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College of Liberal Arts

University of Mississippi

Goldwater Scholar Researches Alternative Energy

Anna Hailey, a senior from Muscle Shoals, Ala., earning three degrees – Chinese, chemistry, and chemical engineering – is the eighth University of Mississippi student to receive the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship since 2000.

“I was very happy and excited to learn I had received the Goldwater,” said Hailey, a member of the Sally McDonnell Honors College. “This scholarship will help pay for my fifth year of college, which I need to complete my three degrees. Then I hope the Goldwater will help me gain admission into graduate school so I can continue my studies.”

Hailey plans to earn a doctorate in chemical engineering or environmental engineering so she can continue research on alternative energy sources.  She credits UM faculty and staff across many disciplines for giving her a solid foundation for her future career path.

Faculty members in Hailey’s major fields of study boast of her academic achievements and dedication.

“Anna has distinguished herself from other students in academic performance, research accomplishment, community and professional services, vision and personality,” said Wei-Yin Chen, professor of chemical engineering.  “The Goldwater Scholarship will be an enormous encouragement to her career preparation.”

Hailey worked with Chen’s lab in the development of new photocatalysts for controlling carbon dioxide.  This research promotes collaboration between Chen’s lab and that of Nathan Hammer, assistant professor of chemistry.

“We are interested in photocatalysts that can reduce carbon dioxide into usable energy forms such as methane or ethanol.  This creates new fuel sources while at the same time eliminating potentially harmful carbon dioxide,” said Hammer. “Anna works on making the photocatalyst in Chen’s lab and performs the actual photocatalysis in my lab.  She has excelled in the research laboratory and possesses the aptitude to become an accomplished career scientist.”

Hailey’s third degree is in Chinese, which became immediately useful last summer as she became the university’s first exchange student with the Institute for Thermal Power Engineering at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China.  While there, she joined Chinese researchers in their work on carbon storage and sequestration methods.

“Anna’s solid command of Chinese language and deep understanding of Chinese culture will no doubt make her a truly global professional for the 21st century,” said Yi Lin, assistant professor of Chinese and curriculum director of the UM Chinese Language Flagship Program.