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University of Windsor

Top graduate admits to a passion for chemistry

Although she enjoys all the sciences, Hiyam Hamaed chose to specialize in chemistry because it has so many applications to everyday life.

"I love chemistry because it goes beyond numbers—you can do it by hand, you can touch it, you can feel it," says the doctoral graduate, who volunteered for years performing a chemistry magic show for local schoolchildren. "I love to show everybody that chemistry is fun."

Hiyam Hamaed will receive the Governor General's Gold Medal during Convocation ceremonies Saturday at the St. Denis Centre.


Dr. Hamaed will receive the Governor General's Gold Medal as the top graduate student in her cohort at Saturday's Convocation ceremonies. She received her B.Sc. with distinction in chemistry from the University of Windsor in 2005. She began graduate studies at the Master’s level in September 2005 and transferred to the Ph.D. program in 2006, completing her doctorate in June with a grade point average of 12.4 over her graduate career.

Her graduate supervisor, Robert Schurko, describes her as passionate about the science.

"She loves the work. That sort of attitude carries through in what she does," he says.

He points to her idea to use nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy to distinguish between polymorphic forms of pharmaceuticals.

"She pushed us to think outside of the box," Dr. Schurko says. "Four people are now working on a project she started."
Her work earned her credit on six articles, including as first author of three published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. Hamaed held Ontario Graduate Scholarships from May 2007 to April 2010 and received funding to present her research at academic conferences, winning a series of awards for her presentations.

She expresses appreciation for the help she received from the chemistry faculty, particularly her grad advisor.

"All the professors in my program have been extremely helpful in explaining concepts to me," Hamaed says. "I especially appreciate Dr. Schurko's willingness to help his students. He works extremely hard to support and help us and he is always available when needed."

In December she will be taking up a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland where she will work with groups at Cambridge University and Germany's Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research on lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles.