April 24, 2023

Cale Locicero

Cale Locicero, Ogden Honors and Chemistry Senior 

Cale Locicero, an Ogden Honors College senior studying chemistry at LSU, was named a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program, or NSF GRFP, award recipient for 2023.

The five-year fellowship program provides three years of financial support for the graduate education of students who have demonstrated potential for significant achievements in the STEM disciplines, and offers them access to professional development opportunities.

“The fellowship will grant me the time and means to explore research areas I love and foster a positive societal impact,” Locicero said. “I am very grateful to the National Science Foundation for their endorsement."

Locicero, a native of Metairie, La., wanted to become a medical doctor at a young age and was drawn to chemistry due to its medicinal applications. His general chemistry course during his first year at LSU, taught by Assistant Professor Matthew Chambers, further drove his interest in science and his decision to major in chemistry.

“Chemistry enables innovation in the therapeutic domain while giving insights into the physical world,” Locicero said. “I am interested in developing new chemical technologies to answer questions that impact human health."

During his second year at LSU, Locicero joined the research group of Professor Rendy Kartika. The group develops new methodologies for creating molecular architectures utilized in pharmaceutical and therapeutic applications. Locicero’s research has focused on developing a refined, stereoselective method for creating α-Quaternary α'-Hydroxyketones. 

“My undergraduate research experience has forged my desire to obtain a Ph.D.,” Locicero said. “The intellectual stimulation, the collaboration, and the benefit that research has on society has motivated me to pursue the advanced degree.” 

Next fall, Locicero will pursue a Ph.D. in chemistry at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he intends to explore chemistry’s applications in the development of new chemical therapeutic interventions to combat human diseases.

For his initiative, creativity, research, and academic excellence, Locicero was named a 2022 Goldwater Scholar, a 2022-2023 Astronaut Scholar, and was selected for the American Chemical Society Scholars program. Locicero is also a research ambassador, president of the Student Affiliates of the American Chemical Society, and a Louis Stokes Louisiana Alliance for Minority Participation, or LS-LAMP, Scholar.

Following graduate studies and a postdoctoral appointment, Locicero intends to become a professor to continue conducting research, mentoring students, and contributing to the advancement of medicine.  

To learn more about the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program, visit their program site.