Scholarships & Fellowships
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.
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.
Chemistry graduate student Checkers Marshall has been selected as the next recipient of the Rosaria Haugland Graduate Research Fellowship.
The Haugland Fellowship is a prestigious award. It is the first graduate research fellowship ever awarded by the UO Chemistry and Biochemistry Department and made possible by a generous gift from Dr. Rosaria Haugland. Dr. Haugland is the co-founder of Molecular Probes, which was a Eugene company founded in 1975 that is now part of Thermo Fisher’s Invitrogen brand. Checkers was selected from a highly accomplished pool of applicants for excellence in research on metal organic framework nanoparticles, coursework, and ongoing activities that embody the intent of the Haugland award.
We asked Checkers to tell us a little about themselves and their science.
I grew up in Denver, a city with a vibrant artistic community. In my high school years, I performed slam poetry at open mics and fell in love with the art of fire spinning. My interests in chemistry and art share a common theme: symmetry. I am designing a series of interactive workshops, Point Groups for Props, to teach performance artists how to apply group theory to their props: hula hoops, juggling clubs, and more can be easily categorized by their symmetry operations. My main props are Russian fire fans, which have a point group of C2V.
I received my BS in Chemistry from Fort Lewis College, a small liberal arts institution in the San Juan mountains in Colorado. I excelled in my first semester of chemistry under Dr. Aimee Morris, who asked me to TA general chemistry lab the following term. This simple act catalyzed my academic career; I am forever grateful to Dr. Morris and the other incredible professors I had at FLC who encouraged my progress and pushed me to become a better scientist. I enjoyed a relatively diverse community at FLC. Many of my professors were women, and because the college gives free tuition to Indigenous students, many of the folks I talked science with were of Indigenous descent. Today I aim to use my position to elevate the voices of the underrepresented and to create a welcoming environment in the traditionally exclusive world of academic science.
I joined Dr. Carl Brozek’s research lab as his first student during the summer of 2018. My research focuses on nanoparticles of highly porous materials known as metal-organic frameworks (MOFs). Understanding how MOF nanoparticles grow allows us to design rational syntheses that target specific particle sizes and functionalities. One of the most promising applications of MOF particles is in gas separation membranes, which must be very thin to be applicable in industrial settings. Controlling particle size is therefore an important step in this direction. I am particularly interested in MOFs that are capable of charge transport; conductive, porous, well-ordered materials are attractive for energy-dense charge storage devices. I am currently developing a model system to study ionic and electronic charge transport in assemblies of porous MOF particles. I believe this fundamental work will pave the way towards the integration of MOFs in electronic devices.
I am keeping my options open, but I aim to join a small company or start-up in sustainable technology that would benefit from my skill set. Regardless of what I choose to do in my scientific career, I hope to return to the Rocky Mountains, get a cat, and continue my journey in the performing arts.
The application deadline for all scholarships is Wednesday, April 22, 2020. Scholarship awards will be announced near the end of May.
If you have questions regarding the application processes, please contact Leah O’Brien by phone (541) 346-4839 or by email at email@example.com.
Faith Van Nice and Kuntz-Swinehart Scholarships
The Faith Van Nice and Kuntz-Swinehart scholarships recognize outstanding academic and research achievements by undergraduate chemistry and biochemistry majors. Funds will be made available for the 2020-2021 UO academic year. More information about these scholarships can be found on our website. Eligibility: Applicants must have a minimum GPA of 3.5 on a scale of 4.0 (or similar grade assessment). Application process: One application is used for both the Faith Van Nice and Kuntz-Swinehart scholarships. Click here for the application instructions. Please email your application materials to Leah O’Brien, firstname.lastname@example.org
P-Chem Undergraduate Fellowship
The P-Chem Undergraduate Research 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. Eligibility: 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. Application process: Students apply online for the P-Chem Undergraduate Fellowship. Fellowship details and application instructions are available online at https://urop.uoregon.edu/p-chem/
Bailis Undergraduate Fellowship
New this year: The Bailis Undergraduate Research Fellowship provides funding for undergraduate students to conduct research during the summer in a chemistry or biochemistry laboratory at the University of Oregon, under the mentorship of a Chemistry and Biochemistry department faculty member. Faculty are asked to submit nominations for the award. No application is necessary on the part of the student.
Biochemistry major Emma Mullen is one of four undergraduate science majors awarded a 2019 University of Oregon ESPRIT Scholarship (Experiencing Science Practices through Research to Inspire Teaching). The UO ESPRIT Scholarships Program is funded by the National Science Foundation through the NSF’s Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program. Recipients each receive $35,000 in support that includes a two-year scholarship for their senior undergraduate year and the UOTeach Program, a highly focused one-year master’s level teacher licensure program designed to produce highly qualified teachers with advanced instructional and classroom expertise. The ESPRIT Scholarships Program is a collaborative effort between the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Education involving STEM CORE, the Center for STEM Careers through Outreach, Research, and Education, and the Department of Education Studies.
Now in her senior year, Emma says she has always been interested in teaching. In high school, she found herself in the role of informal tutor for a group of classmates, and enjoyed being a part of the “ah-ha!” moment when one of her peers grasped a tricky concept that had eluded them. As a SuperChem Peer Learning Assistant at the UO, Emma continues to build her skills as an educator.
Emma took her first step on the ESPRIT pathway by participating in an ESPRIT-sponsored summer research experience at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, California this past summer. During her eight weeks in the Biosciences & Biotechnology Division, she worked on optimizing the crystallization of nanolipoprotein particles (NLPs).This furthered the development of NLPs as a platform for vaccine delivery and for x-ray crystallographic characterization of membrane proteins.
Once she had completed her summer research experience, Emma became eligible to apply for the ESPRIT Scholarship to the UOTeach Program and was selected for the award. Her acceptance was celebrated during a signing ceremony for the ESPRIT recipients at the College of Education on Thursday, November 21st. Prof. Michael Pluth, in whose lab Emma is currently doing undergraduate research, presented her award.
Emma plans to pursue the Secondary Education track in her master’s studies, in preparation to teach high school chemistry. She appreciates the opportunity teaching provides to share a subject that she is passionate about. Learning how things work at a fundamental, nittty-gritty level has always fascinated her and, she explains, “Chemistry does that. It changes the way you look at things when you begin to think about the world around you on a molecular level. I’m excited to share that.”
After graduating from UOTeach, ESPRIT Scholars go on to teach in a high-need school district for four years. This could take Emma anywhere in Oregon, but she hopes to eventually end up somewhere near her hometown of Portland.
– by Leah O’Brien
Tawney Knecht, a 4th-year chemistry graduate student in the Hutchison Lab, has been selected to receive the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science Graduate Student Research (SCGSR) award. Her proposed research project, “Precisely Nanostructured Indium Oxide Electrocatalysts Toward Efficient CO2 Conversion”, will be conducted at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, Colorado.
The SCGSR program provides funding to outstanding U.S. graduate students to pursue part of their graduate thesis research at a DOE laboratory. Tawney is one of 49 new SCGSR awardees from 39 universities across the nation. This research opportunity is expected to advance the graduate students’ overall doctoral thesis and address scientific challenges central to the Office of Science mission by providing access to the expertise, resources, and capabilities available at DOE facilities.
Makenna Pennel, Rachel Lutz, Jake Olsen and Madi Scott are all in their senior year in the Clark Honors College.
The Faith Van Nice Scholarship is dedicated to the legacy of alumna Faith Van Nice, and recognizes exceptional UO undergraduate students majoring in Chemistry or Biochemistry. Makenna says she feels incredibly grateful and humbled to have been selected for an award that honors such an inspirational alumna.
Chemistry major Makenna Pennel grew up in Triangle Lake, Oregon, and says it was a high school internship at OSU that sparked her interest in nanotechnology and green chemistry. These interests, combined with a Stamps scholarship, brought her to the UO.
About her research: Makenna has been involved in undergraduate research since her freshman year, an opportunity which began when she met Jim Hutchison during a Run with a Researcher event. Makenna’s research in the Hutchison lab revolves around metal oxide nanocrystals—materials that have a wide array of applications, ranging from thin films in electronics to UV-protection in sunscreens. Her research specifically examines nanocrystal synthesis and the mechanisms behind their formation. This past summer she completed an internship at Northwestern University’s International Institute of Nanotechnology outside of Chicago, working with quantum dots— a class of semiconductor nanoparticles—in the field of quantum information science.
What’s next? Future plans include grad school for chemistry or materials science, but her career plans are wide-open. Makenna says academia and industry are both possibilities. She has also enjoyed presenting science to the public as a volunteer at the Eugene Science Center so science communication, and interdisciplinary opportunities that blend science with other fields such as literature, are very appealing.
The Kuntz-Swinehart Memorial Scholarship recognizes 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. Rachel says that she is grateful to be recognized in memory of these two influential professors, and thankful to the donors for their support of the scholarship.
Rachel Lutz, a Biochemistry major, is from Portland, Oregon. She had the opportunity early on to become involved in research at OHSU through the Partnership for Scientific Inquiry (PSI), a mentorship program that pairs high school students with research scientists in the Portland metro area. It was her work under her mentor MD-PhDs, and a family friend’s experience participating in a clinical trial to fight her cancer, that inspired Rachel’s passion for medical-related research. The ability to continue to do research as an undergrad factored highly into her choice to attend the UO.
About her research: At the encouragement of her Organic Chemistry instructor, Rachel applied to the PURS undergraduate research program and joined the Pluth lab in her sophomore year. Her research involves synthesizing hydrogen sulfide (H2S) donors to analyze how their structure relates to their activity. H2S is a gasotransmitter – a gaseous molecule that sends signals to cells – which triggers cellular events. Through her work, Rachel seeks to increase our understanding of these molecular processes, which has implications for improving treatments for diseases like diabetes and Alzheimers.
What’s next? Rachel plans to pursue a career in medicine as a doctor and possibly a researcher. She’s passionate about women’s health and empowering people to make informed and healthy choices to improve their quality of life.
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. This year, the fellowship was awarded to two majors.
Jake Olsen is a double major in Chemistry and Math from Portland, Oregon. Jake says he chose the UO for its wide-range of science offerings and the chance to do research as an undergrad.
About his research: Jake says he finds research work inspiring because it offers opportunities to make a positive impact while doing something that you love. His interest in physical and theoretical chemistry led him to the Guenza lab, which he joined in the spring of his sophomore year. The lab uses computer simulations and analytical theory to investigate the dynamic and structural properties of polymer systems. Jake’s research builds upon the lab’s coarse-graining model by using a procedure known as backmapping – a timesaving method for reconstructing atomistic information from coarse-grained data. The resulting polymer models have applications in fields such as material design, speeding up the experimental process by identifying specific properties and predicting the behavior of polymer systems prior to synthesizing them in the lab. He sees his research work as creating a resource that allows chemists to more efficiently and economically design materials.
What’s next? Jake is applying to graduate school and is looking forward to continuing to work in a research environment.
Chemistry and Physics major Madi Scott grew up in Medford, Oregon, with a strong interest in math, science and medicine. The Honors College and the opportunity to combine a liberal arts education with research drew her to the UO.
About her research: Madi entered the UO thinking that she wanted to be a cardiologist, but her fall term General Chemistry course introduced her to what she describes as the ‘beauty of the mathematics’ involved in electron transfer, inspiring her to dig deeper by joining the Wong lab the following term. The lab uses laser spectroscopy to look at how light interacts with matter – specifically how molecules come together to form larger structures, and how they conduct electricity. Madi’s work involves building microscopes using lenses, irises, shutters and cameras to take molecular-level images of the semiconductor materials that they create in the lab. Measurements are then taken with a laser and used to analyze the molecular structures in the images. Madi’s goal is to make her measurement techniques more robust so that they can learn more about the behaviors of the molecular structures. Her research has applications for solar cells, LEDs and other materials.
What’s next? Madi plans to go to graduate school for physical chemistry, and then pursue a research career in academia, industry or a national lab.
By Leah O’Brien
We are happy to announce the availability of several departmental undergraduate scholarships. Please encourage our undergraduate majors to apply! There are two separate applications for the awards. The application deadline for all scholarships is Friday, April 26, 2019.
The Faith Van Nice and Kuntz-Swinehart scholarships recognize outstanding academic and research achievements by undergraduate chemistry and biochemistry majors. One application (attached) is used for both 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 for the 2019-2020 UO academic year. More information about these scholarships can be found on our website.
Application process: Click here for application instructions for the Faith Van Nice and Kuntz-Swinehart scholarships are attached to this email, or pick up a copy in the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department office, room 91 Klamath Hall. Please bring your application materials to the department office by 5pm on 4/26/19 in a sealed envelope addressed to Scholarships c/o Leah O’Brien, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Oregon.
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. 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.
Application process: Students apply online for the P-Chem Undergraduate Fellowship. Fellowship details and application instructions are available online at https://urop.uoregon.edu/p-chem/
The submission deadline for all departmental undergraduate scholarship applications is Friday, April 26, 2019. Scholarship awards will be announced near 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.