November 1, 2022

Where Faith Meets Science 

AMU Communications

AMU Chemistry Professor Receives Prestigious Grant

Dr. Patrick Hillesheim, assistant professor of chemistry at Ave Maria University, is among a select group of 24 professors who have been awarded a Petroleum Research Fund grant for the 2023–2025 funding cycle.

The Petroleum Research Fund (PRF) grant is endowed and managed by the American Chemical Society—one of the world’s largest scientific organizations—and it is awarded to promising young faculty performing research in the energy and petroleum science fields.

Dr. Hillesheim’s research is in the field of ionic liquids, for which he has over 40 peer-reviewed manuscripts. He has been awarded $55,000 for a period of two years, which will allow him and a group of students to develop new ionic materials to address the societal need for new energy-related technologies. Additionally, the PRF award is sure to pave the way for future grants from the American Chemical Society and other organizations.

When asked about the science program at AMU, Hillesheim said: “In the other schools I’ve worked at, there is a collaboration between faculty and students, but not like what we have here at Ave. We have something special here.”

Highly competitive grants like the PRF provide students with interactive, hands-on experience in the lab and in the scientific world—but these experiences are not foreign to Ave Maria students. The University’s Chemistry and Physics Department has had over 20 student publications in the past three years, and students across the biochemistry, physics, biology, marine biology, and health science majors gain extensive lab and research experience during their time at AMU.

“We are committed not only to the students’ excellence but to their mission as well; we want to help them grow in their faith. By being grounded in philosophy and theology, our students are able to become great scientists,” said Dr. Stephen Thong, chair of the Chemistry and Physics Department and assistant professor of chemistry at AMU. “If you really wish to learn [biochemistry, physics, or any of the sciences], the personal attention and academic opportunities at AMU are really unparalleled.”

Ave Maria University is very proud of Dr. Hillesheim’s accomplishments, and AMU’s students have expressed immense gratitude to have him and the other members of Ave Maria’s faculty as both instructors and mentors.

If you would like to support AMU’s faculty and staff, you can join the Annunciation Circle, a community of members who support Ave Maria University through their prayers and monthly donations of $10 or more. Learn more about Ave Maria’s Annunciation Circle here.



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