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Kyle Lancaster '05 and Alexander Garfield '08 Named to "30 Under 30" Rising Stars Lists

Earlier this week, Kyle M. Lancaster '05, a molecular biology major while at Pomona, was named to the Forbes “30 Under 30: The Rising Stars Transforming Science and Health” list. Alexander Garfield '08, who studied Ancient Greek and started his company while at Pomona, was named to the "30 Under 30: Games & Apps" list.

Lancaster made the list for solving “an old chemical puzzle,” according to the article. “Much life on earth depends on the nitrogen cycle: ability of bacteria to break the strong chemical bonds of nitrogen in the air to create ammonia, which fertilizes the soil. But nobody knew the full chemical structure of the enzyme that does this. Lancaster proved that the mysterious atom at the enzyme's center was, in fact, carbon, in a widely cited Science paper.”

Lancaster, an assistant professor of chemistry and chemical biology at Cornell University, “employs synthesis, biochemistry and a broad range of spectroscopic methods to explore small molecule reactivity as mediated by transition metal,” according to a description of his lab. His research focuses on the mechanisms and bioenergetics of Archaeal nitrification, trapping reactive small molecules using designated outer coordination spheres and spectroscopic explorations of organometallic catalysts.

At Pomona, Lancaster conducted research with Prof. E.J. Crane and wrote his thesis on “Mechanistic Swing.” In 2010, he completed his Ph.D. in chemistry at Caltech and joined Cornell as a postdoctoral fellow and visiting lecturer. He was appointed an assistant professor at Cornell in 2012 and has taught Inorganic Chemistry, Advanced Inorganic Chemistry, Advanced Biochemistry and Advanced Ligand Field Theory.

Garfield is an entrepreneur in the competitive gaming field. He began his company, Evil Geniuses, a leading agency in eSports (competitive video game playing), in his dorm room while at Pomona. According to an earlier profile in Forbes, he had been working with a Canadian team of Quake and Counter-Strike players as editor-in-chief when a dispute threatened to break up the gaming teams. He stepped in to secure sponsors for the players, and eventually had a roster of sponsorships.

Many of his team members left and he almost quit the business, but " Mom stepped in and said these [sponsoring] companies still want to do business with you... I was 21 in 2007 and obviously I decided to keep the business going. From there, it’s been about developing a skill set, figuring out how to show value to companies, getting better at cold calling, bringing in more people and as the deals got bigger and bigger, acquiring the necessary talent to sell into them. In 2007, that’s when I started bringing in American players and teams from all over North America."

Today, Evil Geniuses represents players for Starcraft 2, Quake Life, Dota 2, World of Warcraft, Super Street Fighter 4, and Counterstrike, and has such sponsors as Intel and Monster Energy.