UVa Chemistry Holds Retreat Featuring Keynote by Cassandra Fraser

The UVa Chemistry Department resumed its annual Departmental Retreat on October 12, 2021, after a one-year hiatus due to the COVID pandemic.2021 Chemistry Retreat

2021 Chemistry Retreat at King Family Vineyard

Like the 2019 version, the event was held at the picturesque King Family Vineyard in western Albemarle County, a roughly 30-minute drive from Charlottesville, VA.  The event is designed to encourage team building and expand the interactions of the faculty, graduate students, and research personnel beyond their normal everyday activities. In addition to the research talks by graduate students, outdoor games are brought which entices attendees to interact with individuals outside of their research group and specialties.

The keynote speaker is a current faculty member chosen by graduate student voting and typically gives a talk about their career and life. The 2021 Keynote Speaker was Cassandra Fraser, not only a chemistry innovator and pioneer but an influencer for equality and diversity in STEM.


Professor Cassandra Fraser

To gain exposure to the many different research projects, graduate students gave nine oral presentations and 16 poster presentations.

2021 Retreat Speakers and Presenters with Department Chair Jill Venton and Faculty Host Ken Hsu

In the afternoon retreat attendees participated in voting to select their favorite oral and poster presentation with awards being handed out for 1st, 2nd and 3rd places for each category. In the oral presentation category, first place was awarded to Amelia Reid of the Machan Group for her talk titled “Developing Enhanced Co-Electrocatalytic Systems for CO2 Reduction.”

Amelia Reid 1st Place Oral Presenter with Department Chair Jill Venton and Faculty Host Ken Hsu

Second place was awarded to Kim Hollister of the Gilliard Group and the third-place selection was Fanji Kong of the Gunnoe Group.

In the poster presentation category, the first-place vote getter was Emma Cook of the Machan Group followed by a tie for second place between AC Obi of the Gilliard Group and Kamil Stelmach of the Garrod Group.

Emma Cook 1st Place Poster Presenter with Department Chair Jill Venton and Faculty Host Ken Hsu