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Chemist with heart and soul

TUC graduate Janine Jeschke was honored with the Eleonore-Dießner-Prize and the Chemiefonds Fellowship for her outstanding academic achievements

Each year over 10,000 young people decide to study chemistry at a German university. Almost all Bachelor graduates join a Master degree program and, in turn, almost 90 percent of Master graduates start their PhD in chemistry. Currently, there are 85 young scientists at the Institute of Chemistry at Technische Universität Chemnitz, and Janine Jeschke is one of them. She completed both, her Bachelor and Master degree at TU Chemnitz finishing with above-average grades. So, there was no doubt to start a subsequent PhD study. Because of her outstanding academic achievements, Jeschke was honored with the Eleonore-Dießner-Prize 2014, which is awarded to the most talented and motivated female scientists in the areas of STEM. “I think it is great that the focus of this prize is to specifically promote women. For me personally, this prize is a reward for hard work and a good motivation to successfully complete my studies“, says the pleased prize-winner. She convinced with her Master thesis entitled “Metal Carboxylates: Synthesis, Characterization and Application“. But this should not be the only recognition for outstanding research. At the beginning of her PhD studies at the end of 2013, the young chemist was proposed by Prof. Dr. Heinrich Lang for the Chemiefonds Fellowship of the German Chemical Industry Fund. Little later a positive feedback was received: For two years she will be financially supported during her PhD studies and will additionally receive refunds for travel costs and invitations to participate at exclusive events or conferences. In this context, she recently visited the science symposium “Smart Energy – smart energy for a sustainable future“ in Ludwigshafen, which took place on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the chemical company BASF. “The scholarship is a great facilitation for me – not only in financial terms. I am very glad to be selected as a fellow and, thus, have the opportunity to participate in considerable events and meetings. You get to know a lot of interesting and often renowned personalities from the chemical community. I find the exchanges with experts very valuable“, says Jeschke.

Since August 2013, she is working as a PhD student at the Professorship of Inorganic Chemistry under the direction of Prof. Lang and deals with the development of more efficient catalysts for the ruthenium-catalyzed addition of carboxylic acids to alkynes, as well as with the preparation and characterization of precursors for the deposition of thin and conformal ruthenium layers by applying the CVD process. Already during the preparation of her Bachelor and Master thesis, she focused on catalytic processes, at which Prof. Lang has already acted as her supervisor. ”Generally speaking, I have always been interested in chemical processes and natural sciences“, explains the 25-year-old.

Janine Jeschke grew up in Merseburg, near the chemical site Leuna. “Every day I have therefore come into contact with chemistry, as the giant Leuna factories were virtually right outside my front door. This has influenced me and increased my interest for a deeper insight into chemistry“, she says. After High School graduation, Jeschke made a six-week internship at the Linde AG, on the one hand to bridge the time until the start of her studies, and, at the same time, to support the decision that a study of chemistry is right for her.

Jeschke doesn’t doubt the decision of choosing her academic career. However, the PhD student does not know yet in which way she strikes after graduation of her PhD studies. Currently she supervises practical laboratory courses for Bachelor degree students in their fifths semester in addition to her daily research. Each student accompanies one of the PhD students for the period of two weeks and, thus, receives a comprehensive practical insight into the research work of the professorship. Jeschke has herself finished such a mandatory practical course during her undergraduate studies and feels that the experience gained is very valuable even today: “During my practical course, I could learn a lot from my supervisor because we worked in a very fruitful and application-oriented way. I hope that I can pass this experience positively to my current intern.“

The scientific poster of the winning thesis by Janine Jeschke is freely available under the following link:

(Author: Katharina Preuß, Translation: Nataliia Boiko)

Katharina Thehos

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