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Grad Student Spotlight

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September 18, 2020

Checkers Marshall Awarded Haugland Graduate Research Fellowship

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.

Photo - Checkers Marshall

Checkers Marshall

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.

Current Research

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.

What’s next?

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.

July 2, 2020

Dissertation Defense ~ Ngoc-Minh Phan ~July 8, 2020 ~ 3:00 pm

April 28, 2020

Eight UO students receive prestigious NSF graduate fellowship – Six from Chemistry Program

April 23, 2020

Curtis Colwell and Jasti Lab Research covered in ChemistryWorld Magazine

April 8, 2020

4 PhD Students and 3 Undergrads win NSF GRFP in Chemistry

Four PhD students and three undergraduates in the UO department of Chemistry and Biochemistry have been selected by the National Science Foundation for the Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP):

The [GRFP] program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees at accredited United States institutions. Fellows benefit from a three-year annual stipend of $34,000 along with a $12,000 cost of education allowance for tuition and fees (paid to the institution), opportunities for international research and professional development, and the freedom to conduct their own research at any accredited U.S. institution of graduate education they choose. As the oldest graduate fellowship of its kind, the GRFP has a long history of selecting recipients who achieve high levels of success in their future academic and professional careers.

Our 2020 recipients:


Alison Chang
Marc Foster
Khoa Le
James May


Madi Scott
Makenna Pennel
Casey Bisted – 2019 grad, now in PhD program at UW

Our Honorable Mentions:


Julia Fehr
Grace Kuhl
Gabrielle Warren



Dylan Bardgett

This is our department’s highest number of GRFP fellowship recipients and honorable mentions to date. Special thanks to faculty members Shannon Boetcher, Mike Pluth, Amanda Cook, Julia Widom, and Chris Hendon for the great job they’ve done teaching the CH 401/601 Fellowship Application Skills workshop.

October 10, 2019

Hutchison Lab Grad Helps Students Reimagine the Car Seat

Lundquist faculty members and MBA students partnered with the Knight Campus and others to reimagine the car seat.

The result: WAYB’s Pico car seat.

photo: Aurora GinzburgAmong the partners was Aurora Ginzburg, a graduate student in the Hutchison lab, who served as the liaison between WAYB and the students as they sought to integrate greener, more sustainable materials into their new design.

Read more in the article below from the Fall 2019 edition of UO Business magazine.

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October 4, 2019

Eric Beyerle named John Keana Fellow for 2019-20

Photo: Eric Beyerle

Eric Beyerle

Eric Beyerle, a graduate student in Guenza Lab, has been selected as the next John Keana Graduate Student Fellow.

The 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 first John Keana Graduate Student Fellowship was awarded in 2018-19 to Matthew Cerda in the Pluth Lab.

October 3, 2019

Tawney Knecht Receives DOE Graduate Student Research Award

photo - Tawney Knecht
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.

June 13, 2019

Aurora Ginzburg Receives Sustainability Award

Chemistry graduate student Aurora Ginzburg has been selected for a 2019 Student Leadership in Sustainability Award. The awards program recognizes individuals whose contributions deepen the University of Oregon’s culture of sustainability across a range of institutional activities.

Aurora is a doctoral student in the Hutchison lab.


November 16, 2018

ARCS Sponsors Celebrate their Scholars’ Successes

photo: Jean Josephson, Aletha Anderson, Susan Cooper, Joan Foley, Elizabeth Bell, Caron Ogg, Julie Branford

ARCS Sponsors at Susan Cooper’s defense. From left: Jean Josephson, Aletha Anderson, Susan, Joan Foley, Elizabeth Bell, Caron Ogg, Julie Branford

On November 14th, members of the Oregon Chapter of the Achievement Rewards for College Students (ARCS) Foundation visited the UO campus to show their support and celebrate as ARCS Scholar Susan Cooper defended her thesis.  They also enjoyed a lunch with current ARCS Scholars Amber Rolland and Hannah Bates.

The Oregon Chapter is one of fifteen ARCS Foundation Chapters nationwide.  Its membership is made up of Oregon women philanthropists committed to advancing science in America. The chapter seeks to support and nurture young American women and men in doctoral programs as they prepare to take on current and future scientific and medical challenges.The Oregon Chapter has supported over 248 PhD candidates with financial support of over $4.1 million since the chapter was incorporated in 2004.

photo: Aletha Anderson, Julie Branford, Jean Josephson, Joan Foley, Amber Rolland, Caron Ogg, Elizabeth Bell

ARcS Sponsors with current ARCS Scholar Amber Rolland. From left: Aletha Anderson, Julie Branford, Jean Josephson, Joan Foley, Amber, Caron Ogg, Elizabeth Bell

Current ARCS Scholars in the UO Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry are:

Susan Cooper, Hutchison Lab
Amber Rolland, Prell Lab
Michael Crawford, Wong Lab
Rebecca Keller, Kellman Lab
Hannah Bates, currently rotating in the Haley Lab

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