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Scholarships & Fellowships

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October 5, 2018

Meet our 2018 Chemistry and Biochemistry Scholarship Recipients!

Photo Collage: CHEM Badge, Alexi Overland, Dylan Bardgett, Rima Pandit
Last June, Alexi Overland, Dylan Bardgett and Rima Pandit were selected as the recipients of the 2018 UO Chemistry and Biochemistry department undergraduate scholarships.

Photo: Alexi OverlandAlexi Overland was awarded the Faith Van Nice Scholarship, which is dedicated to the memory of alumna Faith Van Nice and recognizes exceptional UO undergraduate students majoring in Chemistry or Biochemistry. Alexi is a sophomore majoring in Chemistry and Environmental Science. Growing up in Bend, Oregon, Alexi recalls becoming hooked on science and math at a very young age. Together with a passion for the outdoors, this led to an interest in climate change, sustainability, and protecting environment. While in high school, Alexi came to the UO campus during the summer to participate in enrichment programs, including one that incorporated chemistry. Green chemistry in particular sparked her interest, and influenced her choice of the UO for her undergraduate studies. In her freshman year, Alexi joined the David Tyler lab, researching the mechanisms that influence chemical reaction rates.  Their work seeks to create more efficient reactions in order to increase the effectiveness and sustainability of materials.  Alexi is very grateful to the Van Nice’s for supporting the educational achievements and career aspirations of undergraduate students.  For now, she is keeping her career options open.  After earning her bachelor’s degree, she is considering the polymer track offered through the UO Masters Industrial Internship Program, and perhaps pursuing a PhD after a few years of working in industry.

Photo: Dylan BargettThe Kuntz-Swinehart Memorial Scholarship was given to Dylan Bardgett.  This award, which recognizes academic excellence in our majors, was established by former UO Chemistry students in honor of two professors whose instruction, influence and inspiration had a significant impact on their career paths. Dylan grew up in Eugene, Oregon, but didn’t particularly plan on attending the University of Oregon.  He looked at several institutions, both public and private, including Oregon State. But it was his UO visit as a prospective student – where he first heard about green chemistry – that changed his trajectory from a Beaver to a Duck.  Now a junior at the UO, Dylan is majoring in Chemistry with minors in Physics and Math.  Dylan is interested in developing more cost effective and energy efficient forms of alternative energy.  As an undergrad researcher in the Dave Johnson lab, his research looks at ways to quantify the composition of thin films by measuring the atomic density of thin film layers in semi-conducting materials, and investigating how density relates to efficiency in applications such as solar panels and optics. He is second author on a paper published in Chemistry of Materials. This was the second year that Dylan applied for Kuntz-Swinehart Scholarship, and says he felt surprised, honored and humbled to be selected for the award. After graduation, he plans to pursue his PhD and do post-doctoral research at university or in the private sector. Dylan has also enjoyed teaching as one of the department’s SuperChem Peer Learning Assistants, and the idea of eventually begin able to combine teaching and research in academia is very appealing.

Photo: Rima PanditRima Pandit, a sophomore Human Physiology major from Portland, Oregon, was selected as the recipient of the department’s inaugural P-Chem Undergraduate Fellowship.  The fellowship provides funding for students to conduct research during the summer in a physical chemistry lab at the University of Oregon, under the mentorship of a physical chemistry faculty member. Rima’s summer research in the Cathy Wong lab involved characterizing the photo-physical properties of semiconducting organic molecules using laser techniques, in order to design and develop energy-efficient LEDs and photovoltaics. Rima finds that the study of chemical processes and instrumental technologies dovetail nicely with her pharmaceutical and pre-medicine objectives, because scientific discoveries are so often integral to medical advances that aid people in their recovery and well-being. She culminated her summer research experience by presenting their findings to fellow research physicists and chemists at the Optical, Molecular & Quantum Science (OMQ) Fall 2018 Symposium, where she was recognized with the ‘Best Poster Award’.  Rima is grateful for the recognition afforded her by the fellowship, and the opportunity to acquire new skills and work with a talented group of team members. After graduating, she plans to go to medical school with the goal of providing healthcare for underprivileged women, seniors, and veterans using a holistic well-being approach. Rima hopes to work with Doctors Without Borders, and serve in the US Army.

– By Leah O’Brien

April 16, 2018

Announcing Three Undergraduate Scholarships – Apply by May 7, 2018

Photo: students in chemistry labThe UO Chemistry and Biochemistry Department is happy to announce the availability of three departmental undergraduate scholarships for our majors. The submission deadline for all departmental undergraduate scholarships is Monday, May 7, 2018. Scholarship awards will be announced at the end of May.

Scholarship Descriptions

The Faith Van Nice and Kuntz-Swinehart scholarships recognize outstanding academic and research achievements by undergraduate chemistry and biochemistry majors.  One application is used for both of these awards. Applicants must have a minimum GPA of 3.5 on a scale of 4.0 (or similar grade assessment). Funds will be made available in September 2018 for the 2018-2019 UO academic year. Please bring your application materials to the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department office in room 91 Klamath Hall in a sealed envelope addressed to Scholarships c/o Leah O’Brien, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Oregon. The application for the Faith Van Nice and Kuntz-Swinehart scholarships is available here.

New for 2018! The P-Chem Undergraduate Fellowship provides funding for students to conduct research during the summer in a physical chemistry lab at the University of Oregon, under the mentorship of a physical chemistry faculty member. The fellowship is open to undergraduate students at the University of Oregon and from other undergraduate institutions that meet the following eligibility criteria: minimum 3.0 GPA; U.S. citizen; must be returning to the UO or home institution the term after the fellowship; may not be paid to conduct research through other internal UO research support programs during the same fellowship period. Apply online at https://urop.uoregon.edu/p-chem/

 

If you have questions regarding the application process, please contact Leah O’Brien, by phone (541) 346-4839 or by email at leaho@uoregon.edu.  The Department’s office hours are 8:00 am to 12:00 pm and 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm, Monday to Friday.

April 13, 2018

Three Chemistry Graduate Students Selected for Fellowship Awards

UO Dissertation Research Fellowship:

Forrest Laskowski, Boettcher Lab

2018 NSF Graduate Research Fellowships:

Ruth Maust, Jasti Lab

Trevor Shear, Darren Johnson Lab (more…)

December 19, 2017

Dennis and Janet Beetham Establish Grad Fellowship in Honor of Prof. John Keana

photo: Dennis and Janet Beetham

Dennis and Janet Beetham

To honor his former mentor, Chemistry alum Dennis Beetham and his wife, Janet, have donated $1 million to the University of Oregon to launch the John Keana Graduate Student Fellowship Fund.

Mr. Beetham, one of the first students to do research in the Keana lab, received his Masters in Chemistry from the UO in 1967

Read about this remarkable gift in AroundtheO

December 7, 2017

Haugland Fellowship Awarded to Kira Egelhofer

Photo - Kira EgelhoferKira Egelhofer has been selected as the next recipient of the Rosaria Haugland Graduate Research Fellowship. The Fellowship, established by Dr. Rosaria Haugland in 2004, is awarded every three years by the UO Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry to an outstanding graduate student in Chemistry.  It covers the recipient’s stipend, tuition, and miscellaneous fees for a three-year period. Kira was selected from a pool of applicants by a faculty committee who were impressed by Kira’s science and her work to engage women and minorities in STEM.

Kira grew up in Anchorage, Alaska, with a passion for nature and outdoor learning.  In high school, a tough-but-inspiring female science teacher sparked Kira’s interest in chemistry, and led her to pursue an undergraduate degree in Chemistry at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon, with a thesis project in Environmental Chemistry.

Kira entered the UO chemistry PhD program in 2015, and jump-started her studies in solar energy by taking masters courses the preceding summer that were offered by the UO masters internship program, and taught by Fuding Lin, Benjamin Alemán, Jim Hutchison, and Mark Lonergan.

Now in her third year, Kira is a member of the Lonergan lab.  Her research involves measuring the selectivity and recombination of contacts to solar cells. “We are interested in these parameters because they impact solar cell efficiency,” Kira explains. “More specifically, I seek to understand how and why very thin layers of semiconducting or insulating materials inserted between the bulk material and contact of the solar cell impact selectivity and recombination. This information helps us rationally design solar cells with improved characteristics, such as efficiency.”

In addition to her research, Kira has been a member of the UO Women in Graduate Sciences since her first term at the UO. The goal of WGS is to involve and retain more women in the sciences.  Kira enjoys the opportunity to promote science with K-12 students, young adults, and the wider community through a variety of WGS outreach activities.  She currently serves as the organization’s Fundraising Chair, and is looking forward to their hosting a visit from Astronaut Wendy Lawrence for WGS’s annual fundraiser in March.

As for what the future might hold after completing her doctoral degree, Kira has no firm plans, but a few possibilities appeal to her – such as writing for scientific journals with a focus on communicating science to the general public, or working in solar energy research and development, perhaps even for NASA or SpaceX.

 

– By Leah O’Brien

November 3, 2017

1st Annual Sustainable Invention Immersion Week

The Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact may not have broken ground yet, but its impact got a jump start by sponsoring five, $500 Knight Campus Student Innovation Fellowships for underrepresented students in STEM disciplines who participated in the Sustainable Invention workshop that kicked off the 2017-18 academic year.

One chemistry graduate student and two undergrads were among the five fellowship recipients: Genevieve Dorrell (undergrad, biochemistry), Carl Hartzell (post bac, physics), Ruth Maust (graduate student, chemistry), Makenna Pennel (undergrad, chemistry, honors college) and Pallavi Webb (undergrad, CIS). The fellowship funds could be used to offset academic expenses such as tuition, books, school supplies and travel to scientific meetings.

The week-long workshop, titled Sustainable Invention Immersion Week, took place September 10-15th at 942 Olive Street, the UO’s innovation hub in downtown Eugene. Participating students had the opportunity to learn from experts in design, business, chemistry and communication as they worked in interdisciplinary teams to create their own green product over the course of the event. The teams then pitched their product ideas to win funding to move their idea forward. Awards were given for the top four product ideas.

Photo Julie Haack

Julie Haack

The workshop was organized by professor Julie Haack, the assistant department head of the UO’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and Kate Harmon, the undergraduate program manager and management instructor at the Lundquist Center for Entrepreneurship.  Their goal is for Sustainable Invention Immersion Week to become an annual event, with a changing theme that will be tied to what’s happening at the Knight Campus.

Read more in AroundtheO or visit the event website:  http://www.sustainableinvention.com

October 12, 2017

Meet our 2017 Chemistry and Biochemistry Scholarship Recipients – Madi Scott, Ashlee Vise & Cyrus Waters

The UO Chemistry and Biochemistry department has announced the recipients of our 2017 undergraduate scholarships. Madi Scott was awarded the Faith Van Nice Scholarship, and Ashlee Vise received the Kuntz-Swinehart Memorial Scholarship, and Cyrus Waters was selected for the Student Affiliates of the American Chemical Society (SAACS) Summer Research Award.

Photo: Madi Scott

Madi Scott

The Faith Van Nice Scholarship is dedicated to the memory of alumna Faith Van Nice, and recognizes exceptional UO undergraduate students majoring in Chemistry or Biochemistry. This year’s recipient, Madi Scott, is a Chemistry major beginning her sophomore year in the Clark Honors College.  She grew up in Medford, Oregon, with a strong interest in math, science and medicine. Madi joined the Cathy Wong lab halfway through her freshman year, and is particularly interested in how physical chemistry research applications can be used to make medical devices more effective and affordable, allowing for greater access to people who need them. She was very surprised to be selected for the Faith van nice scholarship, and feels honored to have the opportunity to share in Faith’s legacy. Madi plans to pursue a PhD or MD after completing her B.S. in Chemistry.

Photo: Ashley Vise

Ashlee Vise

The Kuntz-Swinehart Memorial Scholarship is meant to recognize and encourage academic excellence in our majors, and was established by former UO Chemistry students in honor of two professors whose instruction, influence and inspiration had a significant impact on their career paths. Our 2017 recipient, Ashlee Vise is from Scottsdale, Arizona, and a chemistry major entering her senior year. She has been conducting undergraduate research in the Shannon Boettcher lab since the fall of her sophomore year.  Her research involves renewable energy, focusing on the development of catalysts to produce zero-emission hydrogen fuel. Ashlee’s passion for nature inspires her interest in green chemistry and sustainable practices, and she hopes to take that passion and apply it to her career.  She got off to a good start this summer, as an intern for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Denver, Colorado. After completing her baccalaureate degree, Ashlee plans to take a gap year before pursuing an MS or PhD.

Photo: Cyrus Waters

Cyrus Waters

The SAACS Summer Research Awards are sponsored by the UO chapter of the Student Affiliates of the American Chemical Society.  Now in their third year, the annual awards seek to support chemistry and biochemistry majors’ ability to engage in research during the summer term. This year’s recipient, Cyrus Waters, is from Beaverton, Oregon.  When choosing a university, Cyrus says it was a toss-up between UO and OSU, but in the end, the Ducks won out.  A Biochemistry major in his senior year, he is making the most out of undergraduate research opportunities in the Ramesh Jasti lab. Cyrus’ research involves organic synthesis, designing molecules with properties that are applicable for use in solar cells. After completing his undergraduate degree, Cyrus is considering entering the UO Masters Industrial Internship Program, on the Polymer Science track.

 

– by Leah O’Brien

April 6, 2017

2017 Undergrad Dept Scholarships – Apply by April 26th!

We are happy to announce the availability of several 2017 departmental undergraduate scholarships!

There are two separate applications for the awards.  Applications are  posted below and are also available in the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department office, room 91 Klamath Hall.

The Faith Van Nice and Kuntz-Swinehart scholarships recognize outstanding academic and research achievements by undergraduate chemistry and biochemistry majors.  Applicants must have a minimum GPA of 3.5 on a scale of 4.0 (or similar grade assessment). Funds will be made available in September 2017 for the 2017-2018 UO academic year. One application is used for both awards.

The SAACS Summer Research Award supports chemistry and biochemistry majors’ ability to complete summer research in their lab here at the UO, or elsewhere on an REU summer program.  Applicants must have a minimum GPA of 2.5. Funds will be made available for summer 2017.  A separate application is required.

The submission deadline for all departmental undergraduate scholarships is Wednesday, April 26, 2017 at 5 pm.  Please bring your application materials to the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department office in room 91 Klamath Hall in a sealed envelope addressed to Scholarships c/o Leah O’Brien, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Oregon. Scholarship awards will be announced at the end of May.

If you have questions regarding the application process, please contact Leah O’Brien, by phone (541) 346-4839 or by email at leaho@uoregon.edu.  The Department’s office hours are 8:00 am to 12:00 pm and 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm, Monday to Friday.

November 17, 2016

Meet our 2016 Chemistry and Biochemistry Scholarship Recipients – Ainsley Taylor & Brian Drury

Last June, the UO Chemistry and Biochemistry department selected the recipients of our undergraduate scholarships for the 2016-17 academic year.  Ainsley Taylor was awarded the Faith Van Nice Scholarship, and Brian Drury received the Kuntz-Swinehart Memorial Scholarship. (more…)

October 11, 2016

How I Spent My Summer Vacation – Catching Up with SAACS Summer Research Award Recipients Sam Prakel & Carson Adams

In June 2016, the UO chapter of the Student Affiliates of the American Chemical Society (SAACS) presented Summer Research Awards to biochemistry majors Sam Prakel and Carson Adams.  The SAACS awards are designed to support chemistry and biochemistry majors’ ability to conduct summer research in a UO research lab, or elsewhere in an REU summer program. Two research awards have been awarded each year since the program began in 2015, using funds the organization raises through its T-shirt sales. We asked Sam and Carson to share a little about themselves and their science.

 

samprakelSam Prakel came to the UO in 2013 from Versailles, Ohio, attracted by the balance between the small, liberal arts feel of the Clark Honors College and the qualities of a large, research institution – as well as the desire to run for the Oregon track and cross country teams. Now in his senior year, Sam has made the most of his opportunities in the classroom, on the field, and in the laboratory.

The SAACS Summer Research Award motivated Sam to put continuous work into his research projects year-round. Working in both the Mike Pluth and Darren Johnson labs, his research seeks to find new ways to detect biological hydrogen sulfide, an important physiological mediator and signaling agent whose functions play a role in diabetes, hypertension, heart failure, inflammation, and neurodegeneration.

Sam finds inspiration in the complexity and open-ended nature of science. “The intricacies in the scientific field keep pushing me to learn,” he explains, “and the endless possibility of discovery keeps pushing me to think.”  He plans to continue that push through grad school, furthering his studies in chemistry and biochemistry.

 

carsonadamsCarson Adams grew up in Salem, Oregon, close enough to hear about some of the research coming out of the University of Oregon Chemistry department and to know that he wanted to be a part of it.  And he has certainly done just that – joining the Andy Marcus lab at the beginning of his sophomore year. He has continued his research work right up through his current and senior year, studying the ways in which DNA strands interact and how these interactions affect DNA replication.

“We use special molecules called fluorophores which release light when light is shined on them,” Carson explains.  “The released light is of a different color than the light projected onto these molecules, so we can use special machines and apparatuses to measure the emitted light. We can then use this information to conclude things about how the DNA molecules are interacting and how their bases are positioned.”

Carson says his inspiration to be a scientist stems from the inventiveness of the process – seeing the creativity and incredible discoveries of the past, and looking forward to similar discoveries in the future.  He also enjoys the challenge involved in finding a viable and unique way to solve a problem. His SAACS award has helped him to pursue his research goals, and affirmed the importance of his studies. He plans to earn his PhD in biochemistry and conduct biochemical research at a professional level, perhaps eventually teaching what he learns to the next generation of undergraduate students.

by Leah O’Brien

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