SCI Scholar, Anna Zhenova, presents her end of year report

11 September 2018

For over thirty years, SCI has supported and recognised the excellence of early career people, by aiding their studies in the form of an SCI Scholarship.

Since 1985 over 70 scholarships have been awarded which have not only given the recipients financial assistance, but have enabled them to broaden their network, and strengthen their skills and knowledge. SCI Scholars receive access to publishing and mentoring opportunities and are given a platform to present their work amongst esteemed scientists and industrialists, thus raising their profile within the scientific community. In the past nine years alone, SCI has generously bequeathed over £115,000 of its charitable funds to SCI Scholars and the scientists of the future.

Anna Zhenova was awarded an SCI Scholarship in 2017. At the end of their first year, SCI Scholars present an end of year report to SCI. Read on to find out more about what Anna has done in her first year as an SCI Scholar.

‘My first year as an SCI scholar (the second year of my Ph.D.) was very eventful. My research has come into full swing, with multiple ongoing projects revolving around the theme of sustainable solvents for polymer applications. I am developing new applications of a non-toxic, bio-derived, biodegradable solvent called Cyrene, as well as looking at other solvents with good safety profiles. In particular, I’m investigating polymers that are tough to dissolve with traditional solvents and finding ways in which the unique properties of novel green solvents can add value and improve functionality. I currently have two publications in the works, and hopefully more will be in the pipeline this coming year. I was very pleased to be awarded the Kathleen Mary Stott Prize from York’s chemistry department for meritorious research performance and will be presenting my research to the entire department in October in the prize seminar.

‘The SCI scholarship has helped me focus on my research and career-related volunteer activities, as I don’t need to supplement my income with a part-time job. Because of this, I was able to also co-chair GreenSTEMS, the University of York’s network for sustainability researchers. We held two symposia, one on precision agriculture and the other on novel approaches to waste reduction, which engaged students, staff, and the York community around how sustainable research can impact their daily lives.

‘I also worked together with a fellow Ph.D. student to make a video about York’s Green Chemistry Centre, for which we won an award from UNIDO and Yale University. Finally, I was invited to present my research at the American Chemical Society’s annual green chemistry conference, which was very exciting. The conference was in Portland, Oregon, and I met some enthusiastic green chemists, learned about the latest green chemistry research, and traveled around Oregon’s beautiful forest and desert landscapes.

‘I am very much looking forward to the final year of my Ph.D. research, in which I will be wrapping up all of my projects and drawing final conclusions from the research. The SCI Scholarship will continue to be a valuable aid to my research and career, and I hope to work closely with the SCI as I launch my professional career in the chemical industry.’

Anna Zhenova
PhD student
University of York

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