The Kosenkov Group

Physical Chemistry at Monmouth University

Alumni Testimonials

Michael DeFilippo
Michael DeFilippo'16
Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) Program
School of Medicine, Rowan University


The education and experiences I received from being a member of the Kosenkov Research Group were high quality and top-notch. They were the foundations to my success as a student, and an invaluable aid towards accomplishing my dreams of becoming a physician. Dr. Kosenkov fosters an environment that provides a great learning experience into understanding how research science develops in a graduate-style setup and setting, while always being open to discuss topics that are being researched to help student researchers gain a better understanding of the science being explored. Being a member of the group taught me diligence towards independent study and research, communication and teamwork skills through group research endeavors and presentations at conferences, and valuable research and writing skills in preparing research presentations and journal manuscripts. Having the ability to perform scientific research, work with your team and Dr. Kosenkov to present it, and participate in a conference proved to be both a fun experience and an informative insight into aspects of scientific research. All of these helped solidify my prospects towards attending medical school, and provided me with networking opportunities through the different conferences we attended and guest speakers that visited regarding research in chemistry. I strongly encourage, and recommend, all interested Monmouth students to get involved with the fantastic opportunities there are for undergraduate research with Dr. Kosenkov! I feel confident that the Kosenkov Research Group has given me a great educational and research groundwork as I begin my medical education.

Brittany Reed
Brittany Reed'16
M.S. program in Forensic Science, Criminalistics Concentration
Department of Forensic Science, University of New Haven


My involvement in undergraduate research was one of the most rewarding experiences I could have partaken in during my time at Monmouth University. With my love of Chemistry and my background in Information Technology, I could not have imagined anything better than being part of the Kosenkov Research Group. This group, whose research focuses heavily on Computational Chemistry techniques, has provided me with numerous skills that will take with me through Graduate School and ultimately into my future career. Working with Dr. Kosenkov and my research partners Michael DeFilippo and Danielle Valdez has taught me the value of teamwork in regards to research. I have learned a great deal about communication, having been given the opportunity to present my research at weekly group meetings as well as at the Monmouth University Summer Research Symposium. Also, during my time as a member of this research group, I have gained experience in the process of writing a manuscript, with the hope of eventual publication. Being a member of the Kosenkov Research Group has prepared me for Graduate School, as I will be attending the University of New Haven for a Masters Degree in Forensic Science. I am confident that being a member of this research group has provided me with an idea of what to expect in graduate school and the tools to succeed in my graduate studies. Overall, I have gained so much from being a member of the Kosenkov Research Group, and I encourage all undergraduates to get involved in undergraduate research. I can confidently say that my decision to join the Kosenkov Research Group was one of the best decisions I made during my time as an undergraduate at Monmouth University, as the group has prepared me not only for Graduate School, but for my future life endeavors as well.


Jennifer Zuczek
Jennifer Zuczek '16
Ph.D. program in Chemistry
Department of Chemistry, University of Delaware


Participating in undergraduate research was one of the highlights of my college experience at Monmouth University. My personal experience with undergraduate research has fostered my interest in continuing my education by obtaining my doctorate. Through undergraduate research, I was able to become part of the scientific community with many educational opportunities. These experiences have helped me become a better student and a better scientist. By joining the Kosenkov Research Group, I have been given many opportunities to develop my research skills, strengthen my communication skills, and enhance my presentation skills through several conferences. In March of 2016, I had the opportunity to present my research on Solvatochromic Dyes at the National American Chemical Society conference in San Diego, California. I feel self-assured that The Kosenkov Group has provided me an overall astounding experience which will prepare me to prosper as a scientist in the graduate program at the University of Delaware. Overall, undergraduate research is essential for students to grow and develop their knowledge as well as scientific abilities. Building a resume, further developing research skills, and strengthening the ability to work in a group are just a few of the potential outcomes that can be acquired through this prestigious opportunity.


Rylee McBride
Rylee McBride'15
Ph.D. program in Chemistry/Biochemistry
Department of Chemistry, Temple University


My experience through undergraduate research has helped me to develop as a scientist in many ways. Working with the Kosenkov group allowed me to work on a project that used both experimental and computational techniques. In doing so, it has strengthened both my lab skills and my ability to bridge the gap between two different styles of research. Group meeting presentations, one-on-one meetings, independent research and the general critical thinking required to do research in chemistry has prepared me incredibly well for graduate school. I was also fortunate enough to attend a conference at Saint Josephís University in Philadelphia (Sigma Xi Undergraduate Research Symposium) with a number of other students from our group, in which I was able to not only create a poster of my research but also talk with other scientists regarding their research. I was also sent to the ACS North Jersey Divisionís Undergraduate Research Conference to make an oral presentation of my work; this conference resulted in a 3rd place award and an invaluable understanding of communication in the world of science. All of these skills, awards and experiences I gained from undergraduate research have strengthened my resume and made me a more valuable candidate for graduate school and the scientific community as a whole.

Nicole Famularo
Nicole Famularo'15
Ph.D. program in Chemistry
Department of Chemistry, Pennsylvania State University
NSF Graduate Fellowship

My experience participating in undergraduate research was truly invaluable. Being able to contribute to the scientific community is a remarkable feeling, and participating in undergraduate research has undoubtedly helped me grow as a person, student, and scientist. Working in the Kosenkov Research Group has given me several opportunities to communicate my research and develop my presentation skills via poster presentations at conferences, podium presentations at research meetings, and through writing a manuscript. In addition, my undergraduate research with the Kosenkov Group helped me obtain a summer research fellowship with The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), a government laboratory run under the Department of Commerce. This experience changed my life because it introduced me to a new field of chemistry, materials chemistry, which is going to be the focus of my PhD. studies, and it helped me determine that I would like to ultimately work in a government laboratory. These research experiences greatly helped me ameliorate my laboratory skills and strengthen my resume. Dr. Kosenkov proactively seeks for opportunities for his students to gain as much research experience and exposure to the scientific community as possible. I feel confident that The Kosenkov Group has given me a great idea of what to expect in graduate school, and the tools to succeed in my post-graduate studies as well as my future life endeavors. I cannot stress enough how important undergraduate research is, and I urge students to participate in undergraduate research.

Gary Prato
Gary Prato'14
Ph.D. program in Medicinal Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology
Department of Pharmacy, Purdue University

I have always had a profound interest in the physical sciences and realize that research is the key to true insight into the inner mechanisms of nature. Through my work in the Kosenkov Group at Monmouth University I have gained invaluable experience in research and in computational chemistry. Working with Dr. Kosenkov and my research partner Samantha Silvent has provided me with numerous skills and knowledge that I will carry with me through graduate school and my future career in chemistry. My involvement in this group has allowed me to present my research at various conferences and even gain practice in writing a grant proposal. I recently was able to present my research on telomeric G-quadruplex stabilizing naphthalene diimide based ligand at the international Conference on Current Trends in Computational Chemistry in Jackson Mississippi this past November where I was awarded for my presentation. I value the experience that participating in research with the Kosenkov Group has given me and I know I will use everything Iíve learned to progress through graduate school and my future endeavors in the world of chemistry.

Samantha Silvent
Samantha Silvent'14
Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) program
Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine

Behind my fascination with the skills every doctor exemplifies, lies the research which allows every doctor to cure their patients. This deeper meaning for how exactly a drug is able to cure a disease was the origin of my interest in research. I began my journey into the scientific research community through my participation in the Kosenkov Group at Monmouth University. Through my participation in this group, I have gained research, teamwork, communication, and writing skills. I have had the opportunity to present computational modeling of anti-cancer drug research with my partner, Gary Prato, at three symposia; including St. Joesphís University and Monmouth University. I had the honor of presenting this research at the national American Chemical Society meeting in Indianapolis this past September. Participating in the Kosenkov Research Group has greatly prepared and inspired me for my journey into the medical field.

Kevin Wioland
Kevin Wioland'14
M.Sc. program in Forensic Science
Towson University

Participating in a research program during undergraduate studies is one of the most rewarding experiences a student can partake in. Undergraduate research allows for an increase in knowledge in the subject at hand and a sharpening of life skills for future use. Preceding physical chemistry, I had very little knowledge in the subject of computational chemistry. However, after being exposed to the subject in the physical chemistry lab section I was highly intrigued and sought to further my knowledge in this field. Following that semester I joined Dr. Kosenkovís research group and began working on a project that peaked my interest. The type of research that is performed in the group is very similar to graduate style research where there are weekly meetings with your research advisor and also frequent group meetings to share ideas and converse about the topic/s at hand. This form of research allows for improvement of numerous skills that are important for continued education and a successful future. One of those critical skills is public speaking and there are many opportunities to improve upon this in the group. They include weekly student research presentations, research conferences and several other great ways. Moreover, the knowledge I have acquired from research and computational chemistry class have led to a lab assisting position for the computational chemistry and molecular modeling class where I am able to put my knowledge to use and assist other students. Entering into Dr. Kosenkovís research group has been one of the best decisions of my undergraduate career and I believe it has given me an edge over others, which led to being accepted into a summer internship for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in 2013 and also my acceptance into Towson University for a Masterís Degree in Forensic Chemistry. Overall, I have gained a wealth of knowledge and I believe that being an active member of the group has provided me a stepping stone to a successful future not only in graduate school but in life.

Philip Donahue
Philip Donahue'14
Ph.D. program in Chemistry
Department of Chemistry, The Pennsylvania State University

My research with the Kosenkov group has been immensely valuable to me in various ways. Professional development should be an integral part of any undergraduateís experience. Participating in a professional research environment such as the one in the Kosenkov lab provides undergraduates with ample opportunities that not only look great on a resume, but also make you a very well rounded individual. The Kosenkov groupís modern and relevant research focuses, weekly meetings, frequent conference presentations, and impressive record of success in research makes it an a great starting point for students with interest in performing research in chemistry. Personally, I have developed experience in working on a research project, presenting on results, and interacting with my peers in chemistry. These types of professional interactions are very practical regardless of what field my career path ultimately takes. Through my research in computational chemistry, I have gained experience in a variety of versatile areas. The nature of graduate style research involves a large amount of independence. I effectively taught myself principles of coding and linear algebra in order to reach goals in research, which are skills, in addition to improvements in my public speaking, that will apply to any work I do in the future. The list of benefits I have received through research with Dr. Kosenkov is truly hard to describe due to the pervasive and engaging nature of being involved in research. I would recommend nearly anyone to get involved in undergraduate research, even if it seems intimidating or unrelatable to you at first glance. The value that the experience and credibility you earn through research is hard to gain through many other means at this point in your career. I look at my decision to join the Kosenkov group as one of the best decisions I have made for my personal development as a chemist, student, and future member of the professional workforce.