Chemistry PhD Graduate Wins 2019 Toulouse Dissertation Award | College of Science

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July 24, 2019

Chemistry PhD Graduate Wins 2019 Toulouse Dissertation Award

We're celebrating the accomplishments of Dr. Riffat Parveen, a recent Chemistry PhD graduate who has been selected to receive a 2019 Toulouse Dissertation Award in the Physical Science field. This annual award recognizes individuals who have completed dissertations that represent outstanding original work and make a significant contribution to a specific discipline. By receiving this distinction, her dissertation is acknowledged as nationally competitive and among the top 10% within the field of Chemistry.

Dr. Parveen, an international student from Pakistan who came to the University of North Texas to complete her PhD, successfully defended her dissertation in March this year. "I feel very honored to receive this award. I still remember how the Chemistry faculty helped me getting used to new class room environment," she said. "As far as research is concerned, I was blessed to have Dr. Thomas R. Cundari as my Ph.D. advisor. He is the most enthusiastic researcher and has always motivated me to do my best." Dr. Parveen also said that in her time at UNT, she has learned to modify the course of the research based on results and embrace new methods along the way.

Her Ph.D. research focused on the analysis of Methane C-H bond activation, studying the conversion of methane into compounds that have more industrial usage, which is a major goal in the field. She also modeled ethylene polymerization reactions in search for better catalyst. Polymerization reactions are one of the most important in chemistry with huge potential for industrial utilization.

Dr. Cundari is proud of the work Dr. Parveen accomplished while at the University of North Texas. "Dr. Parveen's research, part of a collaboration with ExxonMobil in Baytown, Texas, is yielding important new insight on industrial catalysts used for the production of plastics."

When asked if she has any advice for new students interested in pursuing science, Dr. Paveen offers thoughtful insight: "Science helps satisfy our natural curiosity about the world. Each one of us has different ideas, maybe some are good, maybe some not so good. Sometimes even if you believe passionately that something will work, you may still find others ignoring you or telling you that you are wrong. The most important thing is to believe in yourself and always give your very best before you consider giving up. You will be surprised where science will take you."

Interested in exploring scientific ideas of your own? Research with award-winning faculty at the University of North Texas. Learn about the graduate programs available in the College of Science at