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Graduate Student Highlight: Jenna Kanyak

31 August 2021
Jenna Kanyak

Each week, the Department of Chemistry highlights a graduate student who is doing interesting and exciting work within the department. In this installment of our highlight series, we are featuring Jenna Kanyak, who is a second-year student in the Schaak group.

Jenna’s research focuses on optimizing defects in materials to increase their catalytic activity.

Outside of the lab, she is an active member of Graduate Women in Science (GWIS) and serves as the Science++ co-chair.

This week, we met virtually with Jenna to discuss her life in and outside of the lab! Please enjoy our interview with Jenna Kanyak.

Question: Why did you decide to come to Penn State?

A: When looking at graduate schools, location was a big priority for me. As a Pennsylvania native, I was excited to learn that Penn State has a phenomenal chemistry program right in my backyard. I also love how interdisciplinary and collaborative research is here.

Q: Where did you grow up? (Tell us a fun fact about your hometown if you want)

A: I grew up near Scranton, PA (yes, like The Office).

Q: Do you have any hobbies?

A: I enjoy thrift shopping and cross stitching.

Q: Do you have any pets?

A: I recently adopted a one-year-old cat named Cooper! I was originally fostering him through Centre County PAWS (which is a fantastic program!), but he inevitably turned into a foster fail. Now he's in his forever home. ?

Q: What’s your dream vacation? 

A: I would love to visit Greece! 

Thanks to Jenna for these interesting and thoughtful answers! We hope you enjoyed this interview. Stay tuned for more graduate student highlights in the weeks to come!