Members of the Rivard Group

Graduate Students

Samuel "Samwise" Baird

I was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1996 but grew up in Chipman, New Brunswick. I completed my undergraduate degree at Mount Allison University in the duck themed town of Sackville, NB in 2018. I moved out to the frozen city of Edmonton due to my interest in fundamental research in inorganic chemistry. In my spare time you can find me convincing people garlic fingers are an East Coast delicacy and that they are not the same thing as garlic bread, sleeping or trying to convince myself that I don't need to drink on school nights.

Brandon Frenette

Hey, I'm Brandon and I'm from Bathurst, New Brunswick. I completed my BSc in chemistry at the University of New Brunswick in 2019, then migrated west to join the Rivard group. I'm interested in fundamental main group chemistry and the strange compounds within that field. Outside of chemistry, I love movies (both old and new), music (mostly metal, but I dabble in other genres), reading, and fountain pens. Contrary to how it may appear, I don't eat many cucumbers. The group told me I'm not allowed to change this photo.

William Medroa

Hello! I am William. I grew up in the "grey" Lima, Peru, where I also obtained my Bachelor's and Master's degree in Chemistry at the Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru in 2014 and 2017. While working in my Master's thesis I developed a liking in polymer Chemistry and inorganic materials, this fixation drew me into Dr. Rivard's investigation and, happily, I was accepted into the UoA university and his lab. I am now researching the use of Germanium to develop novel Ge-polymeric compounds with different applications. On my free time, you can surely find me playing board games, listening to music, and going out with friends to chat.

Abhishek Muralidharan

Hi, I am Abhishek. Originally from Kerala, India. I completed M.Tech from CUSAT and M.Sc from MG University. My master's thesis program as a visiting student at the University of British Columbia attracted me to stay in Canada for graduate studies. Lucky me, to be a part of Rivard group and happy to work on some interesting inorganic materials. Other than chemistry, I would like to play games, travel around and trying to cook some veggie dishes.

Mamak Bakhtiari

Hi, I am Mamak. I was born and raised in Tehran which is the capital city of Iran. For my undergrad degree, I studied polymer engineering at the University of Tehran and I graduated with the first rank in my class. Then I decided to move to another country to continue my studies so I travelled about 10,000 km to Edmonton and I am so excited to begin my journey in Canada. Luckily, I got the opportunity to join the Rivard group and explore inorganic/polymer chemistry. In my free time, I love to play sports (especially running), go to the theater, and watch movies.

Qiannan (Nancy) Wu

Hi, I am Qiannan (Nancy). I'm from Shandong, China. I completed my Bachelor's degree in Liaocheng University. Now, I'm very happy to join the Rivard group to do some researches about FLP. Outside of chemistry, I like to go to the gym, watch movies, listen to music, travel around and cook some Chinese food.

Saro Birgani

Hey, I'm Saro! I am originally from Iran. I moved from Ontario, where I finished both my bachelor's and master's degrees, to be part of the U of A community. In the Rivard group, I'm working on making big ligands. Because you know the bigger the better-size matters even in the world of molecules! I noticed a few years ago that I'm obsessed with sciences and music, so here I am caught in a cosmic tug-of-war between my mind and feelings. When it comes to music, I usually listen to Jazz, flamenco, classical, and heavy metal when I'm mad. But please share with me if you know a good track, I'm running out. I love chemistry and Physics. I lean a bit more towards the dark side, but chose chemistry as my major because of money. In my free time, if I have any, I rather play the guitar and do some exercise. I am a little too distracted by the chaos going on in the world.

Visiting Students

Jannes Rueckel

Hi, I'm Jannes and I grew up in Inning, a small village about 30 km south of Munich, Germany. I am studying chemistry at the University of Regensburg and have recently worked on the functionalization of phosphorus as part of my master's thesis project. As the final part of my master studies, I'm happy to join the Rivard group as a visiting student for a couple of months to continue working on the synthesis of phosphorus-containing compounds. Besides chemistry, I like hiking in the mountains, bouldering, playing drums, and spending time with my friends and family.