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
Three UO Chemistry and Biochemistry undergraduates will be participating in the 2017 McNair Scholar Symposium. Everyone is invited to attend the symposium and to hear our students present their research.
1:00PM – David M. Lee, Leafcutter Ants Inside the Nest Have Sharper Mandibles than Ants Outside the Nest
2:30PM – Lindan Comrada, Markers of Cardiovascular Health in Chronic Marijuana Smokers
3:00PM – Trenton M. Peters-Clark, Increasing the Efficiency of a Biotin-Streptavidin Pull Down for An Investigation of Pt(II)-Protein Interactions
Read their Abstracts here.
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About the McNair Scholar Symposium
The University of Oregon celebrates the research achievements of its McNair Scholars during the annual McNair Symposium. These achievements are made possible by faculty mentors who guide Scholars through scholarship activities and help prepare them for the challenges and culture of graduate school.
McNair Scholars participate in paid summer research internships in their fields of study. During the internships, students are involved in original research culminating in a presentation of their findings. Held winter term, the McNair Symposium provides a public forum for students to share their work with peers, mentors, faculty and staff, family members, and the general public.
Sarah Hashiguchi first became interested the connection between product design and chemistry when she took CH 114 Green Product Design, a course designed and taught by UO Chemistry and Biochemistry Sr. Instructor Julie Haack. That interest led Sarah, a Clark Honors College student, to pursue a Product Design major with a minor in Chemistry, and for Dr. Haack to help arrange for Sarah to meet with one of the head chemists at Nike to learn more about working in the field.
Sarah got an opportunity to put her knowledge into practice when, after Assistant Professor of Product Design Beth Esponnette won a 2016 Faculty Research Award for her proposal to explore chemical-reactive 3-D printing, she hired Sarah to assist her with her research.
Read more in the Oregon Quarterly piece, Fashion Statement – Collaborative Reseach
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…)
Chemical Society Reviews – 21 November 2016, Issue 22
Authors: Matthew Hartle, Michael Pluth
Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering – November 7, 2016, Volume 4, Issue 11
Author: James Hutchison
Angewandte Chemie International Edition – 24 October 2016, Volume 55, Issue 44
Hydrogen Sulfide Donors Activated by Reactive Oxygen Species
Authors: Dr. Yu Zhao, Prof. Michael D. Pluth
Chemistry of Materials – September 8, 2016
Authors: Michaela Burke Stevens, Lisa J. Enman, Adam S. Batchellor, Monty R. Cosby, Ashlee E. Vise, Christina D. M. Trang, and Shannon W. Boettcher
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