Jill Williamson Alty received her Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill under the direction of Prof. Frank Leibfarth and co-advised by Prof. Erik Alexanian. During her graduate studies, she developed new technologies and insights into polyolefin C-H functionalization. Her graduate work included studying mechanisms of C-H functionalization reactions, designing reagents for metal-free functionalization, and translating methods to perform these reactions within extruders. Jill also applied this chemistry towards upcycling post-consumer waste materials into ionomers. Currently, Jill is exploring the interface of chemistry and biology as a postdoctoral research scientist working with Prof. Laura Kiessling at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Jill’s research accomplishments have been recognized with numerous awards including an ACS Excellence in Graduate Polymer Research award, the UNC Chemistry Department Venable Award Fellowship, and a Clare Boothe Luce Fellowship. Her passion for contributing to the research community is evident as she chaired the Ewha-Luce International Seminar in 2019 and is currently chairing the Polymers Gordon Research Seminar set for 2023. During her graduate studies, Jill was Communications Chair for the Allies for Minorities and Women in Science and Engineering group. She has continued her activism for equality in science within MIT’s Women+ in Chemistry organization.
The 2022 Henkel Award for Outstanding Graduate Research in Polymer Science & Engineering will be presented during a symposium in honor of Dr. Alty at the American Chemical Society National Meeting in Chicago, IL August 21-25, 2022 in the ACS Division of Polymeric Materials Science and Engineering. Over the last 30 years, this award has been jointly administered through the ACS Divisions of Polymer Chemistry (POLY) and Polymeric Materials: Science & Engineering (PMSE), with generous financial support from the Henkel Corporation.