I get to work with some of the most amazing students. 

This past weekend, the University of Richmond held its first annual Black Excellence Gala. From the pictures I’ve seen, and the reports from those who attended, it was a wonderful night of celebration. 50 years ago, the first black students lived on our campus. I think many people would say that the campus has changed significantly since then. I’m sure others, myself included, would say that we still have a way to go, but we are working to be inclusive and to help all students (and other campus members) be successful during their time here.

Kiana Gunn joined my lab after her first year. She has worked on a number of projects and has never hesitated to try a different technique or experiment. She kept our cancer cells going for numerous semesters and she has become a competent synthetic chemist. Her encouragement of everyone around her, her positive attitude, and her curious mind makes her such a valuable member of our lab.

I was not surprised to hear that she won the Murray Inspiration Award presented at the Gala last weekend. This award is given to a member of the community who serves as a glaring beam of inspiration to others and constant source of light. It is like they designed this award for Kiana. I wouldn’t be able to describe her in a better way. Congratulations, Kiana! For all the successes you have had at University of Richmond. Thank you for being apart of my lab and for being a constant source of light to so many!