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Archive for Undergraduate of the Quarter

May 31, 2017

Undergraduate of the Quarter – Spring 2017 – Savinda Aponso

Savinda Aponso has been named one the Spring 2017 Undergraduate of the Quarter and we couldn’t be happier for him. Although he plans to graduate at the end of this year, he has spent most of his life in Corvallis and has been associated with Oregon State before he even decided where he wanted to go to college.

While Savinda was in high school he was part of ASE, the Apprenticeships in Science and Engineering, which during his junior year helped him get his first experience in a lab. He was selected to work in Dr. Subramanian’s lab. Along with the scholarships, he got to the school, his experiences in the lab helped him decide that OSU was his school of choice.

During his freshman year, he started working in Dr. Koley’s lab. His work focuses on sensors that detects bacterial metabolites and the interactions bacteria have with dental composites. He was trying to see how the smart dental composites react to changes in the local pH environment and how they work to prevent secondary cavities.

After he graduates at the end of this term, he is planning to apply to medical school and take a year off from school. During his year off he is hoping to finish his research projects for Dr. Koley and continue to be a researcher at least part-time. Savinda doesn’t know exactly what he wants to study to medical school, but he is interested in hematology.

Savinda’s favorite film is Monty Python and the Holy Grail. He loves to eat sushi since it is his favorite food. His ideal vacation would be traveling through Europe. His favorite class was the Experimental 460 labs that he worked with Dr. Pastorek.

Students like Savinda are a huge part of what makes our Department so great. We wish him well in the future, and cannot wait to see what his next big adventure is.

Undergraduate of the Quarter – Spring 2017 – Matt Clark

Matt Clark has been awarded with the title of Spring 2017 Undergraduate of the Quarter and we couldn’t be happier for him. Although he plans to graduate by the end of this term, his experiences at Oregon State have left a lasting impact on him.

During Matt’s undergraduate career at Oregon State, he has been a part of an integrative lab which has helped him define his career path. After joining Michelle Dolgos’s lab during his sophomore year, he has been immersing himself with research dealing with lead free piezoelectric materials. After winning the URISC grant for his summer research and working with graduate students and Michelle, he is finally at the end of his project and is looking forward to a publication about his work.

However, even though it seems like he was destined to pursue Chemistry, that wasn’t always the case for Matt. When he first came to OSU, he was majoring in Mechanical Engineering because he liked to build and be hands-on with his work. All of that changed once he started to become fascinated with Chemistry and soon he switched his major to Chemistry with a Materials option.

Being a part of an integrated lab has helped Matt to gain a deeper understanding of concepts and he recommends other undergraduates to become a part of an integrated lab because it really increases the proficiency and understanding of the course. Some of Matt’s favorite courses were the graduate courses, CH 513 and CH 616, he was able to take because he enjoyed the applied concepts and also really enjoyed both the instructors, Dr. Subramanian and Dr. Dolgos.

After he graduates, he is planning on pursuing one of the opportunities that have been offered to him in hopes of continuing to apply his knowledge in his field of work. He has been offered opportunities from all over the country such as California & Virginia just to name a few. He is excited to get into the industry and hopes to continue his path in working on leading us to a better world.

When Matt’s not working long hours at the lab, he likes to unwind by watching one of his favorite classic movies, Star Wars: New Hope. He enjoys watching the movie multiple times and fondly remembers the times when he watched it on VHS tapes.

Students like Matt Clark are a major part of what makes our Department so great! We wish him well for all of his future endeavors and cannot wait to hear about all of his accomplishments.

February 28, 2017

Undergraduate of the Quarter – Winter 2017 – Stephanie Marshall

Stephanie Marshall has been named the Winter 2017 Undergraduate of the Quarter and we couldn’t be happier for her. Stephanie was born and raised in Sherwood Oregon, where she went to Sherwood High School; it was here, she discovered her love for teaching chemistry.

Although Stephanie has always been interested in science and teaching, during high school she had yet to determined if it would be the correct path for her. During sophomore year she had OSU alumnus John McGinity as her teacher. She explained that once he noticed her interest in science and teaching he took her under his wing, and guided her towards the tools she would need to make an informed decision about her professional future.

Even though both her mom and her mentor Mr. McGinity both graduated from OSU, Stephanie reported that it still took 4 visits to campus to decide this is the place she wanted to call home. The deciding factor was her visit to the education department.  They showed her a great program for her duel major, and she also discovered that the local schools where she could student teach at were also excellent.

Although she is an Undergraduate she has signed on as a T.A. for the CH12X series. She explained that it will be helpful for her teaching experiences as a high school teacher because, “I learned that high school students really like to push your buttons and college students it’s even more.” Even with the hardships of having many students testing their boundaries, she was still shocked to see how dedicated many of her students could be.

When asked about the future Stephanie revealed she hadn’t completely decided her path yet. With her starting her first year of student teaching next year, Stephanie believes that it would be best to wait until after she gets advice from high school teachers before deciding her career path.

The time that Stephanie spends outside of Chemistry is usually outdoors. “I like to be outside a lot; I love to hike, and with the nice weather I do a lot outdoors.  I play beach volleyball which is a lot of fun, and do yoga when I’m not playing beach volleyball. It’s just a lot of outdoor activities.” She likes to go hiking in the gorge, explaining that she loved Blue Place because it was so awe-inspiring.

Students like Stephanie are a huge part of what makes our Department so great. We wish her well in student teaching and wherever else her path may take her next.

Undergraduate of the Quarter – Winter 2017 – Alena Vasquez

Alena Vasquez has been named the Winter 2017 Undergraduate of the Quarter and we couldn’t be happier for her. Alena was born and raised in California until she was 18.  She moved to Oregon because she said, she just “felt it was where she was meant to live.”

She came to Oregon State University to study Veterinary Medicine.  Upon matriculation, Alena discovered that she didn’t really enjoy biology, a major component for her degree program, but she loved Chemistry.  Her first chemistry class, a hybrid 23x online class, she took while living in Eugene; it allowed her to come to campus only once a week in order to do the lab. It was during this class that she developed a close bond with Margie.

It was Margie’s advice that got Alena into research for the first time.  Alena began working in Rich Carter’s lab and within two weeks, she was loving every moment.  She hopes to go on in the future and do something altruistic with her degree that can benefit and help others.

Students like Alena Vasquez are a huge part of what makes our Department so great. We wish her well in the future and hope she finds her altruistic path going forward.

November 30, 2016

Undergraduate of the Quarter – Fall 2016 – Nathan Coddington

Recently, Department Chair, Rich Carter sat down with Chemistry Undergraduate, Nate Coddington to discuss what brought him to OSU, why Chemistry, and how he feels about being named one of the Fall 2016 Undergraduates of the Quarter.

Nate grew up in Eugene, Oregon, where he attended Willamette High School in the Bethel school district. Nate participated in Willamette’s International Baccalaureate (IB) program.  Nate reported that the difference between AP and IB is breadth vs depth. AP teaches the surface of many topics, while IB intensively teaches a few select topics.  Nate spent his sophomore through senior years in high school participating in their honors and IB chemistry courses.

Nate chose OSU because he did not want to go to an out-of-state school, and because his brother was already here, studying Nuclear Engineering.  He moved to Corvallis to live with his brother while he was transitioning into college life – commenting “it was great having someone who understood his sense of humor while relating to the struggles of college life.”  While Nate admits he started as a BB major to support his goal of ultimately becoming a dentist, upon entering the program it quickly became apparent to him that Chemistry was the better choice for his interests and his career path.  So, he re-declared, with the premed option, and never looked back.

Nate told us that his favorite class was, hands down, Organic Chemistry.  “It was just so full of great professors,” he said.  But the teacher that resonates the most for him was Dr. Vince Remcho.  “Dr. Remcho taught my Honors Gen Chem class,” Nate said.  “He was always so happy when teaching.”

Currently, Nate is doing research in Dr. Sandra Loesgen’s lab.  Her research group focuses on natural products, specifically bio-active compounds like penicillin.  Nate’s research is a spin-off of Dr. Loesgen’s PhD thesis on epigenetic modifications.  He’s hoping his research will result in unlocking new genes to produce previously unseen compounds.  He’s hoping to be able to obtain some usable results very soon so he can start writing his honors thesis on this topic.

Nate still plans to enroll in dental school after graduation.  His mother is a hygienist and he says he loves working with and helping people.  Dentistry, he says, has always just clicked with him.  “It’s so revered in our culture and I’ve always just thought, ‘I want to be this.’”  He would like to do some job shadowing before graduation but says it is been difficult finding a slot due to doctor/patient confidentiality.  He is not giving up yet though.

In his spare time, Nate is the President of the OSU Chapter of the National Society for Collegiate Scholars (NSCS), a community service and professional development based society that is currently working toward being recognized as an Honor Society.

Students like Nate are part of what makes our Department so great.  We could not be more proud of him and wish him nothing but success in his future endeavors!

Undergraduate of the Quarter – Fall 2016 – Jason Sandwisch

Chemistry Major, Jason Sandwisch, the newest Fall 2016 Undergraduate of the Quarter recently sat down with Department Chair, Rich Carter to discuss what brought him to OSU, his favorite parts of the program and his plans for the future.

Jason was born in Vancouver, Washington. He then moved briefly to Colorado with his parents, but ultimately grew up in the small town of Banks, Oregon. He attended Liberty High School where he immersed himself in the sciences with the help of his freshmen biology teacher and swim coach Paul Hanson. Hanson would go on and recruit Jason to the swim team, where he spent the next four years competing.

Jason was very enthusiastic about biology and others sciences.  He decided to pursue a Chemistry Major coming out of high school because of his senior year AP chemistry course.  The class was small which resulted in a good amount of student/teacher interaction.  The class focused mainly on class work and book work, but not a lot of time was spent doing laboratory work.  Due to the lack of lab experience in high school, he decided a university with a good undergraduate research would be important for his educational goals.

While attending an Oregon State Fall Preview, Jason was impressed by how many people spoke to him about undergraduate research.  He was already leaning toward matriculating here as his brother also attended OSU.  “It’s nice to know someone where you’re going.”  During Jason’s first term, Dr. Neal Sleszynski mentored him and suggested that he pursue the URSA Engage undergraduate research grant, which led him to conduct research for Dr. Kenneth Hedberg. Throughout this experience, he studied gas phase electron diffraction on 1,1,3,3-tetramethylcyclobutane. More recently, he studies spiropentane alongside Dr. Joseph Nibler and his undergraduate researcher, Blake Erickson (Winter 2016 UGQ).

During the summer of 2015, Jason also did research in Dr. John Simonsen’s lab in the College of Forestry. He worked with Johnny Hergert (Fall 2015 UGQ), conducting research on new polymer blends using cellulose nanocrystals.  Other research projects with Prof. John Simonsen included Jason working for a local start-up called EcNow Tech. Here, Jason helped develop plant-based plastic material. His favorite part of all his various research has been being able to apply physical chemistry principles and problems solving aspects. “I took physical chemistry last year and before that I was working with all these experimental instruments such as FTIR, but never realized the basis for how they actually worked.”

Jason says he doesn’t have a favorite professor, “I enjoyed all my chemistry classes.” Overall, he really enjoyed taking Organic Chemistry from both Dr. Paul Blakemore and Dr. Chris Beaudry. He also loved the challenge of CH 464, taught by Dr. Chong Fang.  His favorite class was CH 421 – Analytical Chemistry taught by Dr. Sean Burrows.  “He’s just a great person.  He was funny, understanding and really wanted you to learn the material.  He didn’t make it hard, but stressed the important points.  Being taught Analytical chemistry by him was an awesome experience.”

After graduation, Jason wants to pursue a Ph.D. in physical chemistry by studying excited state chemistry. He is interested in the University of Washington due to the broad selection of potential faculty focused in his area of interest.  He is also excited about the wide array of options that are available to him after graduate school. His summer internship with EcNow Tech really opened his eyes to what’s available after school. “At this point, I’m unsure about my specific career path, but four years ago I wasn’t sure about my major I just want to go to graduate school and then find my path.”

Students like Jason are a huge part of what makes our Department so great.  We wish him well with graduation, graduate school and beyond.

May 20, 2016

Undergraduate of the Quarter – Spring 2016 – Dang Nguyen

dang-nguyen            Dang Nguyen has been named one of our Spring 2016 Undergraduates of the Quarter and we couldn’t be happier for him.  Dang was born in Colorado, but his parents moved to Portland when he was three-years-old, so he considers himself an Oregonian.  He attended Clackamas High School where he was first exposed to Chemistry by his OSU Alumni Chemistry Teacher, Mr. Sytsma.

Being one of the best engineering schools in the country and fairly close to home, OSU quickly became the clear choice for him however, during his freshman year, everything changed.  Dang commented on one of the turning points in his life, speaking about Dr. Richard Nafshun, who was his General Chemistry at the time.  “He has a teaching style that made me want to learn more about chemistry.  The more chemistry I took, the more I enjoyed it; so, I switched.”

Dang has been doing undergraduate research with Maduka Ogba in Professor Paul Cheong’s lab for almost two years.  He said they were working on non-classical hydrogen bonding research using computational chemistry, something he found very interesting.  At the end of the academic year, they were working on a manuscript that Dang is hoping will reach publication.

He was unable to list just one favorite instructor, but was pretty adamant that his favorite class was experimental chemistry.  “Experimental chemistry is more of an application and hands-on experience. I like this class because it’s a bridge between the two core concepts that one needs to fully understand a subject; theory and implementation.”

During his spare time, Dang is the president of the Chemistry Club.  He also is an undergraduate TA for the general chemistry 12x and 23x sections and worked in the mole hole tutoring students.  Upon graduation, he will be attending graduate school here at OSU, in the College of Education in the hopes of getting his Masters.  He plans on teaching high school chemistry and math in the future; saying his teaching style is to use a lot of demos and applications.  He feels like high school is the best place to do that.

Congratulations to Dang for being named a Spring 2016 Undergraduate of the Quarter.  We’re proud to add you to this growing list of great students!

May 15, 2016

Undergraduate of the Quarter – Spring 2016 – Shannon Davis

shannon-davis            Shannon Davis has been named one of the Spring 2016 Undergraduates of the Quarter and we could not be happier.  Shannon grew up in a modest suburb of Seattle.  She attended Lynnwood High School which she reported was incredibly ethnically diverse and described her experience there as awesome.  She took AP Chemistry while there and remembers Chemistry being the only AP test she didn’t pass.  “That’s why I chose Chemistry,” she remembers.  “I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it.”

She came to OSU because she wanted to attend a PAC-12 school and with her choices being OSU and UW, she wanted something a little smaller and a little farther from home, so OSU was the obvious choice.  “Plus,” she said, “my dad went here.”  She originally matriculated into Chemistry with a chemical engineering option, but quickly discovered she liked the general chemistry sequence and switched to the advanced chemistry option.  She remembers having Dr. Richard Nafshun for her general chemistry instructor and said it was an amazing experience.

Shannon says her favorite class has been the Experimental Chemistry series with Dr. Christine Pastorek and Emile Firpo.  She also stated that they quickly became her favorite instructors.

Shannon has been doing Undergraduate Research for Dr. Jennifer Field since just after fall term of her junior year.  She said she trained for a whole year before she was able to do actual research.  Now, she’s using liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry to close mass balance in soil extractions.  She says it’s been challenging and slower going than she thought originally.

When asked about extra-curricular activities, Shannon indicated that what she really enjoyed were the Family Science and Engineering Nights and Discovery Days.  The outreach and chemistry volunteer work were a lot of fun.

Upon graduation, Shannon will be attending U Mass Boston to study marine science.  She’s currently unsure of what she wants to do post-PhD, but is leaning toward teaching.  She does know, she’s excited about moving cross-country.

Congratulations, Shannon!  It is talented students like you that make OSU Chemistry such as special place.

March 28, 2016

Undergraduate of the Quarter – Winter 2016 – Marshall Allen

marshallallen.jpgCongratulations to Marshall Allen on being selected as one of the Winter 2016 Undergraduates of the Quarter.

Marshall grew up in Bend, Oregon.  He graduated from Summit High School, home of the Storm; where he was a member of the swim team.  He remembers taking AP Chemistry his sophomore year from Mr. Mohel and “really, really” enjoying the class.

Marshall reported that he debated between OSU and Cal-Tech.  However when OSU offered him the Presidential Scholarship as well as admittance to the Honors College, he decision became pretty clear.  When Marshall arrived at OSU, he was originally a chemical engineering major.  After speaking with Chief Chemistry Advisor, Dr. Christine Pastorek at a START session, he shifted his focus to a dual degree in Chemical Engineering and Chemistry.

Marshall took Organic Chemistry as a freshman which he loved.  He remembers his other classes being mainly filler; leaving a greater amount of time to focus on chemistry. Then, his sophomore year, he took Advanced Organic Chemistry (CH 471) from Dr. Chris Beaudry.  He said this class was great because in it Dr. Beaudry presents more modern reactions and touches on some graduate school topics.  The next year, Marshall also took Spectroscopy (CH 435) from Dr. Sandra Loesgen – a class he says was hands down, his favorite.

When asked about his favorite teacher, Marshall replied that it had to be Dr. Chris Beaudry.  Since attending his class freshman year and well as performing undergraduate research in his lab, Dr. Beaudry has become as much a mentor as a teacher to him.

Marshall is currently completing an internship at Maxim Integrated in Portland.  Maxim Integrated fabricates integrated circuits and Marshall is involved in some process control and cost savings projects for the company.

After his internship and completing his BS degree from OSU in chemistry, but his plan is definitely to continue on to graduate school.  Prior to his internship, his focus was on obtaining a job in academia, but his internship experience has opened him up to new horizons. He plans to speak more with Dr. Beaudry as he plans his next steps.

We’re so proud to have students like Marshall Allen in our department and are looking forward to seeing all he will accomplish.

Undergraduate of the Quarter – Winter 2016 – Blake Erickson

IMG_0453Blake Erickson has been named one of our Undergraduates of the Quarter for Winter term 2016.  He grew up in Fairview, Oregon where he attended Reynolds High School which has one of the largest student bodies in the state of Oregon.

Blake said he didn’t even consider an out-of-state school because it would have been too costly, but was lucky to have such a great research university here in the state of Oregon.  Upon arriving at OSU, Blake cycled through Biology and then Biochemistry/Biophysics before deciding on Chemistry as his major. Blake commented how much he enjoyed the organic chemistry sequence with Drs. Chris Beaudry, Kevin Gable and Dwight Weller, but it was the experimental labs with Drs. Christine Pastorek and Emile Firpo that really sealed his decision to be a Chem major. Blake has shown tremendous breadth in chemical interest.  His favorite course so far was the second term of Physical Chemistry with Dr. Chong Fang where they studied Quantum Chemistry. He liked it so much he took it twice, once as a student and once as an undergraduate teaching assistant. He is currently doing undergraduate research with Dr. Joe Nibler exploring the vibrational/rotational structure of perdeutero-spiropentane. They have just submitted earlier this year their first paper specifically on the ground vib/rot structure of the molecule and are currently working on analysis of some more of the upper states.

Graduate School is definitely in Blake’s future, as he’s already been accepted to UC Berkeley’s Chemistry graduate program.  He’s leaning toward academia upon getting his PhD because he loves research, but also has enjoyed teaching others about chemistry, so it will be a good balance for him.

In his spare time at OSU, Blake was also a member of the OSU Marching Band where he got to perform at a variety of sports events.

Students like Blake are the reason the Chemistry Department is so successful in educating future scientists.  Congratulations, Blake!

 

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