Amanda David, a doctoral student in the Department of Chemistry at Texas A&M University, has been selected as a 2015 Phil Gramm Doctoral Fellowship Award recipient, announced Dr. Karen L. Butler-Purry, associate provost for graduate and professional studies.

David is one of six Texas A&M doctoral students honored this year with the prestigious award, established in 2006 with the support of Phil Gramm, the former United States Senator from Texas who served as a professor of economics at Texas A&M before being elected to Congress. She will be presented with a $5,000 cash award and a framed certificate later this week at an awards ceremony set for Thursday (Apr. 9) from 3:30 to 5 p.m. at the Memorial Student Center Stark Galleries and directly preceding the 2015 Community of Scholars Dinner and Dialogue. All six students henceforth will be recognized as Senator Phil Gramm Doctoral Fellows for general scholarship excellence and contributions to their disciplines.

A native of Puerto Rico, David is pursuing a doctoral degree in inorganic chemistry as a member of Distinguished Professor of Chemistry Dr. Kim R. Dunbar's research group, which focuses on synthetic and structural inorganic chemistry with specific emphasis on the use of coordination chemistry to establish structure/bonding/reactivity relationships in molecular materials and metal-based drugs.

David's Ph.D. research involves metals in medicine, particularly dirhodium-based anticancer agents, and the synthesis of inorganic compounds with anticancer properties. Her work is key to a new area of photodynamic therapy being pioneered by the Dunbar group known as photochemotherapy. She also has served as both a research and teaching assistant in the Department of Chemistry since fall 2009.

"Amanda is passionate and hard working -- a true Aggie who exhibits extraordinary motivation, team spirit and willingness to help others," Dunbar said. "She is a stellar student who has worked extremely hard to excel in her research projects. Of particular note is her skill at balancing her research as a synthetic inorganic chemist with her biochemical work involving cellular assays on cancer cells in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics. I am very proud of her accomplishments and extremely pleased that this prestigious Phil Gramm Award has been bestowed upon her."

Already in her young career as a synthetic inorganic chemist, David has co-authored more than a dozen peer-reviewed publications and presented her research at several national conferences, including American Chemical Society (ACS) National Meetings and The Dow Chemical Company's 2014 Dow BEST Symposium. She previously served as an undergraduate research assistant at both the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras, and at the University of California, San Diego, as well as a summer research intern at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

David has been recognized with several awards, including the Texas A&M Faculty Senate Aggie Spirit Award, the Susan M. Arseven Make-A-Difference Award, the Texas A&M First Year Program in Chemistry Outstanding Teaching Award and the Texas A&M Graduate Diversity Fellowship.

Beyond the classroom and laboratory, David is a member of the ACS, the ACS Student Chapter, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS), the Organization for Cultural Diversity in Chemistry (OCDC), the Golden Key International Honor Society, the Women Former Students' Network, the Texas A&M Graduate Student Council and Women In Science and Engineering (WISE). In addition, she is active in a number of campus volunteer programs and outreach organizations, such as The Big Event, Expanding Your Horizons, Texas Science Olympiad and the annual Chemistry Open House.

"Amanda is not only working to help herself by focusing on her education and research, she also is highly committed to science outreach in the community and at the national level," Dunbar said. "She is richly deserving of this coveted award and all the success she will have in what I am certain will be an incredibly bright future."

Gramm spent two decades serving in the U.S. Congress and Senate, using his economic and financial expertise to create important laws and policies, and to provide advice to legislators and the White House. He is the Senior Partner of Gramm Partners, a public policy firm in Washington, D.C.

For additional information about Thursday's event, contact Shannon Walton at (979) 845-3631 or shannon@tamu.edu.

To learn more about the Gramm Fellowship Program and other opportunities for graduate and professsional students at Texas A&M, visit http://ogaps.tamu.edu/.


Contact: Shana K. Hutchins, (979) 862-1237 or shutchins@science.tamu.edu

Hutchins Shana

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