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Jon Zubieta to receive 2013 College of Arts and Sciences Wasserstrom Prize

Annual prize will be awarded during 2013 Commencement Weekend

Apr 15, 2013 — Article by: Judy Holmes

Jon Zubieta, Distinguished Professor of Chemistry

Jon Zubieta, Distinguished Professor of Chemistry

Jon Zubieta, Distinguished Professor of Chemistry in Syracuse University’s College of Arts and Sciences, will receive 2013 William Wasserstrom Prize for the Teaching of Graduate Students.  The award will be presented during the 2013 Graduate School Doctoral Hooding Ceremony and Reception, 5 p.m. Friday, May 10.

The prize is awarded annually in memory of English Professor William Wasserstrom to faculty members in The College of Arts and Sciences who exemplify Wasserstrom’s outstanding success as a graduate seminar leader, research and dissertation director, and advisor and role model for graduate students.

Zubieta is a highly respected inorganic chemist and crystallographer, who has garnered more than $5 million in external research funding, published 750 papers, and holds nine patents. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, a 2004 recipient of the American Chemical Society’s Syracuse Section Award, and holds positions on the editorial boards of some of the foremost journals in the field of inorganic chemistry and nuclear medicine.

“Professor Zubieta’s extraordinarily active research program benefits the broader scientific community and everyone he works with, especially the students he mentors,” says Gerry Greenberg, senior associate dean for academic affairs; humanities; and curriculum, instruction, and programs in The College of Arts and Sciences. “He has a unique ability to challenge and motivate his students to explore, learn from their mistakes, and celebrate their successes, while helping them develop the technical skills and theoretical insights required for a productive research program.”

Over the course of his distinguished career Zubieta has mentored 30 doctoral students, 11 master’s students, and 26 post-doctoral researchers.  His graduates have excelled in industrial and academic positions all over the world, including Harvard Medical School, Virginia Tech, Los Alamos National Laboratory, the Naval Surface Warfare Research Institute, Unilever, Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, Saudi Basic Industries Corporation, and at medical schools and research institutions in Turkey, Germany, and Beijing.

Zubieta’s graduate students typically complete their Ph.D. in less than five years in a field where six years is the norm. His ability to direct his research group through daily contacts, group meetings, off-campus events, and an office door that is always open serves as a model for the department’s junior faculty.

“Kind, caring and remarkable are only a few words that define Dr. Zubieta,” writes a current student in support of Zubieta’s nomination for the Wasserstrom Prize. “Dr. Zubieta has challenged me to look beyond the scope of my research goals and think of new ways and ideas to explore.”

Former students applaud Zubieta’s “dedication, support, and patience” of graduate students who are learning to balance classes, laboratory work and teaching assignments, and his ability to motivate his students to work together and to support new group members.

Says one graduate writing in support of Zubieta’s nomination: “Jon was encouraging when experiments fell flat, but more importantly he gave credit and confidence to his students by showing his excitement about positive results. Jon prepared his students for real life and its obstacles by making one confront weaknesses and take risks. This is probably one of the most valuable lessons I learned during my time at Syracuse University.”

Zubieta holds a Ph.D. from Columbia University and a B.S. from Fordham University. He taught for 17 years at the University at Albany, State University of New York, before being appointed in 1990 as professor in the Department of Chemistry in SU’s College of Arts and Sciences.

Contact Information

Judy Holmes
jlholmes@syr.edu
315-443-8085