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SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – An Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Cal Poly joined a group of 19 faculty members from the United States and Canada to receive the 2024 Cottrell Scholar Award on Friday.

Professor Leslie Hamachi was selected as one of the early-career teacher-scholars to receive the $120,000 grant to advance research and education-centered initiatives that will be distributed over a three-year period.

“These awardees stand out not just for their excellence in teaching and research but for their potential,” explained Daniel Linzer, President and CEO of the Research Corporation for Scientific Advancement, which manages the Cottrell Award. “The advancement of both science and society depend on the fresh ideas and the dedication to student learning that we see in Cottrell Scholars, including the class of 2024.”

Professor Hamachi teaches in the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department and also works with Cal Poly students on research projects supported by the Frost Fund through the Bailey College of Science and Mathematics.

Currently, Professor Hamachi leads a team of undergraduates at the Learn by Doing Lab to develop polymer and macromolecule-focused activities with an emphasis on polymer recycling and sustainability.

Polymers are large molecules, or macromolecules, made by chemically linking the building blocks of bonded atoms.

Students from K through 12 schools visit Cal Poly’s Learn by Doing Lab to see real-world demonstrations and activities of the research conducted on campus.

“This is quite an honor, and I’m really excited to implement these learning concepts and help grow knowledge in polymer-based education,” Professor Hamachi said. “Cal Poly undergrads will have a very large impact with guided educational objectives. We’ll be able to share fundamental scientific knowledge through outreach that will be new to Cal Poly and local students.”

Professor Hamachi is also developing a new course, Foundations of Macromolecular Chemistry, that is part of curriculum changes at Cal Poly mandated by a 2021 directive from the California State University Office of the Chancellor.

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