Castellani, professor and chair of Marshall’s Department of Chemistry.
“It’s really a great thing to help get her started,” Castellani said.
McCunn, a physical chemist, received her B.S. degree in biochemistry from Ohio Wesleyan University and her Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the University of Chicago. She also received a postdoctoral fellowship at Yale University.
Her research interests include the structure, stability and other properties of radicals, which are reactive chemical species created during combustion. McCunn is building a matrix-isolation instrument to measure the vibrational spectra of the radicals. The apparatus will also be used to learn about the photochemistry of halogenated hydrocarbons, such as CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons).
“We’re extremely pleased that Laura received this award,” Castellani said. “The money will allow her to hire undergraduate students to study in her research lab and so increase the educational opportunities for our students. This program is very competitive and the award also raises the stature of both our department and the College of Science nationally.”
Dr. Wayne Elmore, interim dean of Marshall’s College of Science, said he is “very pleased” that McCunn has been awarded this prestigious award.
“Her addition to the Chemistry Department improves an already excellent academic and research intensive program,” Elmore said. “I am sure she will have a long and productive career at Marshall University.”
McCunn said she is “thrilled” to receive the award.
“It is great for my research program and the department, and especially the students who will be able to work with me,” she said. “I knew my application would be competitive, but it is a very difficult award to get.”
The Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation supports the scholarly activity of new faculty in chemistry at primarily undergraduate institutions with the award to help initiate their independent research programs.
The Faculty Start-up Awards Program is open to academic institutions in the states, districts and territories of the United States that grant a bachelor’s or master’s degree, but not a doctoral degree, in the chemical sciences, including biochemistry, materials chemistry and chemical engineering.