Arielle Hackel began GSU as a chemistry major working in the biochemistry laboratory of Dr. Dabney Dixon. Under Dr. Dixon’s mentorship, Arielle became a Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) scholar in her first spring semester, performed research as a Molecular Basis of Disease fellow in the following summer, and soon afterwards became a Thomas L. Netzel scholar–all opened to Arielle research opportunities in STEM. From her first year momentum, Arielle continued on the path to graduate with a degree in chemistry and a summer research program before beginning her PhD program in chemistry at the University of California, Irvine.
Arielle’s career at GSU is characterized by research and community outreach. After working in Dr. Dixon’s lab for two years studying heme uptake in the organism that causes diphtheria, Arielle changed to studying cell signaling pathways using hybrid computational chemistry in Dr. Donald Hamelberg’s lab. In between these two labs, Arielle spent a summer working in computational chemistry at the University of Mississippi in Dr. Randy Wadkins’ laboratory as part of an NSF-funded Research Experience for Undergraduates. That summer of 2014, Arielle ran molecular dynamics simulations to describe the behavior of siRNA-binding cationic copolymers.
Even though she graduated GSU this past spring, Arielle continues to do summer research. This summer, she is participating in the Science Undergraduate Laboratoy Internship (SULI) for 10 weeks, a program funded and organized by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
“I am currently working with the catalysis group in the Fundamental Science Directorate at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) located in Richland, Washington. The group is led by Dr. Tom Autrey, and we are probing the mechanistic properties of frustrated Lewis pairs (FLPs).”
“Collaboration is essential at PNNL, and so I will be working with both experimentalists and theorists. My mentor, Bojana Ginovska, is a computer expert performing computational work. She will teach me how to use software like NWChem and Gaussian to calculate the thermodynamic properties of different FLPs. And with the assistance of Dr. Shawn Kathmann, a theoretical physicist, I will also learn to model electric fields and electron densities of the systems.”
When she is not doing research, Arielle spends her time in science education outreach. “I want to inspire younger generations to lead a more scientific life by invoking curiosity and encouraging children to discover the world around them by exposing students to science beyond the classroom. With this goal in mind, I founded Science Discovery Outreach (SDO), a volunteer branch of the Professional Science Club at Georgia State University. SDO is a student organization dedicated to exposing K-12 students to the world of science, technology, engineering and math through interactive demonstrations.”