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Beranger Biannic, post-doctoral research associate at UT’s Center for Renewable Carbon, earned first place in the post-doctoral scholar category of the Southeastern Conference Symposium’s inaugural Excellence in Poster Presentation.

His presentation on “Cobalt-Catalyzed Oxidation of p-Substituted Phenols: Developments toward an Efficient Conversion of Lignin to High Value Chemicals” was selected from more than eighty other entries that focused on the symposium’s topic: “Impact on the Southeast by the World’s Renewable Energy Future.”

Students attending any of the SEC’s fourteen universities were eligible to enter, and the poster awards were broken into education-based categories: undergraduate students, graduate students, and post-doctoral scholars.

“The research of the award recipients was truly exemplary and our judges had a difficult task choosing the winners, which is a testament to the quality of work of the students in the Southeastern Conference,” said Torie Johnson, executive director of SECU, the SEC’s academic initiative.

SEC commissioner Mike Slive presented the certificates of achievement at the symposium.

“The symposium offers our students the opportunity to come together as part of a conference and to share information,” Slive said. “When we first started thinking about the symposium, one of the most important things was to give our students a chance to learn about the educational components of other institutions and to give them a chance to broaden the scope of their own education.”

Sougata Bardhan of the University of Missouri placed second in the post-doctoral scholar category.

The undergraduate student winners were Travis Williams of the University of Georgia (first place) and Sherrard Davidson of Louisiana State University (second place). There was a tie for first place in the graduate student category between Christopher Bobryk of the University of Missouri and Robert Mueller of the University of Florida.

For complete information on SECU, the academic initiative of the SEC, follow @TheSECU on Twitter.

C O N T A C T :

Christine Copelan (

Amy Blakely (865-974-5034,