LEMONT FURNACE, Pa .– Maria Schultheis, alumnus of Penn State Fayette, The Eberly Campus, received an Honorable Mention in the 2021 University Libraries Undergraduate Research Award: Excellence in Information Literacy category for “The Future of Technology photovoltaic: Use of Amino Acids as molecular electronics.

Before moving to University Park in the spring of 2020 to study animal science, Schultheis began undergraduate research with Julio Palma, assistant professor of chemistry. At Fayette, Schultheis’ work earned her first place at the Fall Learning Fair 2019, a prestigious Erickson Discovery Fellowship in 2020, and a place in the inaugural Summer Mentorship Program for Entrepreneurial Research at the Fayette LaunchBox.

She has also received the President’s Freshman Award and the President’s Sparks Award, awarded annually to Fayette students with GPAs of 4.0 or higher.

“My research with Dr. Palma involves the study of amino acids and their potential applications in molecular electronics and solar panel technology,” she said. “One thing we found is that electron transport and ultimately the ease with which an amino acid could act as molecular electronics is directly determined by the identity of amino acids in terms of charge.”

Schultheis is from Bullskin, Pennsylvania. At University Park, she participates in the Pre-Vet Club and the Small and Exotic Animal Club, as well as the breeding research team. She hopes to graduate in 2022 and plans to attend veterinary school and open her own animal practice.

“Maria is an enthusiastic student who has excelled in many disciplines and I have had the pleasure of being her scientific research advisor,” said Palma. “In fact, she has been involved in several research projects and we are in the process of writing a few scientific papers which we intend to publish. Maria is a role model and a leader, and I am confident that we will continue to hear about her success in the future. “

Schultheis awards the 2 + 2 program, which allows students to begin the first two years of over 275 majors at any Penn State campus before moving on to another, for many of its opportunities.

“The 2 + 2 program is not only a financially wise step, but Fayette provides a pleasant transition from high school to college which I think can be lost if you start immediately on a large college campus,” he said. she declared. “By attending Fayette for the first time, I was able to bond with professors and participate in unique opportunities very early in my academic career. “

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