Chloe Ramsperger has been named one of the Fall 2021 Undergraduates of the Quarter, and we couldn’t be more thrilled.  Chloe grew up in Redlands, California, where she attended Redlands High School, home of the Terriers.

When asked why Chloe chose Chemistry, she said, “Ever since I was young, I have had a growing passion for forensic science. Having access to television, I would constantly watch crime shows such as Crime Scene Investigation and Criminal Minds, wishing I was the investigator or the forensic scientist solving the crime. I never thought that wish could become my reality. With my growing interest in forensic science, I entered Oregon State University (OSU) as a chemistry major with an option in forensics. At the height of the Coronavirus pandemic, financial hardships forced me to take a step back from research, so I started working at a dental office. While working there, I realized how much I missed doing research and that chemistry was something that brought me joy and it was something I could always look forward to. At that moment I quickly realized the medical field is not where I wanted my career to be, leading me to believe I should be and want to pursue a Ph.D. in chemistry.

During her junior year of high school, her uncle flew her up to Oregon to visit universities in the Pacific Northwest. While visiting OSU, she fell in love with the campus, and she knew it would allow for innovation and give her the best education in comparison to other schools.  Her decision was made.

She is currently doing research in Dr. Kyriakos Stylianou‘s Materials Discovery Lab (MaD Lab), which has considerable expertise in the synthesis and characterization of metal-organic frameworks (MOFs). Over the summer, Chloe received the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) fellowship, by which she began researching numerous organic transformations that could benefit from the use of a heterogenous catalysis. While looking at the hydrocyanation for the conversion of alkenes to nitriles, she stumbled upon the Strecker synthesis for amino acids. She found a considerable amount of published research on this one-pot synthesis, but nothing seemed to involve the use of a MOF exhibiting strong Brønsted acidity that does not compromise the framework, be an environmentally friendly synthetic route, and be cost effective. While this work is still in its early steps, this preliminary work has demonstrated a successful conversion and high percent yield using a MOF with Brønsted acid sites. These preliminary results were used as the basis for the development of the project proposed for the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program.

Chloe was at a poster presentation session for careers in chemistry, Dr. Rich Carter asked her where she saw herself in the future, to which she answered, “a forensic odontologist”. At that point he told her about Dr. Dipankar Koley’s research group, in which they used electrochemical techniques to fabricate sensors and different polymers to study dental plaque biofilms and restorative dental materials. She immediately sought out a research position in his lab because she knew she would gain valuable experience to prepare her for graduate school and become an independent researcher and mentor.

After graduation, Chloe hopes to work in industry for the remainder of the 2021-2022 school year then move onto graduate school to pursue a Ph.D. in Organic chemistry.

Outside of school Chloe loves to rock climb, hike, play volleyball, and listen to music.

In closing, Chloe stated, “though my academic career seems to be entrenched, by copious opportunities I have received, it could not have been done without the academic support from my mentors and encouragement from my parents. My undergraduate career at Oregon State University has solidified my ambition to become an educator, mentor, and communicator to transform chemistry.”

Elias “Eli” Henderson has been named one of the Fall 2021 Undergraduates of the Quarter and we couldn’t be prouder.         

Eli was born and raised in Eugene, Oregon, and graduated from South Eugene High School, home of the Axe.  He stated that he likes all science, but chemistry is, “so cool with so many different applications that it seems like a good place to begin.”  When asked why he chose OSU, Eli said it was mostly a financial decision.  “I didn’t want to pay out of state tuition and OSU has a good science program so I knew it would be a good fit.”

Eli said he wanted to get into doing science that wasn’t in the form of the normal courses. He wanted to be able to have a goal for some project that he could study on his own time.  To that end, Eli is currently researching with Marilyn Mackiewicz in the Mack Lab. The Mack Lab focuses on making metallic based nanoparticles for biomedical applications.  Eli works specifically with Nickel. “I have been working on making Nickel nanoparticles that are suspended in water.

While he’s not 100% sure what his plans are post-graduation, he is currently working towards a focus in education, and contemplating getting a masters on his way to a teaching license to teach high school.

Outside school, Eli likes to rock climb and explore Corvallis. When he’s exploring, he likes to find the small stores around town and see what is going on.

His favorite book is The End of Boys by Peter Hofmeister, a book he says he’s just finished re-reading. The author was his English teach in high school, and is about the author’s life growing up in Eugene. “It feels very familiar to me,” Eli says.  His favorite food is the curry at Thai Chili. He likes to go in on Fridays, saying it’s a good way to wrap up the week.

Eli says he’s really appreciative of this opportunity, and we’re so happy to be able to provide it for him. 

Karlie Wiese has been named one of the Spring 2021 Undergraduates of the Quarter, and we couldn’t be prouder of her.

Karlie grew up in the Rogue Valley in Southern Oregon.  She attended Phoenix High School, home of the Pirates.  She originally came to OSU with the intent to major in Nutrition with the Dietetics option to become a Dietitian. OSU is the only school in Oregon that has a dietetics program.

Karlie actually really disliked chemistry when she was in high school (long, long ago in 2007, she says) and dropped the class after the first quarter. She procrastinated as long as she could before she started her chemistry courses for Nutrition. She ended up loving chemistry so much that she was always eager to dive into her chemistry reading and homework. Additionally, she was working as a tutor and really enjoyed sharing her chemistry knowledge with other students and helping them better understand the material. She decided it was time to make a big change (her senior year!) and switch from Nutrition to Chemistry with an education focus.

She’s not currently performing any research, but may help conduct some research in chemistry education over the next year, and has been toying with the idea of getting into a research lab.  She has been working as a TA for the 23x Gen Chem series for the past couple of years now. Karlie reports absolutely love it and says it has really helped to solidify her decision to go into teaching chemistry. Something else that might be mildly interesting to note is that she didn’t start college until about 9 years after finishing high school, and she’ll be 32 when she finishes her bachelor’s degree.  After she finishes her bachelor’s, she says, she’ll move on to grad school. She’s still figuring out if she wants to pursue a Master’s in Science Education or go for Chemistry. After grad school, her plan is to teach Chemistry at a high school, or possibly college.

Karlie is a mom to a five-year-old, so free time outside of school has been virtually non-existent; however, she enjoys hiking with her family and just being in nature. She’s definitely looking forward to this summer as it’s the first summer in 16 years that she won’t be working or taking classes. Hopefully they’ll be able to make some camping trips and explore the state. They’ve all definitely been going a little stir-crazy during these pandemic times over the past year, so a bit of fun out of the house is long overdue!

She says it’s hard to pick one, but her favorite genres are sci-fi and nonfiction. If she has to pick one, she it’d have to be The Martian, by Andy Weir.

Karlie wanted to say, “thank you to all of the instructors for being so adaptable over the past year and working hard to ensure students could continue on with their education during these unusual times!”

We’re so proud of all our Undergraduates of the Quarter for their many accomplishments and wish Karlie the best of luck with all her future plans.

Karlie says her daughter loves to help her with her Chemistry homework.

Alice Lulich has been named one of the Spring 2021 Undergraduates of the Quarter and we couldn’t be happier.

Alice grew up in Bend, Oregon.  She attended North Medford High School, home of the Black Tornado.  She chose OSU due to its emphasis and opportunity for undergraduate research. The other universities she was looking at were missing that, and it was crucial to her. OSU has been a great fit for her, and she is pleased with her decision.  As far as research, she has been working in the Nyman Lab for the last two-ish years. She creates metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) using transition metals and then characterizes them. She can also find applications for the new MOFs she creates, such as capturing carbon dioxide gas or splitting water in a photocatalysis reactor. This utility can be applied to clean energy solutions for climate change. She got into the lab in the first term of freshman year. She wanted to do undergraduate research, and it had a significant impact on her college choice, so she got in as soon as possible!

When asked why Chemistry, she replied, “chemistry makes sense to me. I geek out about reactions and always put things in terms of chemistry. For example, when I listen to music, I’ll think about the gas particles vibrating to get the sound wave to my ears. Or, when I am making food, I think about the denaturing process. Chemistry excites me so much!”

Alice plans research as a career. She is currently interested in options like the national labs, but the thing she loves about chemistry is its applicability; “I don’t want to limit myself to thinking I can only do one thing with my degree.” She says she will have to go to grad school first, though, so her after-school career is still a ways off. However, she is excited at the prospect of grad school.

Outside of school, Alice loves hiking and being outdoors. When she has free time (which school and lab limit), she loves reading and cooking. She is a homebody and an introvert, but she loves to catch up with friends as well. There’s nothing better than a night with good friends and good music.   Her favorite book that she’s read recently is Educated by Tara Westover. She says “it’s  such a captivating read. It had me hooked for the whole thing. I would highly recommend it, but just be forewarned that it is a wild ride.”  Her favorite food is Thai Curry and Tomatoes.

Alice says she’s honored to be chosen as Undergraduate of the Quarter! “It feels rewarding to be recognized for the work I put into both school and my research.”  We’re proud to bestow this honor on students like Alice, and we wish her all the best of luck in the future.