MSVU science programs are taught by world-leading experts and provide exceptional access to undergraduate research opportunity.

It should come as no surprise then that some of the best students in science call MSVU their university home.

Ailish Sullivan and Erin Wiggins holding their respective awards.Recently, two MSVU chemistry students (now graduates!) received prestigious national awards from the Canadian Society for Chemistry.

Ailish Sullivan received the Science Atlantic Science Communication Award while Erin Wiggins won the Chemical Education Award. Both awards were presented at the 2024 Science Atlantic-CIC Chemistry Conference (ChemCon) held May 23 to 25 at Cape Breton University.

Ailish received the Science Atlantic Science Communication Award for her presentation titled “Exploring Chemical Sources of Diffuse Interstellar Bands Through Quantum Mechanics.” The prize is awarded to the student who is best able to communicate a science topic to their peers. Notes Science Atlantic, the award consists of a letter of commendation, a cash prize and the opportunity to work collaboratively with the Atlantic Student Research Journal team to write and publish an article about the winner’s research.

Originally from Florence, NS, Ailish graduated from MSVU this past spring with a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Chemistry. She graduated with first-class honours and the highest aggregate and was named a recipient of the university’s President’s Prize. Ailish is keen to continue her studies and is currently exploring further education options. She aspires to work in a field that enables her to leverage her interpersonal and innovation skills; she has a strong interest in health care.

Said Ailish, “I have been participating in research with Dr. Chérif Matta and Dr. Tina Harriott since the summer of 2022. It has been an extremely enriching experience. Dr. Matta and Dr. Harriott are exceptionally kind and encouraging leaders. The value they have for education is evident in their work and actions. This experience has facilitated me developing many crucial skills and allowed me to gain confidence in my abilities. Furthermore, my involvement in research has provided unique opportunities such as traveling to New York to meet with other scientists in the field.”

Erin won the Chemical Education Award for her research presentation titled “Adapting Titration Experiments for Students with Colour-Vision Deficiencies.” Judging for this award is completed by chemistry professors. Science Atlantic explains that, through its three constituent societies and presenters of this award—the Canadian Society for Chemistry (CSC), the Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering (CSChE), and the Canadian Society for Chemical Technology (CSCT)—the Chemical Institute of Canada is committed to advancing the chemical sciences and engineering.

Originally from Sydney, Nova Scotia, Erin graduated from MSVU with her Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Chemistry this spring with first-class honours. Erin has been accepted to the Master of Chemistry program at the University of Ottawa where her research will focus on chemical education. After that, Erin is considering pursuing further chemical education research or a Doctor of Pharmacy degree. During her last year at MSVU, Erin completed an honours thesis on Alzheimer’s disease research.

Erin shared a few reflections on her time at MSVU: “I was always supported throughout my studies by my professors and classmates, and this support allowed me to gain the confidence to pursue an honours degree in chemistry. I loved taking chemistry labs and working in the chemical stockroom. I was also a founding member of the chemistry and physics society.”