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Hazel Fargher selected for Keana Fellowship and DOE Research Award

Photo - Hazel Fargher

Hazel Fargher

UO Chemistry and Biochemistry graduate student Hazel Fargher has been named the department’s 2020-21 John Keana Fellow, and has also recently been selected for the Department of Energy’s Office of Science Graduate Student Research (SCGSR) Program. Hazel is in her fifth year of the UO Chemistry Doctoral program, working on a joint project between the D.W. Johnson, Haley, and Pluth Labs.

The Keana Fellowship was established in 2017 in honor of Professor Emeritus John Keana, and provides annual fellowship awards to graduate students studying in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Oregon. The award may be used to assist with defraying the academic costs associated with attending the university such as tuition, fees, books, miscellaneous supplies, research and living expenses.

The SCGSR Program is open to graduate students pursuing doctoral degrees in areas of physics, chemistry, material sciences, biology (non-medical), mathematics, engineering, computer or computational sciences, or specific areas of environmental sciences that are aligned with the mission of the Office of Science. The award provides supplemental funds for recipients to conduct part of their thesis research at a host DOE laboratory in collaboration with a DOE laboratory scientist. The research projects are expected to advance the graduate awardees’ overall doctoral research and training while providing access to the expertise, resources, and capabilities available at the DOE laboratories. Hazel is one of 52 students nation-wide that were selected for the award this fall.

We caught up with Hazel and asked her to tell us a little about herself and her science.

I grew up on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, not too far from the beach. I went to Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in MA for my undergraduate degree in chemistry. I then started my first year of graduate school at UO in 2016.

I first got really excited about research when I learned about the principles of ‘green chemistry’. This is a really vague term but can refer to any chemical research that helps address environmental problems. During my time at WPI, I worked in Prof. Marion Emmert’s lab, studying ways to separate mixtures of rare earth elements so that they can be recycled. Now, I hope that some of the really fundamental work that I’m doing in physical organic chemistry can one day be useful in applications such as chemical sensing and pollutant extraction.

About her research

I am a host-guest chemist, so I design and synthesize organic hosts to bind guest molecules. More specifically, I develop hosts to bind hydrosulfide, which is both a highly toxic, foul-smelling molecule usually found in wastewater, and also a biomolecule that is essential for life.

I’m very excited to share that this award will help fund an internship at Oak Ridge National Lab through the DOE Office of Science Graduate Student Research program. I will be bringing hosts designed in the DWJ and Haley labs to the Moyer chemical separations group. We hope to use these hosts to study ion pair extraction of radioactive cesium salts from water. This area of research can be used to remove cesium nuclear waste from waterways and tank storage.

Future plans

After getting my PhD, I would love to continue to do hands-on research in a lab. I am keeping an eye out for post-doc positions and opportunities at national labs.

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