Karukstis Named ACS Fellow

Kerry Karukstis, the Ray and Mary Ingwersen Professor of Chemistry at Harvey Mudd College, has been named to the 2018 class of American Chemical Society (ACS) Fellows for outstanding achievements in, and contributions to, the science profession and service to the Society. She is the first Harvey Mudd College chemistry faculty member to be selected for this honor.

The selection of ACS Fellows is based on contributions to the science profession and contributions to the ACS community. ACS recognized Karukstis’s leadership in collaborative research with undergraduates, in externally funded initiatives promoting undergraduate research at the national level and in strategies advancing women STEM faculty at liberal arts institutions. Karukstis has contributed to the ACS community through her roles as vice chair and member of the Committee on Professional Training, as feature editor of the Journal of Chemical Education and as contributor to symposia mentoring younger chemists and women STEM faculty.

One of Karukstis’s nominators commented, “Professor Karukstis has played a transformative role in institutionalizing undergraduate research in the nation.”

Another noted, “Professor Karukstis has added the scholarship of chemical education pedagogy, expanding undergraduate research opportunities and mentorship of female chemists to her repertoire. … She has become a national leader in these endeavors.”

The ACS citation reads:

“Contribution to the science/profession: Recognized for her leadership in collaborative research with undergraduates, in externally funded initiatives promoting undergraduate research at the national level, and in strategies advancing women STEM faculty at liberal arts institutions.

Contribution to the ACS community: Recognized for service as Vice Chair and member of the Committee on Professional Training; Journal of Chemical Education feature editor; contributor to symposia mentoring younger chemists and women STEM faculty.”

Next month, Karukstis will attend a ceremony honoring her and the other 2018 fellows, one of whom is Dan Savin ’95, associate professor of chemistry at the University of Florida and a former research student in Karukstis’s lab.

Karukstis joined the faculty at Harvey Mudd College in 1984. Her research interests focus on using spectroscopic and light scattering techniques to characterize the structure and physical properties of surfactant aggregates and macromolecular host-guest systems. She has conducted externally-funded research in collaboration with more than 100 undergraduates at Harvey Mudd, and publishes with undergraduate co-authors who regularly present their research results at national meetings of the American Chemical Society.

Professor Karukstis has co-authored more than 100 publications in scientific journals and two books: Lasers in Chemistry and Chemistry Connections: The Chemistry of Everyday Phenomena. She is co-editor of four volumes on issues related to undergraduate research and the advancement of women faculty. Karukstis has served the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) in many capacities, including as a councilor for the Chemistry Division since 1993, as president in 2007-08, and as co-principal investigator on three National Science Foundation awards focused on institutionalizing undergraduate research. Among her many honors, she received the 2003 Henry T. Mudd Prize for outstanding service to Harvey Mudd College, the CUR Volunteer of the Year Award in 2004 and 2010, and the 2012 CUR Fellows Award.

The official list of 2018 ACS Fellows appears in the July 16 issue of Chemical & Engineering News.