2017-Stavros Kariofillis

Stavros Kariofillis

First Major:  B.S. Biochemistry

Minor:          Government and Law


300 Word Statement

When I was going through the college application process, Lafayette was one of the last schools that I visited. Having grown up in Easton, I thought I knew everything about Lafayette. I grew up kicking my soccer ball on Fisher Field, ambling aimlessly around the campus while the leaves fell, and joining my family for long dinners at Campus Pizza. I thought I knew Lafayette like the back of my hand, which, when I visited as a prospective student, I quickly found out was far from true. While the facilities, resources, and faculty blew me away, it was the passion exuded by the students I met that solidified my decision to attend Lafayette. The most powerful aspect of our community is the passion alive in every corner of the campus.

Seeing the passion that exuded from the students and professors at Lafayette has pushed me learn more about myself and to fully explore my interests. Whether I am teaching in the General Biology labs, spending time with residents in floor programs, talking out problems in the research lab, or simply grabbing dinner with friends, the passionate network of people at Lafayette has defined my own “ideal” identity that will remain with me for the rest of my life.

The beauty of the Lafayette community is that it has pushed me out of my comfort zone, now having landed me in California for conferences, Madagascar for a mentorship program, and the University of Michigan for a summer research fellowship. My experiences at Lafayette have also permitted me to become a Barry Goldwater Scholar and a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow. None of these opportunities would have been possible without a Lafayette foundation and the dynamic people I have met, and I aim to hold onto the Lafayette ideal throughout my life.


Academic Activities/Awards – Total Years Involved

  • National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow

The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program recognizes outstanding students in the STEM fields who are pursuing graduate degrees in the United States. As the oldest fellowship of its kind, the NSF GRFP launches life-long leaders that contribute to scientific teaching and innovation.

  • Barry Goldwater Scholar

The Barry Goldwater Scholarship, the most prestigious undergraduate award in the sciences, is awarded to students at the college level hoping to pursue research in the fields of science, mathematics, or engineering.

  • Senior Honors Thesis (1)

Working under Professor Swails, my senior honors thesis focuses on the synthesis of water-soluble catalysts. The application of these catalysts in various reactions allows for more environmentally benign methods in chemistry to be accessed.

  • EXCEL Reserach Scholar (2)

My two years as an EXCEL Research Scholar served as a strong foundation for my current thesis. I worked under Professor Swails synthesizing organometallic water soluble catalysts and examining their reactivity in aqueous solvent systems.

  • American Chemical Society Prize

Given to the outstanding senior chemistry major for achievement in chemistry.

  • Merck Index Award

Given to a senior for superior academic work in chemistry and promise of future excellence.

  • American Chemical Society Division of Inorganic Chemistry Undergraduate Award in Inorganic Chemistry

Presented to a student who has demonstrated excellence in research, coursework, and motivation in the study of inorganic chemistry.

  • William Forris Hart ’27 Chemistry Prize

Presented to a junior or senior chemistry major for proficiency in organic chemistry and potential for further achievement in chemistry.

  • Marquis Scholarship (4)

Lafayette College recognizes its most outstanding applicants with a 4-year merit-based scholarship. Recipients of a Marquis award display the Marquis’ ideals of global citizenship, scholarly pursuits, leadership, and concern for others.

  • Eugene P. Chase Phi Beta Kappa Prize

Awarded to sophomore students who have demonstrated scholarship as a first-year student.


Campus Service/Activities and Awards – Total Years Involved

  • Head Resident (1)

I currently serve as the Head Resident for South College and Marquis Hall. In this position, I oversee 11 RAs and remain a resource for over 250 students in this area. I maintain communication with Residence Life by synthesizing weekly reports, leading weekly staff meetings, evaluating RA job performance, and assisting with training sessions.

  • Resident Advisor (2)

Over two years, I served as a resident advisor for first year students in South College. After my second year in Residence Life, I was named Staff Member of the Year. As an RA, I acted as a liaison between residents and the Office of Residence Life, in addition to helping first year students adapt to the rigors of college life. I also designed and executed programs with academic/intellectual, community building, life skills, and arts/cultural components for residents.

  • Teaching Assistant (3)

As a Teaching Assistant, I aid in instructing General Biology laboratories. I attend weekly preparatory sessions, hold review sessions, and grade introductory students during lab. I also evaluate student performance throughout the course and serve as a resource for students for lecture or laboratory material.

  • Lafayette Initiative for Malagasy Education (2)

I served as a mentor for students at the Lycee Andohalo in Madagascar through the Lafayette Initiative for Malagasy Education (LIME) program. I prepared lectures in SAT English, SAT Math, essay writing, and TOEFL subjects for students and traveled to Madagascar to mentor and work with students preparing college applications for the United States. I also maintained contact with students and conducted application and essay revisions.

  • American Chemical Society (3)

I have been an active member of the Lafayette College Branch of the American Chemical Society, most recently serving as Vice President (2016-2017) and Secretary (2015-2016). I promote and communicate the events sponsored by the Lafayette College ACS to its members and the greater Lafayette campus. I also help to bring in guest speakers and have organized events to generate interest in the sciences.

  • Admissions Ambassador (3)

I began as an Admissions Ambassador by working in the Office of Admissions for a winter term during my first year at Lafayette. I then served as a tour guide and tour captain to promote Lafayette College to families and prospective students.

  • Contemporary Music Ensemble (2)

For two years, I played various wind instruments in the Lafayette College Contemporary Music Ensemble.

  • Lafayette College 150th Rivalry Week Committee (1)

As a part of the 150th Rivalry Week Committee, I helped to organize activities to generate excitement for the 150th football game between Lafayette and Lehigh.  The committee also traveled to New YorkCity to promote the game by appearing on the Today Show and Good Morning America.


Community Service – Total Years Involved

  • Third Street Alliance (1)

I volunteered weekly at the Third Street Alliance in Downtown Easton through the Sharing the Caring Adult Day Services Program. Myself and other Lafayette students organized and led enjoyable and educational activities to promote physical and mental well-being.

  • Easton Area High School College Preparation Program (1)

Through this college preparation program, I went to Easton Area High School weekly to talk to prospective college-bound students about college life, the application process, finding and selecting schools, and improving writing skills.

  • Safe Harbor (1)

As a Safe Harbor volunteer, I helped to prepare dinners for Easton residents at the shelter and then joined them for dinner.

  • Easton Hospital Volunteer (2)

In the office of Dr. Ab Boonswang at Easton Hospital, I interacted with patients and helped with completing tasks around the office.


Athletics Activity/Award – Total Years Involved

  • Running

One thing that I miss about Lafayette will be going on runs through the Arts Trail, Forks Township Community Park, and along the Delaware River with good friends.


Special Interest – Total Years Involved

  • Research Experience for Undergraduates (1)

In the summer of 2016, I was awarded a National Science Foundation REU under Professor Melanie Sanford at the University of Michigan.

  • Synthesis, Reactivity, and Catalytic Applications of Isolable (NHC)Cu(CHF2) Complexes (Publication)

Through this publication in Organometallics with James Bour and Professor Melanie Sanford at the University of Michigan, we describe the synthesis and reactivity of novel difluoromethyl copper complexes.

  • Synthesis and Catalytic Activity of a Cationic Pd(II) N-heterocyclic Carbene Complex (Publication)

Through this publication in Polyhedron with Professor Swails at Lafayette College, the synthesis and catalytic applications of a novel cationic water soluble catalyst are described.

  • Three Faces of Russia & Latvia (1)

In my junior year, I traveled to Russia and Latvia for a winter interim trip to learn about the history, literature, art, economics, politics, and contemporary issues of both countries.

  • Nature Nurture Center (1)

Through an externship at the Nature Nurture Center, I helped to put on events regarding sustainability and contributed to discussions on an Urban Garden Project in Easton.

2017 Winner

Finalists 2017

Contact Us

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200 Scott Hall
(610) 330-5080