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Archive for Undergraduate of the Quarter

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!


December 14, 2015

Undergraduate of the Quarter – Fall 2015 – Johnny Hergert

Hergert, JohnJohnny Hergert has been named one of the Fall 2015 Undergraduates of the Quarter and we couldn’t be more proud.  He was born and raised in Portland, Oregon, where he attended Wilson High School, home of the Trojans and graduated in 2012.  Johnny says he’s always known that he wanted to be a chemist. In fact, his grandfather, Herbert Hergert received his PhD in Chemistry from OSU and his sister also attended OSU.

“I like the details and problem solving, particularly on the small scale.  And how applicable to daily life it is,” he replied when asked why he chose chemistry.  He also stated that CH 361 and 362 were his favorite classes because, “the integrated labs are so hands on, and I really liked that.”  His favorite instructor so far has been Dr. Christine Pastorek, the integrated lab instructor.

Since Johnny is on the Materials Science track of the Chemistry program, it was only natural he started doing research in Dr. John Simonsen’s lab.  During the spring of 2014, Johnny started working on cellulose nanocrystals and polymer composites.  More recently, he’s begun 3D printing objects to help with the experiments.   He says his favorite research topic, though, is renewable materials.

Upon graduation, Johnny will attend graduate school at the University of Colorado, Boulder where he plans to obtain a PhD in Materials Science.  He hasn’t decided yet whether that PhD will take him to academia or industry, but we wish him the best of luck either way.

In his spare time, Johnny is a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon, and experience has says has had a huge impact on his life.  He also enjoys hiking, mountain biking and intramural sports.

It is students like Johnny who make us proud to be teaching the next generation of chemists.

Undergraduate of the Quarter – Fall 2015 – Kenneth Stout

Kenneth StoutKenneth Stout has been selected as one of the Chemistry Department’s Fall 2015 Undergraduates of the Quarter.  Kenneth was born in San Diego, California but recently moved to Tualatin, Oregon with his family after his father accepted a job at Intel.  He attended Mount Carmel High School and chose Oregon State University for his higher education.  His decision to attend OSU was partially based on cost, but he was also swayed by the fact that he had family in Washington and Oregon and that OSU accepted his high school AP credits.

Kenneth is currently a junior, dual majoring in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering. He finds both of these complementary subjects to be interesting and enjoys the academic challenges they pose.

His favorite class at OSU has been CH 471 – Advanced Organic Chemistry with Dr. Chris Beaudry.  It was this class that made him get involved with research and he’s been working in Dr. Beaudry’s lab ever since.  He says, “taking this class got me really interested in Organic Chemistry.  It’s motivated me to take more Organic classes.”  Dr. Beaudry stated, “Kenneth is the best classroom student I’ve ever seen, period.  He was in the top few students in O-Chem as a freshman: a class of 125+ sophomores.  He took my advanced organic class (CH471) and was the top student in a class of 10 “superachievers”.  He’s doing independent work in our laboratory investigating a reaction of a carbon-centered radical that we invented.  He’s basically running his own show in the lab like a 2nd or 3rd year graduate student.”

Outside academics, Kenneth says he’s been inundated with opportunities to get involved with campus life.  He says his favorite memories are working for a year as a Resident Assistant and spending time in the campus craft center.  He says he appreciates that everything at OSU is so accessible.

Upon graduation, Kenneth plans on attending Graduate School and studying more Organic Chemistry.  He’s considering post graduate work in either academia or a biotech company, but he says, “it’s early and I’m keeping my options open.”



October 8, 2015

Undergraduate of the Quarter – Spring 2015 – Jamy Lee

Lee, Jamy  Jamy Lee was born and raised in Tigard, Oregon.  She attended Tigard High School, home of the Tigard Tigers, and credits her Chemistry teacher, Mr. Massey with why she chose chemistry for her college major.  “He just kept telling me all the cool things I could do and that I could definitely get a job in the field.”
She chose Oregon State University because of the low tuition rates and the proximity to her hometown.  Her brother also attended OSU, so she said, “at least I knew someone.”  She said when she started, she was really bored with General Chemistry because she’d seen it all in high school, so she went to see her advisor, Dr. Neal Sleszynski.  Not only did he talk her into taking CH 324, Quantitative Analysis, a class she maintains to this day as one of her favorite college experiences, but he also introduced her to undergraduate research.
Jamy was awarded the URISC (Undergraduate Research, Innovation, Scholarship and Creativity) Start for the summer of her freshman year and took that opportunity to start undergraduate research with Dr. Vince Remcho.  The summer of her sophomore year, she participated in the Center for Sustainable Materials Chemistry’s Undergraduate Research Program at UC Davis.  While there, she worked with Dr. Kacey analyzing aluminum and gallium clusters; Jamy said, “it was really cool.”  The summer of her junior year, she was back in Dr. Remcho’s lab working in conjunction with the Sure Science program and focusing on different research topics.
In her spare time, Jamy is the Academic Success Officer for the science sorority, Sigma Delta Omega, the Vice President of the Chemistry Club and a member of the College of Science Student Advisory Council (COSSAC). Their focus this year has been to integrate more graduate student involvement, mainly by helping the Chemistry Undergraduate Mentoring and Empowerment (ChUME) group reach more undergraduates.   She is also a member of several cooking clubs:  “Most of my activities outside chemistry involve food.”
Jamy has already been accepted to the University of Illinois where she will be working on her PhD is Analytical Chemistry.  She hopes to work in industry doing pharmaceutical chemistry research.  She says she’s a little nervous about leaving Oregon for the first time, but excited about the opportunity to work for such a great program.  We’re proud to have students like Jamy in our department and wish her all the luck in her future endeavors.

Undergraduate of the Quarter – Spring 2015 – Shan Lansing

Lansing, ShanShan Lansing spent the first 18 years of her life in Grants Pass, Oregon.   Being from a small town, she loved the feel of Corvallis, and the community aspects of Oregon State University.  She’s always known she wanted to be a doctor, but it was her work in Sean Burrows research lab that lead her to focus on oncology.  She cites her advisor, Neal Sleszynski, as the reason she got into undergraduate research so early in her education.  “I went to meet with him for advising and he asked if I wanted to do research,” she stated.  “The rest is history.”
Shan said she’s always been a detail-oriented person, so analytical chemistry was definitely the right area for her, stating that the precision of micro pipetting and various other fine detail work really appealed to her.  Her favorite class was Quantitative Analysis, but favorite professors, she said, was a harder question to answer.  She finally settled on Philip Watson and Paul Blakemore, stating, “I feel bad, picking favorites; I really haven’t had a bad [Professor] here.”
Shan is the current Social Chair for Sigma Delta Omega, the science sorority here on campus.  In her spare time, she likes to swim and is training for some marathons next summer.  Shan has an older brother and an older sister and is pretty sure her parents send her grade reports in a mass email because they’re so proud of her accomplishments: as are we.  Students like Shan are the reason we do what we do, and we’re proud to have her in our department.

May 29, 2015

Undergraduate of the Quarter – Winter 2015 – Collin Muniz

Muniz, CollinCollin Muniz was born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, home of The Crimson Tide, but quickly moved to LA, then on to Oregon where he attended Beaverton High School. His sophomore year at Beaverton High, he took his first Chemistry class. He fondly remembers his instructor, Patrick Cripey, performing an acid-based reaction in which he dissolved a penny and decided then and there, that Chemistry was pure magic; a type of magic that he wanted to explore further.


When it came time to apply to colleges, Collin applied to many and did his due diligence in visiting each one. He said it was an easy decision to choose OSU. Upon matriculation, he was originally a Chemical Engineering major, but quickly discovered there wasn’t enough chemistry in that major, so switched to a dual degree in Chemistry and Physics. He says his first professor was also his favorite professor, Dr. May Nyman. He reports greatly enjoying the teaching methods and classes of Dr.’s Daniel Myles and Paul Blakemore as well, but Dr. Nyman was the one who really gave him his start. Shortly after starting her class, Collin went to her office hours and “prodded” her for information about her science. He said, at first, she was slow to open up, not wanting to confuse him, but his excitement for the subject was infectious and she was soon writing structures on the white board and discussing her research with him. Several weeks later, she contacted him and offered him an undergraduate research position with her lab. An opportunity he jumped on with great enthusiasm and has never looked back.


Collin plans on attending graduate school in the future, whichever graduate school, he says, will help him pursue his dreams to the best of his ability. After that, he wants to find work in a National Lab. “I want to work in the sort of environment where there’s a lot of pressure to get your final product and where you need to be very innovative to accomplish that,” Collin stated. In his free time, he enjoys playing soccer and studying, a fact which he says, makes him boring. We here in the Chemistry Department think that makes him a wonderful new addition to our Undergraduates of the Quarter.

May 15, 2015

Undergraduate of the Quarter – Winter 2015 – Alec Kagele

Kagele, AlecAlec Kagele was born in Roseburg, Oregon and had never taken a Chemistry class until coming to OSU. He bounced around various Engineering and Science degrees before landing in his first Chemistry class and fell in love. Alec took General Chemistry from Margie Haak; long before she developed the flip classroom environment. He was not as enamored with Organic Chemistry until he took the final term of the sequence from Dr. Chris Beaudry.

This course led him to doing Undergraduate Research, also in Dr. Beaudry’s lab. He has been working there for nearly a year. In addition to his coursework and an additional part time job at Woodstock’s Pizza, he works in the Mole Hole, a tutoring center for General Chemistry students and TA’s for Paula Weiss who teaches the 12X level General Chemistry. Alec is an incredibly busy student.

While he’s still not completely set on his plans for the future, he’s leaning towards a Master’s degree and a job in industry. We’re proud to have students like Alec Kagele in the Department of Chemistry.

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