Carnegie Mellon University

Edwin N. Lassettre Graduate Travel Award

An endowed fund for supporting conference travel for Chemistry graduate students has been created in honor of Edwin N. Lassettre, a former Carnegie Mellon University faculty member who was internationally known for pioneering work in electron-impact spectroscopy. Please see Professor Lassettre’s 1990 obituary in Physics Today for more about his exemplary career in physical chemistry.


Due to the donor's preferences, graduate students in chemical physics or physical chemistry in the Department of Chemistry will be eligible for the award. As part of applying for the award, students also need to show that they have a poster or presentation accepted at a key conference in their field.


This award will provide $800 per student as a supplemental source of support, and applicants are expected to seek funds from their advisor and/or professional associations.


Applications should normally be submitted at least one month before the conference that he/she wishes to attend. Applications must be submitted by email to Lorna Williams at Advisors should submit their letter of support separately by email to by the deadline.

  • The first round of applications for 2020 is due Feb. 1 at 5:00 p.m.
  • The second round of applications for 2020 is due May 1 at 5:00 p.m.

Selection Criteria

Among the criteria in selecting awardees are:

  • Likely impact of the presentation on the student’s career (e.g. significance of the work to be presented, significance of the conference),
  • Additional impact of attending the meeting (e.g. significant job search opportunities),
  • Relevance of the work to be presented to chemical physics or physical chemistry, and
  • Evidence that the student will be able to obtain the balance of funds needed to travel to the meeting.

Application Materials

  • Application form [.docx] to provide information about the student and conference
  • Brief letter of intent describing why presenting at this conference is important to your career. Be specific about the nature of the conference in relation to your career goals and indicate how the poster or paper to be presented helps with those goals. Please describe how you will take advantage of specific opportunities presented at the conference.  Describe any other sources of support that you have requested and the status of those requests (including a request to a professional association or your advisor).
  • Copy of abstract submitted.
  • Copy of documentation that establishes that the presentation or poster has been accepted at the conference.
  • Current curriculum vita.  Please be sure to include full information for any previous poster or paper presentations (authors, titles, dates, etc.) as well as full information about any publications (authors, titles, dates, etc.).
  • Recommendation letter from the research advisor (or one joint letter from co-advisors) which addresses all of the following:
    • the quality and prestige of the conference,
    • the quality and importance of the applicant's work to be presented,
    • the significance of attending the conference to the student's career, and
    • whether he/she agrees to cover the balance of the conference costs if the student receives this departmental award.

Review of applications

Applications will be reviewed by the Graduate Program Committee. Committee members whose students are applying for the award will not review applications and may be replaced by another faculty member to seek expertise across the research areas represented by the applicants.