Scholarships & Fellowships
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
Kira 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
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.
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.
The five Innovation Fellowship recipients were 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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 email@example.com. The Department’s office hours are 8:00 am to 12:00 pm and 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm, Monday to Friday.
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…)
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.
Sam 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.
Carson 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
Ann Greenaway, a chemistry Ph.D. student at the University of Oregon, is one of 90 doctoral students in the U. S. and Canada selected to receive a $15,000 Scholar Award from the P.E.O. Sisterhood. She was sponsored by Chapter W of Arkansas.
In addition, Ann was chosen by the American Association of University Women (AAUW) for the prestigious 2016–17 AAUW American Fellowship.
Ann is a 2012 graduate of the Hendrix College in Conway, AR, where she was the recipient of Goldwater and Truman scholarships, among many other honors. She is currently completing her fourth year in the University of Oregon Chemistry PhD program, working in Prof. Shannon Boettcher’s research laboratory on the development of low-cost alternative growth methods for the world’s most efficient solar cell materials. After graduation, Ann plans to pursue a career in fundamental solar energy and solar fuels research, while working to advance the presence of women in science.
About the P.E.O. Scholar Awards
Supporting Women…Changing the World
The P.E.O. Scholar Awards (PSA) were established in 1991 to provide substantial merit-based awards for women of the United States and Canada who are pursuing a doctoral-level degree at an accredited college or university. Scholar Awards recipients are a select group of women chosen for their high level of academic achievement and their potential for having a positive impact on society.
The P.E.O. Sisterhood, founded January 21, 1869, at Iowa Wesleyan College, Mount Pleasant, Iowa, is a philanthropic educational organization dedicated to supporting higher education for women. There are approximately 6,000 local chapters in the United States and Canada with nearly a quarter of a million active members.
About the AAUW American Fellowship
One of the world’s oldest fellowship programs for women
American Fellowships, AAUW’s oldest and largest funding program, date back to 1888, making them one of the oldest and most prestigious fellowships in the world exclusively for women. AAUW American Fellowships support women scholars who are completing doctoral dissertations, conducting postdoctoral research, or finishing research for publication.
“I am incredibly excited to receive this fellowship,” Ann says. “The American Fellowship will allow me to focus full-time on completing my dissertation this year, as well as on continuing my mentoring and outreach activities within the University of Oregon’s scientific community.”
“We have a long and proud history of supporting exceptional women scholars through our American Fellowship program. This year’s group includes women who are leaders in their institutions and their fields working on issues related to sexual violence, race, and other topics of importance to women and girls. They aren’t just brilliant, they are agents of change,” said Gloria Blackwell, AAUW vice president of fellowships, grants, and global programs.
For the 2016–17 academic year, AAUW awarded a total of $3.7 million to more than 230 scholars, research projects, and programs promoting education and equity for women and girls through six fellowships and grants programs. AAUW is one of the world’s leading supporters of graduate women’s education, having awarded more than $100 million in fellowships, grants, and awards to 12,000 women from more than 140 countries since 1888.
Read AAUW’s announcement about this year’s awards. To find out more about this year’s exceptional class of awardees, visit AAUW’s online directory. To reach an award recipient, call 202.728.7602 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
The American Association of University Women (AAUW) empowers women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research. Our nonpartisan, nonprofit organization has more than 170,000 members and supporters across the United States, as well as 1,000 local branches and more than 800 college and university partners. Since AAUW’s founding in 1881, our members have examined and taken positions on the fundamental issues of the day — educational, social, economic, and political. Learn more and join us at www.aauw.org.
6 Current UO Chemistry and Biochemistry Students & 3 Alumni chosen for 2016 NSF Awards and Honorable Mentions
When the National Science Foundation announced the 2016 awardees and honorable mentions for their Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP), the University of Oregon Chemistry and Biochemistry Department had plenty of reasons to celebrate. Five University of Oregon chemistry graduate students were among the fellowship award recipients – Micah Donor, Aurora Ginzburg, Mari Saif, Meredith Sharps and Andrea Steiger – and one more grad student, Lisa Eytel, received an honorable mention. In addition, two UO Chemistry and Biochemistry alumni also received awards, and a third alum received an honorable mention. (more…)