Zachariah A. Page
Zak graduated from Brighton High School in Rochester, NY and went on to receive a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry with Honors from Juniata College in 2010. His initial research interests began in biology with a focus on genetics, though eventually Zak was drawn to organic synthesis, polymer chemistry, and nanoparticles.
Following his freshman year at Juniata College, Zak began working with Dr. David Reingold's research group to synthesize hydroxykekulene and zig-zag polyacenol, which have potential applications in light emitting diodes (LEDs), non-linear optics, photovoltaic cells and field effect transistors. During the summer of 2008, he began working with Professor Todd Emrick in the Polymer Science and Engineering Department at UMass to synthesize and characterize surface functionalized semiconducting silicon nanoparticles for use in LEDs and solar cells. Polymers for photovoltaic applications became his main research interest and he continued the synthesis of thiophene-based monomers and polymers at Juniata College resulting in collaboration between Dr. Reingold and Dr. Emrick. Zak also participated in a self-designed research-based study program with Professor Wilhelm Huck at the University of Cambridge, UK, in the fall of 2009. There he synthesized conjugated polymers containing a small percentage of electrolytic ligands, taking advantage of ionic interactions to enhance control over exciton generation/separation for photovoltaic applications. Upon his return to Juniata for his final semester, Zak worked towards synthesizing novel small molecules and polymers for use in the active layer of modern day organic solar cell devices. Currently, Zak is working on the synthesis of novel semiconducting molecules for use in the active layer of organic solar cell devices and other electronic applications.
While at Juniata, Zak received a Goldwater Scholarship for academic excellence. Other awards that he received at Juniata include the Dr. Andrew B. and Maria F. Brumbaugh Science Prize, POLYED Undergraduate Award for Achievement in Organic Chemistry, Donald M. Rockwell Endowed Chemistry Scholarship, the American Chemical Society Award in Organic Chemistry, and the CRC Press Chemistry Achievement Award. In 2010, Zak was one of 22 undergraduates in the nation who was awarded the Office of Science Graduate Fellowship (SCGF) from the Department of Energy (DOE). The SCGF program is a three year fellowship program which offers support to outstanding students pursuing graduate training in basic research areas relevant to the Office of Science
As for his choice for PSE, Zak commented, "The Polymer Science and Engineering program at UMass is a great fit for me; there is an abundance of knowledgeable faculty and resources available to the students, as well as a broad range of top-notch research." After leaving PSE, Zak hopes to obtain a position as a post-doctoral research associate, then engaging in a career in either academia or industry.