November 22, 2013



Chemistry professor Aikens receives Outstanding Alumna Award

By Tom Roesler

Christine Aikens receives Outstanding Alumna Award from Iowa State University College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Christine Aikens, associate professor of chemistry in the College of Arts and Sciences, has been recognized as an outstanding alumna by her alma mater, Iowa State University.

Aikens received the Outstanding Alumni Award in Chemistry from Iowa State’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in a recognition ceremony that took place Nov. 7 as part of Iowa State ’s homecoming week.

"I am really honored to have received this award,” Aikens said. “Iowa State was a wonderful place to be a graduate student, and I was very fortunate to work for a great adviser and department."

William Jenks, chemistry department chair at Iowa State, said it is always rewarding to see students from their program succeed in their life and career after their time at Iowa State.

“Christine was easily identifiable when she was a student as one of our really gifted and creative scientists, and after she moved to K-State, she proved that she had all the other talents: as a leader, an instructor, and a go-getter with respect to grants and research support,” Jenks said. “We know K-State thinks of her as one of theirs, but we are proud to think of Christine as an Iowa Stater as well.”

Mark Gordon, the Frances M. Craig distinguished professor of chemistry at Iowa State and Aikens' advisor while at the school, agreed.

“Christine is as accomplished a teacher and mentor as she is a research scholar,” he said.

Eric Maatta, head of the K-State chemistry department, said he is proud of Aikens.

"The Iowa State award citation noted Christine’s numerous scholarly recognitions and scientific accomplishments, her research productivity, and her renown in theoretical and computational chemistry, all of which we already knew, although it is gratifying to see that others share our high esteem of her," Maatta said.

Aikens came to K-State as an assistant professor in 2007 following a postdoctoral appointment at Northwestern University. She was promoted to associate professor of chemistry in 2012.

Among her many accomplishments are a Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award in 2011, an American Chemical Society Outstanding Junior Faculty Award from the division of Computers in Chemistry in 2011, selection as one of the Top 150 Scientists in Kansas in 2011, an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship for 2011-2013, and a National Science Foundation CAREER Award in 2010. She was inducted into the Kansas State University Academy of Fellows in 2013.

Aikens’ research is currently funded by the National Science Foundation and the Sloan and Dreyfus foundations. She has previously received funding from the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. She has organized several national and international symposia. She already has 50 publications in refereed journals to her name.

“Since joining K-State in 2007, Christine has risen to international prominence, especially for her detailed investigations on the properties of gold and silver nanoclusters,” Maatta said. “Her receipt of an NSF CAREER Award, and being designated both as a Sloan Fellow and as a Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar mark her as one of the leading scientists of her generation."

Aikens said she has enjoyed her time at K-State, noting her engagement with students as one of her many highlights.

“The best part about being a professor in the chemistry department at K-State is working with the students,” Aikens said. “We have a lot of enthusiastic, hard-working students here. I especially enjoy exploring new areas of chemistry with the graduate and undergraduate students in my research group."