Rosalyn V. Kent is a member of the National Organization of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE) and a graduate research student.

Kent recently announced a landmark step in her Ph.D. which is in progress at the University of Michigan.

“I’m so excited to share my recent publication accepted into Dalton Transactions!,” she wrote on Facebook. “This paper took two years to reach publication because we faced so many challenges. But we persevered. I’m so grateful for all of the co-authors that made this body of work successful! To all of my friends in the writing phase: don’t give up, your win is coming!”

Dalton Transactions is described as an international journal for high quality, original research in inorganic and organometallic chemistry on its website. Below is an image and description of Kent’s abstract published on April 22 in Dalton Transactions:


Porous frameworks consisting of functionalized imidazolate ligands and zinc nodes are employed as hosts for the oxidant tetranitromethane to produce energetic composite materials. This new class of energetic materials are achieved through the facile strategy of oxidant adsorption wherein fuel and oxidant are intimately mixed yielding a material that responds violently to thermal and impact stimuli.

Graphical abstract: Adsorption of tetranitromethane in zeolitic imidazolate frameworks yields energetic materials

Here are a few excerpts from an interview Kent gave US Black Engineer recently.

When I was in elementary school my parents encouraged me to participate in annual science fairs held at school. I loved to design experiments to find answers to my science fair questions. Moving ahead to college, I decided to major in chemistry. Organic chemistry lab II was required for my major and during this course, we synthesized aspirin from salicylic acid. It was the first time I used organic chemistry to synthesize a very common medicine. I thought to myself, ‘Oh my gosh! I can make medicine if I want to!’

I was so inspired by the professor that I later applied for a position in her lab. She allowed me to work on a project synthesizing analogs as breast cancer therapeutics.

My research advisor at Xavier University was Dr. Florastina Payton-Stewart. She was a great lab instructor and had a very energetic teaching style. Dr. Payton-Stewart gave me the opportunity to work in her lab to develop my research skills. I shared my interest in graduate education and she took me under her wing. She helped guide me through the process and I am thankful for all of her time, care and mentorship.

Currently, I am in the chemistry Ph.D. program and I have two major research projects in progress. I have a host of responsibilities, which include managing an in-house bunker of energetic materials as well as training outside users on thermal analysis instruments like differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and thermogravimetric analysis (TGA).

Outside of the lab, I serve as a diversity recruiter for the chemistry graduate program and as president of a graduate student organization known as Students of Color of Rackham.

The University of Michigan College of Engineering hosts a series of summer camps known as Summer Engineering Academy. One of those camps is called Galaxy. This particular summer camp targets young girls entering 10th grade from the Detroit area. The purpose of the camp is to expose young girls to life as a Michigan student for one week. Do not be afraid of trying something that is new and challenging. It is a rewarding feeling when you succeed especially when you accomplish something outside your comfort zone.

My dad always shared his memories of being a young (United States) Navy officer, landing at international ports and drinking all the Cerveza (Spanish for beer). I figured if my dad was brave enough to explore the world, then I could too. Traveling to France to conduct research marked the first time that I ever left the country. Needless to say, I was terrified when I landed in this new world but excited for the experiences. I quickly embraced the French culture and I absolutely loved my project and labmates.

Kent earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry at the Xavier University of Louisiana, then a master’s in chemistry from the University of Michigan before embarking on her doctorate also in the field of chemistry.

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