Chemistry & Biochemistry 2021


2021 LAS Awards

Gavin Hoffman
Outstanding Chemistry BS Undergraduate Student
Gavin Hoffman graduated from Falcon High School in 2016 and came to UCCS to pursue a degree in chemistry. At UCCS, Gavin has worked as a research assistant under Dr. Allen Schoffstall focused on heterocyclic organic chemistry. Here, he has published research and presented at national and regional conferences. Gavin is a classically trained pianist and founded the UCCS Piano Club, which has been involved in music-oriented events and community service for several years. He has also been involved in volunteer work with the Pikes Peak Hospice Foundation and Children’s Hospital Colorado. Gavin is one belt below black in Taekwondo and won a national gold medal under the guidance of former U.S. Olympic head coach Grand Master Sang Lee. After graduation, Gavin plans to complete a master’s degree in chemistry, spend the following summer traveling, and attend medical school in the fall.
Yulia Shtanko
Outstanding Biochemistry BS Undergraduate Student
Yulia came to UCCS from PPCC after obtaining an Associates of Science. Coming from a military background, Yulia has lived in Japan, Germany, and Turkey, but is originally from Kyrgyzstan. These experiences formed an interest in pursuing a career that allows for working with different cultures and the possibility of working internationally. UCCS allowed her to explore teaching and research, as well as grow academically. Yulia participated in research working with Dr. Klocko analyzing genomic organization in Neurospora crassa. Specifically, her research focuses on how translocations, a mutation, influence genomic organization and its relationship to human cancers. She is also completing a B.A. in psychology at UCCS. This allowed her to explore teaching working as a teacher’s assistant in a Sex Crimes Against Children psychology course. In addition to academics, she enjoys art and music – an interest she pursues working as a piano teacher at a studio. Yulia has developed skills at UCCS that will follow her to medical school that she plans to attend this upcoming fall.
Henry Thomas
Outstanding Biochemistry BA Undergraduate Student
Henry was born and raised in Rochester, Minnesota, spending much of his time outdoors exploring the woods of Quarry Hill Park. A passion for knowledge surrounding life’s unanswered questions led Henry to seek a degree in the sciences; however, his initial intentions were to study biology or biomedical sciences. Reflecting on his experience with chemistry in his sophomore year of high school—an endeavor characterized by confusion and poor performance—Henry decided he wasn’t one to accept defeat, and an intrinsic curiosity surrounding the intersection of biology and chemistry emerged. Enthralled by the outdoors lifestyle Colorado provides, his love for nature brought him to Colorado Springs to study biochemistry and mathematics at UCCS. A passion for helping others in times of need led Henry to the American Red Cross Disaster Action Team, eventually taking a leadership position as a supervisor. To foster his budding passion for medicine, Henry earned his EMT certification during his junior year and began providing care with two companies. He intends to return to Minnesota to work with the Mayo Clinic as an EMT while completing his application to medical school.
Sophia Zanoni (Anthropology and Chemistry Double Major)
Outstanding Student Award in the Natural Sciences
The Departments of Anthropology and Chemistry & Biochemistry would like to highlight the accomplishments of Ms. Sophia Zanoni in support of her consideration for this year’s LAS Outstanding Natural Science Graduate. While her academic accomplishments are stellar, including completing a double-major in Chemistry and Anthropology in 5 years whilst earning an overall GPA of 3.874, what makes Ms. Zanoni stand out among her peers is her research accomplishments in both the areas of Anthropology and Chemistry. In summary, we believe that Ms. Zanoni embodies the ideals of interdisciplinary scholarship practiced within the UCCS College of Letters, Arts & Sciences, and is an ideal candidate for this award.