Iota Sigma Pi Gives 2020 Morgan Research Award to Dr. Jillian Dempsey of University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill

Contributed by Anne K. Taylor




Iota Sigma Pi, the National Honorary Society for Women in Chemistry, has selected Dr. Jillian Dempsey to receive the 2020 Agnes Fay Morgan Research Award. The award is given for research achievement to a woman chemist or biochemist not over forty years of age. She has been invited to participate in the organization’s Triennial Convention in 2021.

Dr. Dempsey’s nominators described her as a “rock star”. The conversion of solar energy to chemical energy through artificial photosynthesis will help address evolving global energy needs without detrimental environmental consequences. She applies electrochemistry and time-resolved spectroscopy to gain a detailed understanding of the charge transfer processes underpinning solar energy capture and the production of high energy density fuels from renewable energy sources.

Quoting a nominator, “Her work provides tools and insights that move her fields forward. Her papers are fundamental, thoughtful and valuable. They break new ground through detailed studies that reveal the underlying properties, rather than by developing a new research system.”  The nominators also noted her commitment to the advancement and promotion of female chemists. “In collaboration with Brandi Cossairt (University of Washington) and Elizabeth Young (Lehigh University), Jillian launched the Chemistry Women Mentoring Network. This program is designed to pair young female chemists with senior members of the community in mentor/mentee relationships.”

Jillian Dempsey earned her Bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, MA) and her Ph.D. in Chemistry at the California Institute of Technology (Pasadena, CA). In 2012 she began her independent career at the University of North Carolina, where she is now an Associate Professor and the Director of Undergraduate Studies. She has received many awards for her research, including most recently, the 2019 Harry Gray Award for Creative Work in Inorganic Chemistry by a Young Investigator.

IOTA SIGMA PI is the National Honor Society for Women in Chemistry. Its major objectives are to promote interest in chemistry among women students, to foster mutual advancement in academic, business, and social life; and to stimulate personal accomplishment in chemical fields. IOTA SIGMA PI serves to promote the advancement of women in chemistry by granting recognition to women who have demonstrated superior scholastic achievement and high professional competence by election into IOTA SIGMA PI.



Contact:  Anne K. Taylor, PhD
telephone: 707-774-6586