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USU Doctoral Student Receives Competitive China Scholarship Council Award

Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018


USU chemist Nan Jiang

USU chemist Nan Jiang, the College of Science's 'Graduate PhD Researcher of the Year,’ is a recipient of the prestigious Chinese Government Award for Outstanding Self-Financed Students Abroad.


Students in USU chemistry lab

USU doctoral student Nan Jiang, right, mentors undergraduate Cami Black, left, during the 2016 Native American STEM Mentorship Program on USU's Logan campus.


Utah State University doctoral student Nan Jiang is a recipient of the prestigious Chinese Government Award for Outstanding Self-Financed Students Abroad. A member of faculty mentor Yujie Sun’s lab in USU’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Jiang is one of 500 award recipients selected from a field of more than half a million Chinese undergraduate and graduate students studying varied disciplines in 29 countries.

“This is a highly competitive award and Nan is a deserving recipient,” says Sun, assistant professor in USU’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. “Nan has continuously demonstrated excellent research performance with an extremely productive track record.”

Jiang’s recognition demonstrates USU graduate students can compete with the best students anywhere, says Alvan Hengge, head of USU’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. “Her accomplishments are also a testament to our outstanding faculty, including Yujie Sun, who is a highly productive researcher and dedicated teacher.”

A native of northeastern China, Jiang says she’s always been interested in science, but began to focus seriously on biology, chemistry and physics in high school. After earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemistry and biotechnology in China, Jiang began her doctoral studies at USU in 2013.

In the Sun Lab, Jiang, who was named a Governor’s Energy Leadership Scholar, is investigating earth-abundant, bifunctional electrocatalysts for overall water splitting. The emerging technology, recently lauded in the global scientific report “Research Fronts 2017,” is a possible pathway to widespread, affordable energy production from clean, sustainable energy sources, including solar and wind.

Jiang was lead author on a highly cited paper published in the German journal Angewandte Chemie, which details the USU team’s findings.

“It’s quite an interesting area of study,” says Jiang, who is the USU’s College of Science’s 2018 Graduate (PhD) Researcher of the Year. “Electrochemistry can play a big role in the future.”

Jiang, who is completing her doctoral studies this spring, plans to pursue postdoctoral research opportunities. As a recipient of the Chinese governmental award, she receives a $6,000 prize.

Jiang says she loves the beauty of Cache Valley and its “small town,” friendly atmosphere.

“On my very first day on campus, several people stopped to ask if I needed directions,” she says. “I was surprised by everyone’s friendliness. I really like life here.”

Established by the China Scholarship Council in 2003, the Chinese Government Award for Outstanding Self-Financed Students Abroad honors Chinese overseas students, who demonstrate outstanding academic accomplishments. According to the program’s website, the award’s aim is to encourage research excellence.

Related Links
“USU Chem Lab Receives International Recognition for Innovative Research,” Utah State Today 
“Splitting the Difference: USU Chemists Advance Water Catalysis Research,” Utah State Today 
USU Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry 
USU College of Science 

Contact: Yujie Sun, 435-797-7608, yujie.sun@usu.edu
Writer: Mary-Ann Muffoletto, 435-797-3517, maryann.muffoletto@usu.edu





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