The State Science & Engineering Fair of Florida 2021: Avogadro award winner

Vedant Karalkar, the 2021 Avogadro award winner.

Congratulations to Vedant Karalkar from the Alachua County’s Eastside High School junior for winning the 2021 Avogadro award! Also, the student is the Grand Award Winner at the state science fair, which was held virtually from March 28 through April 1, won special awards from the Yale Science and Engineering Association, the United States Office of Naval Research, and will represent Florida at the prestigious Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair.

Karalkar’s project is called ‘Fabrication of Napthalimide Chemosensor Using InkJet Printing on Cellulose Paper for Determination of Uric Acid and Metal in Solution.’ The young scientist developed a low-cost sensor that could be used to test for a variety of diseases in areas with little or no access to current diagnostic tests that often require more expensive instruments, sophisticated techniques and/or highly-skilled medical personnel. The Avogadro Award that is given each year at the State Science and Engineering Fair with the support of the ACS local sections in the state of Florida.

Outstanding Entrepreneur/Employer Award

The Outstanding Entrepreneur/Employer Award recognizes chemists, chemical engineers, consultants, or businesspeople aiming to expand the Private Sector’s chemical enterprise* and to those private sector employers enabling chemists and chemical engineers to earn their livelihood in Central Florida.

The Orlando Local Section of the American Chemical Society established the Outstanding Entrepreneur/Employer Award in support of its goal to promote diversity and to foster a sense of belonging among its members.  These goals apply to the ethnicity, cultural and gender identity of the membership as well as to their educational and career backgrounds.  The Outstanding Entrepreneur/Employer Award expands the scope of the recognitions offered by the local section by focusing on those chemists and chemical engineers or businessperson working on expanding the chemical enterprise beyond the realm of academia.

  • This award is offered to an entrepreneur or employer from businesses, incubator companies, or private contractors supporting the public sector. 
  • Members and non-members of the American Chemical Society are eligible.
  • The selection committee will evaluate how the candidates are advancing, or expects to advance, the broader chemistry enterprise and its practitioners for the benefit of society.
    • The application should contain a general description on how chemistry is key to the success of the enterprise without disclosing proprietary information.
  • There will only be one award offered annually.
  • The Orlando Local Section may retain nomination packages not selected on a given year for consideration in a subsequent year.
  • Consideration will be given to the challenges associated with the maturity and size of each nominated enterprise.
  • Candidates offering mentorship or training to aspiring chemists or engineers will be favorably viewed.

Call for nominations will be solicited in August of each year.

* The chemical enterprise is the broad and encompassing industry that is focused on the understanding of the physical world at the molecular level and its subsequent development for the betterment of society. This covers academic, industrial, governmental, and non-traditional organizations related to the field of chemistry.  For this award, the private sector chemical enterprise refers to consultants, providers of goods and services, manufacturing companies to include those that provide chemical and chemical engineering services to the public sector.

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2020’s Awardees

The 2020 annual award banquet was virtually, via zoom, organized on December 5th 2020. The awards were given to the following outstanding chemists from Central Florida:

Outstanding High School Teacher: Mrs. Carrie Lopez (Trinity Preparatory School)
Nominated by Dr. Romina Jannotti
Outstanding Undergraduate Student: Ms. Katie Wilson (Florida Institute of Technology)
Nominated by Dr. Christopher Chouinard
Outstanding Graduate Student: Ms. Lorianne Shultz (right, University of Central Florida)
Nominated by Dr. Titel Jurca
Outstanding Educator at a Research Institution: Dr. Karin Chumbimuni-Torres (right, University of Central Florida)
Nominated by Dr. Cherie Yestrebsky
Outstanding Chemist: Dr. Xiaohu Xia (University of Central Florida)
Nominated by Dr. Cherie Yestrebsky
Outstanding Chemical Professional: Dr. Tracy Gibson (right, Kennedy Space Center)
Nominated by Dr. Joel Olson
Outstanding Volunteer: Dr. Michel Johnson (Retired)
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  • Outstanding High School Teacher: Mrs. Carrie Lopez (Trinity Preparatory School)
  • Outstanding Undergraduate Student: Ms. Katie Wilson (Florida Institute of Technology)
  • Outstanding Graduate Student: Ms. Lorianne Shultz (University of Central Florida)
  • Outstanding Educator at a Research Institution: Dr. Karin Chumbimuni-Torres (University of Central Florida)
  • Outstanding Chemist: Dr. Xiaohu Xia (University of Central Florida)
  • Outstanding Chemical Professional: Dr. Tracy Gibson (Kennedy Space Center)
  • Outstanding Volunteer: Dr. Michel Johnson (Retired)

Full List of Awardees

Over the years, the Orlando Section of the American Chemical Society recognizes outstanding chemist from Central Florida.

YearAward RecipientOrganization
2023Outstanding Student at a primarily teaching institutionMs. Denette BoucomeKeiser University
2023Outstanding Student at a primarily research institution (undergraduate)Ms. Arden Floyd
Mr. Matthew Pensenstadler
University of Central Florida
Florida Institute of Technology
2023Outstanding Graduate StudentMr. Jorge PereiraUniversity of Central Florida
2023Outstanding Teacher at a primarily teaching institutionDr. Mahesh PeddibhotlaValencia College
2023Outstanding Educator at a Primarily Research InstitutionDr. Pavithra PathirathnaFlorida Institute of Technology
2023Outstanding ChemistDr. Nasri NesnasFlorida Institute of Technology
2023Outstanding Chemistry ProfessionalDr. Nahid MohajeriNitto Americas
2023Outstanding VolunteerDr. Duy LeUniversity of Central Florida
2022Eileen Tulley Award for
Outstanding High School Student
Khadeejah AhmedLake Nona High
2022Outstanding High School TeacherMrs. Emily HillCrooms Academy of Information Technology
2022Outstanding Undergraduates StudentsAlivia Taylor
Natali Barakat
Seminole States College
University of Central Florida
2022Outstanding Grad StudentMr. Muzammil AhmedFlorida Institute of Technology
2022Outstanding Educator At a Teaching InstitutionDr. Angelina GeorgievaKeiser University
2022Outstanding Educator at a Primarily Research InstitutionDr. Yu YuanUniversity of Central Florida
2022Outstanding ChemistDr. Laurene TetardUniversity of Central Florida
2022Outstanding Chemical ProfessionalDr. Martha WilliamsNASA
2022Outstanding EntrepreneursMr. William EasterX-Batt, X-Mat, Semplastics
2022Outstanding VolunteerMr. Muzammil AhmedFlorida Institute of Technology
2021Eileen Tulley Award for
Outstanding High School Student
Mr. Seth BrunnerTrinity Prep
2021Outstanding Undergraduate
at a Primarily Research Institution
Ms Barbara Chiu
Ms. Kasey Rigby
University of Central Florida
2021Outstanding Graduate
at a Primarily Research Institution
Mr. Ryan ConnellyUniversity of Central Florida
2021Outstanding Educator
at a Primarily Research Institution
Dr. Titel Jurca University of Central Florida
2021Outstanding ChemistDr. Fernando Uribe-RomoUniversity of Central Florida
2021Outstanding Entrepreneur/EmployerMr. Sergie Albino
Mr. Ian Doromal
2021Outstanding VolunteerDr. Titel JurcaUniversity of Central Florida
2020Outstanding High School TeacherMrs. Carrie LopezTrinity Preparatory School
2020Outstanding Undergraduate StudentMs. Katie WilsonFlorida Institute of Technology
2020Outstanding Graduate Student Ms. Lorianne ShultzUniversity of Central Florida
2020Outstanding Educator
at a Research Institution
Dr. Karin Chumbimuni-TorresUniversity of Central Florida
2020Outstanding ChemistDr. Xiaohu XiaUniversity of Central Florida
2020Outstanding Chemical ProfessionalDr. Tracy GibsonKennedy Space Center
2020Outstanding VolunteerDr. Michel JohnsonRetired
2019Outstanding Two‐year College StudentMs. Emily GearhartSeminole State College
2019Outstanding Four‐year College StudentMs. Tam PhamStetson University
2019Outstanding Graduate StudentMr. Eric ZieglerFlorida Institute of Technology
2019Outstanding ChemistDr. Qun Treen HuoUniversity of Central Florida
2019Outstanding VolunteerMs. Audrey PrestonFlorida Institute of Technology
2019Volunteer RecognitionMr. George Kenney
2019Volunteer RecognitionDr. Angelina Georgieva
2018Outstanding High School StudentMs. Gabby IronsLake Nona High School
2018Outstanding High School TeacherMrs. Elvira TomlinLake Nona High School
2018Outstanding Two‐year College StudentMs. Zon ThwinValencia College
2018Outstanding Two‐year College TeacherDr. Laura SessionsValencia College
2018Outstanding Four‐year College StudentMr. Christopher RoldanUniversity of Central Florida
2018Outstanding Graduate StudentMr. Pierpaolo MorganteFlorida Institute of Technology
2018Outstanding ChemistDr. Andres CampigliaUniversity of Central Florida
2018Outstanding VolunteerDr. Steven KueblerUniversity of Central Florida
2017Outstanding High School StudentPhilip MonseesEdgewood Jr./Sr. High School
2017Outstanding Two‐year College StudentSun HongSeminole State College
2017Outstanding Two‐year College TeacherDr. Vasudha SharmaValencia College
2017Outstanding Four‐year College StudentFranklin ThornburghFlorida Institute of Technology
2017Outstanding Four‐year College TeacherDr. Joel OlsonFlorida Institute of Technology
2017Outstanding Graduate StudentTianyu ZhengUniversity of Central Florida
2017Outstanding ChemistDr. Yi LiaoFlorida Institute of Technology
2016Outstanding High School StudentAngelica CorianoCypress Creek High School
2016Outstanding High School TeacherRaymond RoweCypress Creek High School
2016Outstanding Two‐year College StudentShamaron GrierValencia College
2016Outstanding Two‐year College TeacherDr. Daeri TeneryValencia College
2016Outstanding Four‐year College StudentElizabeth StewartFlorida Institute of Technology
2016Outstanding Four‐year College TeacherDr. Jessica SmeltzFlorida Institute of Technology
2016Outstanding Graduate StudentTyler MaxwellUniversity of Central Florida
2015Outstanding High School StudentAnthony DasEdgewater High School
2015Outstanding High School TeacherNicholas TomcykoskiEdgewater High School
2015Outstanding Two‐year College StudentAlexandra AllardEastern Florida State College
2015Outstanding Two‐year College TeacherVan QuachSeminole State College
2015Outstanding Four‐year College StudentLauren GandyUniv. Central Florida
2015Outstanding Four‐year College TeacherKarin Chumbimuni-TorresUniv. Central Florida
2015Outstanding Graduate StudentShishir ChoureyFlorida Inst. of Techn.
2015Outstanding ChemistAndy KnightFlorida Inst. of Techn.
2014Outstanding High School StudentSrimayi TenaliWest Shore Jr/Sr HS
2014Outstanding High School StudentAadit VyasPaul J. Hagerty HS
2014Outstanding High School TeacherCaroline KentRockledge High School
2014Outstanding Two‐year College TeacherDeborah L. MeadSeminole State College
2014Outstanding Graduate StudentMahmoud SalehFlorida Inst. of Techn.
2013Outstanding High School StudentNicholas EtrickWest Shore Jr/Sr High School
2013Outstanding High School TeacherErica SaylorUniversity High School
2013Outstanding High School TeacherScott WaisanenOviedo High School
2013Outstanding Four‐year College StudentDiana CoxRollins College
2013Outstanding ChemistLei ZhaiUniv. Central Florida
2012Outstanding High School StudentDavid R. AndersonWest Shore Jr/Sr HS
2012Outstanding High School TeacherDr. Scott McCord Cocoa Beach Jr/Sr HS
2012Outstanding Two‐year College StudentLynley BachellerBrevard Comm. Col. – Palm Bay
2012Outstanding Two‐year College TeacherMs. Deborah McClintonBrevard Comm. Col. – Melbourne
2012Outstanding Four‐year College StudentChristian PoseaStetson University
2012Outstanding Four‐year College TeacherDr. Kurt WinkelmannFlorida Inst. of Techn.
2011Outstanding High School StudentMr. Clement LiCocoa Beach HS
2011Outstanding High School TeacherRomina Jannotti Hagerty HS
2011Outstanding Two‐year College StudentDanny AriasValencia State College
2011Outstanding Two‐year College TeacherEileen PerezValencia State College
2011Outstanding Four‐year College StudentChristy FitzpatrickStetson Univ.
2011Outstanding Four‐year College TeacherHarry PriceStetson Univ.
2011Gordon L. Nelson AwardJoshua RokachFlorida Inst. of Techn.
2011Outstanding Student Affiliate SectionUCF Student ChapterUniv. Central Florida
2010Outstanding High School StudentSteven WangSeminole HS
2010Outstanding High School StudentAnthony WeishampleHagerty HS
2010Outstanding High School StudentKelsey SaveryWest Shore HS
2010Outstanding High School TeacherSusan BrennanSeminole HS
2010Outstanding Four‐year College StudentJustin WrightRollons College
2010Outstanding Four‐year College TeacherTandy GrubbStetson Univ.
2010Outstanding Graduate StudentCarolina AndradeUniv. Central Florida
2009Outstanding High School StudentTimothy CopelandHagerty HS
2009Outstanding Two‐year College StudentEstefania SantamariaValencia Comm. Coll.
2009Outstanding Four‐year College StudentNaomi PerniconeStetson Univ.
2009Outstanding Graduate StudentCiceron Outstanding YanezUniv. Central Florida
2009Outstanding ChemistAndres D. Campiglia———–
2008Outstanding High School StudentAnna StrockWest Shore HS
2008Outstanding High School StudentGreg BraciackHagerty HS
2008Outstanding High School TeacherFaren AhrensEdgewood HS
2008Outstanding Two‐year College StudentRafael GonzalezDaytona State Coll.
2008Outstanding Four‐year College StudentKatherine Ferstadt———–
2008Outstanding Graduate StudentPranav PatelFlorida Inst. of Techn.
2007Outstanding High School StudentAdam KlettWest Shore HS
2007Outstanding High School TeacherLisa Scott Satellite HS
2007Outstanding Two‐year College TeacherGerald SwansonDaytona Beach Comm. Coll.
2007Outstanding Four‐year College StudentCarlos ToroUniv. Central Florida
2006Outstanding High School StudentRobert GottfriedHagerty HS
2006Outstanding High School TeacherDawn ArnettViera HS
2006Outstanding Four‐year College StudentJuliana LlanoUniv. Central Florida
2006Outstanding Four‐year College TeacherRamee IndralingamStetson Univ.
2006Outstanding Graduate StudentMussafer Tonguc OztekUniv. Central Florida
2006Outstanding ChemistVirender SharmaFlorida Inst. of Techn.
2005Outstanding High School StudentXiaoming JiaWest Shore HS
2005Outstanding High School TeacherDelilah Narvaez West Shore HS
2005Outstanding Two‐year College StudentSarah KellnerBrevard Comm. Coll.
2005Outstanding Two‐year College TeacherMartin McClintonBrevard Comm. Coll.
2005Outstanding Four‐year College StudentGail SchneiderUniv. Central Florida
2005Outstanding Four‐year College TeacherStephen KueblerUniv. Central Florida
2005Outstanding Graduate StudentNadine Noorhasan-SmithFlorida Inst. of Techn.
2005Outstanding ChemistRodger CappsBoeing Company
2004Outstanding High School StudentAndrew FirstWinter Springs HS
2004Outstanding High School StudentAlexander RoedererWest Shore HS
2004Outstanding High School TeacherThomas Sammet University HS
2004Outstanding Two‐year College StudentRyan MichaelBrevard Comm. Coll.
2004Outstanding Four‐year College StudentChristopher StefancikStetson Univ.
2004Outstanding Graduate StudentSheila JacoboFlorida Inst. of Techn.
2004Outstanding ChemistFlorencio  HernandezUniv. Central Florida
2004Gordon L. Nelson AwardBrooks MadsenUniv. Central Florida
2003Outstanding High School StudentKim HoangPalm Bay HS
2003Outstanding High School TeacherDavid PieskiFreedom HS
2003Outstanding Four‐year College StudentEdgar PerezUniv. Central Florida
2003Outstanding Four‐year College TeacherBrooks MadsenUniv. Central Florida
2003Outstanding Graduate StudentMirna FranjicUniv. Central Florida
2003Outstanding ChemistChristian ClausenUniv. Central Florida
2002Outstanding High School StudentGregory DiMicco
2002Outstanding High School TeacherLara Sharp
2002Outstanding Four‐year College StudentCarri Brodnax
2002Outstanding Four‐year College TeacherMichael Hampton
2002Outstanding Graduate StudentChristina Coon
2002Gordon L. Nelson AwardBarry Fookes
2002Chairman’s AwardRamee IndralingamStetson Univ.
2001Outstanding High School StudentErin Riley
2001Outstanding High School TeacherKaren Deo
2001Outstanding Four‐year College StudentSean Burrow
2001Outstanding Four‐year College TeacherGlenn CunninghamUniv. Central Florida
2001Outstanding Graduate StudentJanice Lomness
2001Outstanding ChemistCherie Geiger
2000Outstanding High School StudentMatthew Offerman
1996Outstanding High School StudentJona HattangadiUniversity High
1996Outstanding High School TeacherKenneth Holt
1996Outstanding Four-year College StudentKim MillarUniv. Central Florida
1996Outstanding Two‐year College TeacherJan Ems-WilsonValencia Community College
1996Outstanding Graduate StudentMustafa AdiyamanFlorida Institute of Technology
1996Outstanding Four‐year College TeacherGuy MattsonUniv. Central Florida
1996Outstanding ChemistClovis LinkousFSEC/Univ. Central Florida
1996Gordon L. Nelson AwardGordon L. NelsonFlorida Institute of Technology
1995Outstanding High School StudentLaura Meyer
1995Outstanding High School TeacherJennifer Foulk
1995Outstanding Four-year College StudentLynda Dawson
1995Outstanding Two‐year College TeacherJeanne Robinson
1995Outstanding Graduate StudentChun Lin
1995Outstanding Four‐year College TeacherBrooks MadsenUniv. Central Florida
1995Outstanding ChemistMichael BabichFlorida Institute of Technology
1994Outstanding High School Student Meetesh KariaPalm Bay High
1994Outstanding High School TeacherErica LeonardMainland High
1994Outstanding Two‐year College TeacherTom BeallBrevard Community College
1994Outstanding Student at a Four-year CollegeJanice LomnessUniv. Central Florida
1994Outstanding Graduate StudentScott McKayFlorida Institute of Technology
1994Outstanding Four‐year College TeacherMichael HamptonUniv. Central Florida
1993Outstanding High School Student Chris Bray
1993Outstanding High School TeacherJanet MorganDr. Phillips High
1993Outstanding Two‐year College TeacherDavid WilsonValencia Community College
1993Outstanding Graduate StudentGuo ShenFlorida Institute of Technology
1993Outstanding Four‐year College TeacherAlan BrownFlorida Institute of Technology
1993Outstanding High School Student
(Special Awards)
Thanh Tan Nguyen
Ranjani Raghunathan
John Foley
Tom Tomble
1993Outstanding Graduate Student
(Special Awards)
Jennifer Batten
1992Outstanding High School StudentsMatt Carrigan
Ben McFarland
1992Outstanding Undergrad Students
at a Four-Year College
Chris Bender
Melissa Heck
1992Outstanding High School TeachersSharon Blankenship
Nancy Benton
1992Outstanding Teacher at a Four-year CollegeSeth Elsheimer
1992Outstanding ChemistMary Sohn
1991Outstanding High School StudentEileen TulleyTitusville High
1991Outstanding High School TeacherCollette Davis
Joseph Pekich
Dr. Phillips High
Palm Bay High
1991Outstanding Four‐year College StudentCherie GeigerUniv. Central Florida
1991Outstanding Graduate StudentSeong Woo Hwang
1991Outstanding ChemistMichael D. Hampton
John H. Trefry III
Univ. Central Florida
Florida Institute of Technology