Clark Receives NSF CAREER Award

Funds research focused on synthetic strategies, and increase STEM opportunities

Dr. Kensha Clark, assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry, was recently awarded a Faculty Early Career Development Program (CAREER) grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) starting July 1, 2022.

Clark’s award for $700,000, entitled “Exocyclic Imine Ligands for Electron Transfer,” capitalizes on redox noninnocence in transition metal complexes for the purpose of: (1) predicting electronic and magnetic behavior, (2) exploring ligand facilitated intermetallic interactions, and (3) the design of new functional molecules. This research will develop new synthetic strategies for metal ions with tailored electronic and magnetic properties to produce rationally designed multimetallic complexes that are engineered to manifest desired behavior. Development of these novel synthetic strategies will have an impact on a variety of applications, including sustainable chemical processes via artificial photosynthesis, computing, medical devices, and grid energy storage.

In addition to the proposed research, Clark’s award will provide increased opportunities for undergraduates in the STEM fields through a STEM major “boot camp” program. By introducing incoming students to exercises to help strengthen their critical thinking skills, support resources (e.g. learning centers and campus tutoring), STEM based clubs/activities on campus, and opportunities for undergraduate research in Clark’s laboratory, this program will facilitate a smooth transition into intensive, university level STEM coursework.

About the NSF CAREER program (from the NSF Website)

The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program is a Foundation-wide activity that offers the National Science Foundation's most prestigious awards in support of early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization. Activities pursued by early-career faculty should build a firm foundation for a lifetime of leadership in integrating education and research. NSF encourages submission of CAREER proposals from early-career faculty at all CAREER-eligible organizations and especially encourages women, members of underrepresented minority groups, and persons with disabilities to apply.

For more information on the NSF CAREER program, please contact the Division of Research & Innovation at researchdev@memphis.edu. If you have questions or further interest in the STEM major boot camp program, please contact Clark at Kensha.Clark@memphis.edu.