Commencement

2021 Laughlin Award for Distinguished Professional Achievement

Dr. Mark Ellison, Professor of Chemistry
 

Citation

Announced by last year’s recipient, Dr. Jennifer Fleeger

I’m so pleased to announce that this year’s winner of the Laughlin Award for Distinguished Professional Achievement is Dr. Mark Ellison, Professor of Chemistry.

With a Ph.D. from Stanford and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Pittsburgh, Dr. Ellison joined Ursinus College in 2005 after a postdoc at the University of Wisconsin, Madison and serving on the faculty for six years (and earning tenure) at Wittenburg University. Since that time, he has published many peer-reviewed research articles in leading chemistry journals as well as peer-reviewed publications about chemical education. Importantly, almost all of Dr. Ellison’s publications include undergraduate co-authors, which exemplifies the Ursinus value of including students in faculty research and demonstrates a strong commitment to mentorship.

Dr. Ellison mentors approximately 10-20 students each year on independent projects, most of whom go on to excel in graduate school or gain positions in industry. Dr. Ellison’s colleagues describe him as imaginative, thoughtful, talented, and an extraordinary scientist. For example, Dr. Anthony Lobo, with whom he has worked closely for ten years on a project dealing with the threat of antibiotic resistance, had this to say about his mentorship, “This talent of his creates the perfect influence on students who want to do (not just study) science…a great example of this is a manuscript describing our work thus far…that includes 34 student co-authors, all of whom contributed to the lab work.”

Indeed, Mark’s students always have wonderful things to say about him. Whenever I get someone from his lab in one of my classes I know I can expect a professional attitude and creative thinking, and I’m never disappointed.

For his work on ion motion through carbon nanotubes, on which he collaborates with Prof. Michael Strano at MIT, Dr. Ellison has received about $400,000 in two grants from the National Science Foundation. Dr. Ellison continues to present his work at professional conferences, particularly at the annual National Meeting of the American Chemical Society. He also engages in invited talks…I was struck by one he gave some years ago called “Kitchen Chemistry” to the residents of an assisted living facility, a valuable group of people often ignored by academics. His PSA using liquid nitrogen to show the effectiveness of masking to stop the spread of the coronavirus was a great visual demonstration for our students that I happened to see flying about the internet and shows Dr. Ellison’s interest in both making chemistry accessible and keeping our community safe.

I am honored to be able to tell him that he has received this award today, and I hope you’ll join me in congratulating Dr. Mark Ellison.