Yes, you heard it right, it’s almost Food Drive time again.  This year, we’re using the KISS method when it comes to our event.  We’re just taking donations.  All through the month of February, the main office staff will be collecting food and cash donations to help the Linn/Benton Food Share feed local families in need.  Every little bit helps.

Foods the Food Bank needs:

  • Shelf-stable milk
  • Canned goods
  • Rice, cereal and pasta
  • 100% fruit juice
  • Cooking Oils
  • Other nutritious “healthy-choice” foods

A NUCLEAR WEAPON IN THE HANDS OF TERRORISTS is the stuff of nightmares, especially for U.S. agencies charged with preventing a devastating attack. When security or law enforcement agents confiscate nuclear or radiological weapons or their ingredients being smuggled domestically or internationally, they must quickly trace them back to their source.

Enter, the science of nuclear forensics. Defined by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as “the ability to trace the source of interdicted materials to their place of origin,” nuclear forensics ranks as a “keystone” of U.S. anti-terrorism policy.

Now, Oregon State University is about to become a player in that effort. A new graduate emphasis in nuclear forensics is being launched in OSU’s Department of Nuclear Engineering and Radiation Health Physics with funding from Homeland Security. Courses in nuclear materials science, nuclear forensics analysis and detection of special nuclear material will be added to existing core courses such as radiophysics, radiochemistry and applied radiation safety. Faculty expertise in nuclear engineering, radiation health physics, radiation detection and radiochemistry will anchor the program, along with state-of-the-art lab and spectroscopy facilities in the Radiation Center, says OSU researcher Camille Palmer, who will lead the nuclear forensics emphasis.  Read more…

WHAT IF WE COULD TURN EXCESS CO2 into a boon for electronics and other industries?

Chemists and engineers at Oregon State University have discovered a way to do just that. David Ji and his research team have captured atmospheric carbon dioxide — a greenhouse gas — and used it to make an advanced, high-value material for energy-storage devices that power everything from defibrillators to hybrid electric cars.

This innovation in nanotechnology won’t soak up enough carbon to solve global warming, the researchers say. However, it will provide an environmentally friendly, low-cost way to make “nanoporous graphene,” a pure form of carbon that’s super-strong and ultra-efficient at conducting heat and electricity. All of these properties give nanoporous graphene a big edge over activated carbon, now used in making commercial supercapacitors — devices that can store energy for rapid release.  Read more…

On behalf of the Industrial and Engineering Chemistry (I&EC) Division of the American Chemical Society, I want to solicit abstracts for the ACS I&EC Division Graduate Student Award Symposium. This symposium will be featured at the 250th  Boston ACS National Meeting, August 10-14, 2015. I ask that you distribute this announcement to your advanced degree students and their advisors, and encourage those attending this ACS meeting to submit papers and compete for the monetary award and distinction described in the attached flyer. The I&EC Division features programming of great interest to the Chemistry and Chemical Sciences community, and we wish to encourage the professional development of your graduate students.

Every graduate student lead author accepted for this Symposium will be awarded an ACS members meeting registration fee.  All submissions and presentations will be evaluated by a panel selected by the Division. The third place presentation will be awarded an additional $250.  The second place presentation will be awarded an additional $500. The first place presentation will be awarded $750. To be eligible for any award, the presenter must be a student at university, pursuing a graduate degree in the chemical sciences and engineering at the time of the symposium.

More details are given in the enclosed flyer. Again, I request your support in distributing this to your outstanding graduate students. We look forward to highlighting their outstanding work in this new symposium.

Best wishes,

Michael A. Matthews, P.E.                                                       College of Engineering & Computing
Phone/Mobile: 803-777-0556   Fax: 803-777-9597           Assoc. Dean for Research & Graduate Education
Room 3A03A, Swearingen Engineering Center                 Department of Chemical Engineering
University of South Carolina                                                     Professor of Chemical Engineering
Columbia, SC 29208                                                                      Fellow of the American Chemical Society
Fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers

Philip Nguyen - Fall 2014 Undergraduate of the Quarter
Philip Nguyen – Fall 2014 Undergraduate of the Quarter

Philip Nguyen has been named our second Undergraduate of the Quarter for Fall 2014.  Phillip is originally from Oregon City where he attended Oregon City High School.  He cites his AP Chenistry teacher, Mr. Taylor for his love of Chemistry.  Phillip came to OSU to obtain a Bachelor’s degree and familiarize himself with the campus and surrounding community before continuing on to Pharmacy school.  An after high school job at a Pharmacy made him realize that while he loved the pharmaceutical industry, he’d have a better foundation if he started in Chemistry first, so that’s exactly what he did.

Phillip’s favorite class was CH 361/362: Experimental Chemistry.  He said it was this class where he got his first real hands on experience with chemistry and realized that sometimes, your experiments fail.  He also stated that he really liked how energetic the instructors were about their teaching and how when something did fail, they used it as a lesson for the class.  He has participated in Undergraduate Research for Dr. Paul Cheong since his freshmen year.  He tells his friends that research is like a homework problem that you can’t solve for weeks.  “You go in every single day and you work at it, and work at it, and work at it.  You finally get an answer, then you realixe you did the math wrong, so you go back and keep trying.

Phillip plans on applying to Pharmacy school this summer after graduation.  He says he feels really integrated into the department and it’s someplace he can call home.  We’re proud to have students like Phillip as part of our department.

Alex Van Scoyk - Fall 2014 Undergraduate of the Quarter
Alex Van Scoyk – Fall 2014 Undergraduate of the Quarter

Alexandria “Alex” Van Scoyk  has been named one of the Fall 2014 Undergraduates of the Quarter.  She grew up in Cedar City, Utah, where she attended Cedar High School.  Her chemistry instructor, Steven Stephenson (an OSU alumni) sparked her initial interest in chemistry.  “He was the very first professor that actually made me work hard in class,” she said of Stephenson.  It was his push that made her come to Oregon State as a Chemistry major and her discovered love for the lab that has made her stay.

Her favorite class while attending Oregon State has been Physical Chemistry, with Dr. Glenn Evans.  She stated that she really liked the way Glenn made you think about the concepts and work hard to get the grades and the way he really wanted the students to learn the material that he so obviously loves..  She also talked about Emile Firpo as being a favorite.  “He is responsible for solidifying my liking for lab work,” she states.  She says Emile is probably 90% responsible for getting her into research in the first place.  She now works in Dr. David William’s lab doing what she termed, “general stuff.”

Alex, who will graduate in the Spring hopes to continue on to Graduate School in the areas of toxicology or pharmacology, then come back to academia as a Professor.  Currently, Alex is the President of the Chemistry Club.  She’s also on the College of Science Advisory Council and in the Student Advisory Group.  In her spare time, she likes to hang out with her friends, watch movies and sleep.  It’s students like Alex that make us proud to be Oregon State University.

The Division of University Outreach and Engagement is seeking nominations for the 2015 Vice Provost Awards for Excellence. These annual awards recognize outstanding contributions by faculty and staff that significantly advance the mission of outreach and engagement. Award winners receive $1,000 provided as OSU funds in a services and supplies index and a commemorative plaque.

Nominations are submitted online providing specific examples demonstrating how the individual or team has provided outstanding contributions.  Award categories include: service, strategic impact, program, innovation and diversity.  Nominations are due February 17.

A luncheon will be held to honor award winners on Monday, April 13th at the CH2M Hill Alumni Center.

Please forward in your unit.  Contact Jackie Russell with any questions.

  1. Name – I am Chris Knutson
  2. Area of study / position title – I am an instructor of chemistry.
  3. Why chemistry? (What about it initially interested you, etc.) – I first became interested in chemistry when my father became ill with cancer due to chemical exposure, and was subsequently treated with chemistry.  Luckily for me, he lived through that ordeal.  Then, while working as a lawn and garden specialist, I ended up selling massive amounts of the chemicals that gave my dad cancer over the counter to anyone who decided that they wanted to pour them into the groundwater.  At that point, I realized that improving chemical education is needed in this country so I decided to become part of the solution to that problem.
  4. Research focus (in non-science terms) or basic job duties?  I teach future engineers about the wonders of small-scale matter, and the basics of materials science.
  5. One thing that you truly love about your job?  I love working with the talented youth who want nothing more than to make the world better for their children than they inherited it.
  6. One interesting/strange factoid about yourself.  I am a Lego maniac.

The OSU Chemistry Department’s online students take our classes for a variety of reasons. Some are wanting to earn an online degree, get some chemistry credits to finish up a degree, or need more chemistry knowledge for their work. Others are interested in moving toward a new career, and chemistry is a foundation for the new work they plan to do. Some of these career paths can be surprising; we would like to introduce you to Deborah Kenner, who has taken CH 140, our 6-credit General, Organic, and Biological Chemistry.

How did you end up where you are on this journey?

I received my BFA in ballet performance from the University of Arizona as a full scholarship student. After graduation, I moved to Colorado where I danced with Colorado Ballet and David Taylor Dance Theatre. I spent 10 years dancing professionally until I tore my ACL.   During rehab on my knee, I went through a Pilates certification program; I thought this would be a great way to help myself get back on stage. I soon discovered I enjoyed learning about how the body functions and realized it was not in my best interest to be back on stage.   As I taught more and more ballet and Pilates, I wanted to learn more about the body. In 2010, my dream of teaching at one of the top training facilitaties in the country became a reality. Immediately, I relocated to Seattle and began my journey at Pacific Northwest Ballet. I am thankful I am able to share my love of ballet with the next generation.

When I decided to return to school my plan was to attend PT school.   I have been working on pre-reqs for about a year now and have completely changed my mind about my future goals. This change of heart happened during a nutrition class. I have watched many friends over the years–and now young ballet dancers–struggle with weight and proper nutrition. I believe there is a need for people to help children understand how to take care of their bodies.   I want to be a positive influence in these young people’s lives and show them that it is not necessary to go to drastic measures in order to achieve what society believes to be desirable.   My next step is to complete a Nutritional Therapy certification program, finish my last few pre-requisites and apply to grad school.

Do you have any advice for other online students?

Online classes require a ton of discipline.   The best advice I have is to set small goals and deadlines. Most of the assignments are due at the end of the quarter, but setting personal deadlines helped me stay on top of the work load. I would also suggest asking as many questions as you need.

Do you have a family you would like to tell us about?

I have a great support system. My Dad is always available to cheer me on or keep me motivated when I think I have bit off more than I can handle. Unfortunately, I lost my Mom in 2005, she was my number one fan. I know she is happy that I am finally back in school working towards my next goal. I think she might be a little surprised I have decided on Nutrition. I would have become a victim of an eating disorder if it weren’t for her guidance. I am also so thankful that I have such a wonderful boyfriend who encourages me to be a better, more patient person!

The Research Office Incentive Programs is accepting applications for the GRF Spring 2015 solicitation. The intent of the GRF program is to enable faculty to carry out scholarly, creative work that should lead to the pursuit of other funding sources, or promote the development of scholarly activities. Program description and application: Information: Debbie Delmore at Deadline for submission: Feb. 2.