The John M. & Marilyn Zeigler Student Achievement Award honors the past contributions to student needs of Dr. John Zeigler, the first SMS Associate Dean of Graduate Studies, and the continuing contributions of Mrs. Marilyn Zeigler.
The Zeigler award formally recognizes students who excel in scholarship, leadership, research initiative, outstanding publications, and exceptional thesis or dissertation work.
This year’s award recipient is Da Chen.
Chen's achievements while a student at VIMS have been exceptional. His research on flame retardants in protected birds of prey from the US and China have yielded results with clear environmental health and international policy ramifications. To complete this work, Chen flew to China alone, secured samples from the Beijing Raptor Rehabilitation Center and then traveled 1200 miles to the State Key Laboratory of Organic Geochemistry in Guangzhou. There, he forged new collaborations and adapted existing methods and instrumentation to the tasks at hand.
Chen's scholarly output has been phenomenal. He has published 10 scientific papers and has 4 more in preparation. In 2008 Chen was awarded the George R. Healy Fellowship from William & Mary for his excellence as a student and scholar. Due to his scientific contributions and international perspectives, Chen has been widely recognized as an emerging leader on global environmental issues. For example, he has been invited to chair a session at the Society of Environmental Toxicology & Chemistry Asia-Pacific Meeting in China this summer and to discuss future collaborations with resident scientists. Chen has also just accepted a post-doctoral position with Dr. Robert Letcher at Carleton University in Canada.
Despite his accomplishments and his intense scientific curiosity, Chen is personable, humble, and always willing to assist others. He is an excellent team player and a role model for both American and international students.
Da Chen is truly an exemplary VIMS student and highly deserving of the Zeigler award.