Awards Committee

Trustee (2023-2025)

Donna Chen

University of South Carolina
631 Sumter Street, 
Columbia, SC 29208
Tel: 803-429-5785
E-mail: donna_chen @

DONNA CHEN is the Robert L. Sumwalt Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of South Carolina in Columbia with a courtesy appointment in the Chemical Engineering Department. She received her B.S. degree in chemistry with highest honors from the Rochester Institute of Technology, and received her Ph.D. in physical chemistry from Harvard University under the direction of Cynthia Friend.

After two years as a postdoctoral associate at Sandia National Laboratories in Livermore working with Kevin McCarty and Robert Hwang, Donna joined the faculty at the University of South Carolina in 1999. Research in the Chen group has focused on understanding the nucleation, growth and chemical activity of supported metal nanoclusters as models for the development of heterogeneous catalysts. Her work combines detailed understanding of surface properties using ultrahigh vacuum techniques with microreactor and ambient pressure XPS studies. More recently she has been studying gas-phase catalysis at the metal nodes of metal-organic frameworks as model systems for controlling the structure and composition of active sites.

Donna is an AVS and AAAS Fellow, as well as the recipient of the NSF CAREER Award, Army Young Investigator Award, International Precious Metals Institute Carol Tyler Award, South Carolina Governor's Young Researcher Award, Outstanding South Carolina Chemist Award, and ACS Southern Chemist Award. At the University of South Carolina, she has been recognized with the Michael J. Mungo Distinguished Professor of the Year Award, Ada B. Thomas Outstanding Faculty Advisor Award, Carolina Trustees Professorship, Educational Foundation Research Award, and Michael J. Mungo Undergraduate Teaching Award.

Donna is currently the Division Chair of the AVS Surface Science Division Executive Committee; she was also the Program Chair in 2020-21, served on the committee from 2008-2010 and 2018-2022, was a co-organizer of the AVS Focus Topic Symposium on Fundamental Discoveries in Heterogeneous Catalysis (2015-2018), and has served as a judge for the Surface Science Division Mort Traum Award and the Heterogeneous Catalysis graduate student presentations. In addition, she is on the editorial advisory board for the Journal of Vacuum Science and Technology, and she was a guest editor for the 2022 special edition commemorating the career of Patricia Thiel.