CLEMSON, South Carolina – The first-ever disbursement of the Dr. Frederick S. Mandel ’78 Quasi-Endowment has been gifted to six graduate students in the department of chemistry.

Students stand side by side

The first cohort of Mandel Fellows in the department of chemistry.
Image Credit: College of Science

Announced on Nov. 13, Bukola Saheed, Ashley Dickey, Muskendol Novoa, Htoo Paing, Paige Reed and Khadijatul Kobra are the first recipients of the Mandel Fellowship, a gift established by the late Doris Mandel in memory of her son, Frederick.

The fellowships impart $4,000 of financial aid to each recipient as they pursue their graduate studies in chemistry.

“It is an honor to be part of the first cohort of winners of the Mandel Fellowship, and it motivates me to push toward my goals,” Novoa said. “The financial assistance is important for graduate students because, for most of us, the university’s assistantship is the only source of economic support we have to live at Clemson and support our families.”

In his doctoral studies, Novoa has worked under his advisor, professor Jason McNeill, to develop biological imaging applications for fluorescent nanoparticles based on conjugated polymers. His studies benefit an imaging method – fluorescent microscopy – that is at play in labs traversing many scientific disciplines, such as biochemistry, genetics, cell biology and microbiology.

Saheed, a doctoral student in professor Stephen Creager’s group, shared similar sentiments with Novoa upon receiving the Mandel Fellowship.

headshot of Mandel

Frederick Mandel graduated from Clemson University with his Ph.D. in 1978.
Image Credit: Space Propulsion Systems Inc.

“As students, we always work hard to be successful in our academic careers; however, we remain motivated when our dedication to academic excellence is being recognized,” Saheed said. “Being recognized for such an important fellowship adds to my good ‘Clemson Story’ and will further reinforce my commitment to my studies and research here at Clemson.”

Alongside Creager, Saheed uses two-dimensional crystals, like graphene, to separate isotopes of hydrogen. The technique – which essentially acts to purify different forms of hydrogen – has applications in nuclear waste cleanup and even renewable energies.

“Without question, these awards represent a tipping point in our commitment to supporting our hard-working students,” chemistry department chair Bill Pennington said.

Frederick Mandel received his Ph.D. in physical organic chemistry from Clemson University in 1978, where he studied the mechanisms of reaction and characteristics of iron (III) nitrate in hemins, a derivative of hemoglobin in the blood. His career spanned many fields within chemistry, such as pharmaceutical and fine chemicals, electronic materials, water treatment, and materials research, though he also had entrepreneurial and business experience. At the time of his passing, he held 12 patents and over 28 scientific publications.

Mandel’s mother Doris was a longtime friend of Clemson University who intended the endowment “to assist those needy students who could not otherwise attend” the university. Thus, students applying for the Mandel Fellowship must demonstrate financial need.

Qualified recipients are chosen by an appointed selection committee in accordance with the policies and procedures outlined by the Office of Student Financial Aid at Clemson.