Accolades & Awards

The accolade was the central act in the rite of passage ceremonies conferring knighthood in the Middle Ages. From about 1852, the term accolade was used much more generally to mean "praise" or "award" or "honor." Today it may also be applied to a grant, scholarship or a fellowship.

Fellowships & Scholarships

National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (NSF GRFP)

The Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) is a National Science Foundation-wide program that provides Fellowships to individuals selected early in their graduate careers based on their demonstrated potential for significant research achievements in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM)or in STEM education. Three years of support (approximately $46,000) is provided by the program for graduate study that leads to a research-based master's or doctoral degree in STEM or STEM education.

The program goals are: 1) to select, recognize, and financially support, early in their careers, individuals with the demonstrated potential to be high achieving scientists and engineers, and 2) to broaden participation in science and engineering of underrepresented groups, including women, minorities, persons with disabilities, and veterans.

North Carolina Space Grant Graduate Research Fellowship Program

The North Carolina Space Grant Graduate Research Fellowship Program is an award to provide funding over the summer to research on a topic that relates to a current NASA science mission directorate.

Topic: Developing molecularly engineered motors using conjugated moieties for movement on polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) to dock and deliver molecular cargo using fixed wavelengths of light.

Directorate: TA 3 Space Power and Energy Storage, TA 3.4.1-3 Cross Cutting Technologies

Beverly Hamilton Moran Scholarship

The Beverly Hamilton Moran scholarship is awarded to a student in the graduating class of the Berea Community Schools to aid them in their collegiate endeavors. The scholarship yields four years of support to attend any college or university of their choice; $10,000 a year for four years.


Synthesis and characterization of poly(3-hexylthiophene)-functionalized siloxane nanoparticles

Poly(3-hexylthiophene)-functionalized siloxane nanoparticles were prepared by a modified Stöber method. The photovoltaic performance of P3HT-nanohybrids with C60 derivative PCBM was evaluated. The device made from 1 : 1 blends of P3HT-NPs:PCBM showed reasonably good photovoltaic performance with a power conversion efficiency of 2.5% under standard test conditions (AM 1.5G, 100 mW cm−2).

Nanoscale, 2013,5, 3212-3215

Synthesis and Characterization of Lithium-Ion Based Diatom Batteries

New and innovative materials are needed to develop more effective batteries. Nanoscale materials such as graphite have unique properties only seen in the nano-regime that allow them to be used in the production of lithium-ion batteries. For example, because of its ability to conduct electricity, nano-scale graphite has been used in the anode of lithium-ion batteries, which has revolutionized the long-term use of medical devices, such as pacemakers and defibrillators. Interestingly, the graphite anode has a relatively low specific capacity per gram of ~372 mAh g-1, which limits the rate of charge available to thesedevices. The specific capacity of silicon, however, is ~11 times greater than that of graphite at ~4200 mAh g-1, which makes it a better choice as an anode material. Silicon is not presently used because of its fragility during the lithiation process. In this work, we demonstrate a robust nanoscale material synthesis inspired by the biomineralization process that the ocean-dwelling unicellular phytoplankton, diatoms, that they use to form their porous silicon structure. By maintaining the porous structure of diatoms from the conversion of silica to silicon, using a magnesiothermic reduction process, their structure can be used to enhance silicon’s strength during the lithiation process allowing the use of silicon’s higher specific capacity. This approach has the potential to implement silicon as an anode for lithium-ion batteries to enhance the longevity of present day applications.

Using Two Different Approaches For The Creation Of Poly(3-Hexylthiophene)-Functionalized Siloxane Nanoparticles For Organic-Based Solar Cells

Poly(3-hexylthiophene)-functionalized silsesquioxane nanoparticles were prepared from direct hydrolysis and condensation of P3HT-silane precursor using “grafting from” and “grafting to” methods. The size, shape, and surface morphology of these polymer grafts particles were visualized using transmission electron microscopy and scanning electron microscopy. Their compositions confirmed by FTIR, thermogravimetric analysis and elemental analysis. The XRD analysis revealed the polymer orientation and packing pattern of the nanocomposites, indicating the highly ordered lamella stacks of P3HT polymer chains. The photovoltaic performance of the blends of P3HT-nanohybrid with the C60 derivative PCBM was evaluated upon annealation in different temperatures, ranging from 50°C to 150 °C. The power conversion efficiency of the best test device was 2.46% (3.8%) for the device configuration of ITO/PEDOT:PSS/P3HT-NPs:PCBM/LiF/Al.

Wright, Nicholas A., "Using Two Different Approaches for the Creation of Poly(3-Hexylthiophene)-Functionalized Siloxane Nanoparticles for Organic-Based Solar Cells" (2012). Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects. Paper 372.

Nicholas Wright, Amar Patel, Jenna Binion, and Hemali Rathnayake. “Poly(3-hexylthiophene)-functionalized Siloxane Nanoparticles for Organic-based Solar Cells.” Polymeric Materials Science & Engineering 2012, 106, 431.


Master's of Science, Nanoscience

University of North Carolina at Greensboro (2017 - 2019)

Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering

Master's of Science, Chemistry

Vanderbilt University (2012 - 2016)

School of Arts and Science

ViNSE -- Vanderbilt Institute of Nanoscale Science and Engineering

Bachelor's of Science, Chemistry, Minor Mathematics

Western Kentucky University (2008 - 2012)

Ogden College of Science and Engineering


International Research Experiences for Students (IRES) Program in the National Chung Hsing University

The International Research Experiences for Students (IRES) program supports international research and research-related activities for U.S. science and engineering students. The IRES program contributes to development of a diverse, globally-engaged workforce with world-class skills. IRES focuses on active research participation by undergraduate or graduate students in high quality international research, education and professional development experiences in NSF-funded research areas.

Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Program

This program is aimed at increasing the quality and quantity of students successfully completing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) baccalaureate degree programs, and increasing the number of students interested in, academically qualified for and matriculated into programs of graduate study. he program's theory is based on the Tinto model for student retention.1 LSAMP supports sustained and comprehensive approaches that facilitate achievement of the long-term goal of increasing the number of students who earn doctorates in STEM fields, particularly those from populations underrepresented in STEM fields. The program goals are accomplished through the formation of alliances.

1 Clewell, B.C., Cosentino de Cohen, C. , Tsui, L. and Deterding, N. (2006). Revitalizing the Nation's Talent Pool in STEM. Urban Institute. Washington, D.C.

Governor’s Scholars Program

The Governor’s Scholars Program is a summer residential program for outstanding high school students in Kentucky who are rising seniors. The Program originated in 1983 as a result of Kentucky leaders’ concern that the state’s “best and brightest” were leaving the Commonwealth to pursue educational and career opportunities elsewhere without fully understanding the potential of their talents at home. Students who are selected attend the Program without charge. In the spirit of partnership, the Office of the Governor, the Kentucky State Legislature, and private enterprise come together to provide the financial support for the Program.

The Program’s mission is to enhance Kentucky’s next generation of civic and economic leaders.

Other Honors and Awards

Kentucky Colonel

The honorable title of Kentucky Colonel is a recognition bestowed by the Governor of Kentucky of an individual's noteworthy accomplishments and outstanding service to community, state or nation. Kentucky colonels are unwavering in devotion to faith, family, commonwealth and country.