- Name – I am Chris Knutson
- Area of study / position title – I am an instructor of chemistry.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- One interesting/strange factoid about yourself. I am a Lego maniac.
Name: Luanne Johnson
Area of Study / Position Title: Media and Event Coordinator
Why chemistry? (What about it initially interested you?): Initially, I started because I was unemployed and needed a paycheck, but over time, I’ve come to love this department. Telling the world (through social media) all the cool accomplishments of my faculty is really interesting to me.
Research focus (in non-science terms) or basic job duties? I am in charge of creating, curating and disseminating media; digital, print and social about the happenings and accomplishments of the Chemistry Department. I also organize most of the departmental events.
One thing you truly love about your job? We’ve recently started making videos when someone receives an award or major achievement. I LOVE this portion of my job and hope to expand on it in the near future.
One interesting/strange factoid about yourself. I am allergic to pork.
Name: Sandra Loesgen
Area of Study / Position Title: Assistant Professor in Chemistry
Why chemistry? (What about it initially interested you?): My high school teachers in chemistry and biology really loved their jobs and taught science with enthusiasm. In 7th grade, our class won a science fair working on allergy inducing proteins and peptides and since then, I am excited to work in a lab and look at health related chemistry!
Research focus (in non-science terms) or basic job duties? Drug Discovery. We focus on identifying new biologically active substances from rare bacteria and fungi. Most people have taken penicillin to fight a bacterial infection at least once in their life, but only few people know that this is a fungal metabolite and still one of the most used antibacterial drugs we have nowadays. Our research is focused on finding new potential drugs and to test them against pathogenic bacteria, cancer, and viruses and we are particularly interested in their chemical structures and mode of action.
One thing you truly love about your job? I love working with students and explore chemical structures provided by nature. There is noting better than collecting a sample, isolate microbes, and explore their chemistry and medicinal potential.
One interesting/strange factoid about yourself. I can eat Nutella with a spoon.
Name: Margie Haak
Area of study: Chemistry Education (although I am a physical chemist by training)
Position title: Senior Instructor II
Why chemistry?: It’s all Mr. Smith’s fault! (Mr. Smith was my high school chemistry teacher) UCLA didn’t have a Pre-med major, so I had to pick something to major in. My thought process was something like this “Well, chemistry was fun, I guess I’ll be a chemistry major.” And then I got sucked in by the beauty of chemistry, especially physical chemistry, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Research focus (in non-science terms) or basic job duties: I teach mostly general chemistry and my interests lie in active learning strategies and ways to increasing student success in general chemistry courses.
One thing that I truly love about my job: The students! Both undergraduate and graduate students. I also love that virtually every day is different – it is NEVER boring.
One interesting/strange factoid about myself: In whatever free time I can find I like to quilt.
Name: Bettye LS Maddux
Area of Study / Position Title: Managing Director, Center for Sustainable Materials Chemistry (CSMC)
Why chemistry? (What about it initially interested you?): I’ve always been interested in math and science. It was easier for me than English or History. I didn’t realize just how much, until my high school physics class conflicted with band. So, I dropped band to study science. Initially, I focused on marine science, so my B.S. is in zoology and physiology. After graduating, I moved to Texas and worked as a technician in a cancer research lab for a few years. I respected my boss and his work, so when I decided to go to graduate school, I stayed in his lab and got a Ph.D. in chemical carcinogenesis. Thus, began my transition from marine science to biophysics / biochemistry.
Research focus (in non-science terms) or basic job duties? I manage a large Center for Chemical Innovation grant funded by the National Science Foundation. The CSMC explores new solution-based methods for producing very high-quality thin films and patterns as building blocks for these next-generation devices. Check us out here: http://csmc.us I work closely with our business center and NSF on the Center’s budget; organize group meetings, conferences, workshops and help coordinate outreach events. I basically try to keep things running smoothly. It’s a very busy Center. I also collaborate with faculty in Chemical and Biological Engineering on a research project in my spare time. We have a grant to study diatoms. Diatoms are marine or freshwater algae that have silicon (glass) shells. The goal of our project is to harness the biosynthetic capacities of algae to make unique and valuable co-products in addition to advanced biofuels in scalable photobioreactor systems. So, I guess you could say that I’ve come back around to marine science.
One thing you truly love about your job? I love being part of cutting-edge research that advances technology without harming the planet.
One interesting/strange factoid about yourself. I also worked as a forensic scientist. I was a firearms and tool-mark examiner.
- Jeff T. Gautschi
- Organic/Bioorganic Chemist/Instructor
- During my first year as an undergraduate biology major I took General Chemistry and quickly became fascinated by the endless variety of molecules, and by the elements of the periodic table from which those molecules are comprised. This fascination became more profound when I entered organic chemistry in my second year. Through this course, I realized that it is the diversity of the structure and function of organic molecules that makes life possible, and it is their biological activity that imparts to life its mystery, misery, and remedy.
- While my primary function is to teach organic chemistry for pre-professionals at the undergraduate level, I am also engaged in Bioorganic Chemistry and Natural Products research activities with undergraduate students. Currently, my group seeks to uncover molecules that have never been discovered before. We do this by isolating pure compounds from genetically-modified fungi that we grow in the laboratory. Additionally, I am currently the only chemist at OSU-Cascades (OSU’s branch campus in Bend, Oregon) and thus helping to lead efforts to establish and grow the chemical sciences at that rapidly expanding university.
- I truly love interacting with undergraduate students as they navigate their early-stage careers within the sciences. It is a sincere joy to introduce them to the intriguing world of theoretical and practical organic chemistry, to provide them expert insight to the many career paths there are within the chemical sciences, and to learn from and about them.
- I was fortunate enough to participate on a deep sea expedition and dive over 1000 feet deep in a scientific research submersible named Clelia. Yes, it was a yellow submarine.
Name: Pedro Molina
Area of Study / Position Title: Chemistry – Postdoctoral Scholar
Why chemistry? (What about it initially interested you?)
I used to play with chemistry sets when I was a kid! Later in life, I enrolled in a one-year general science course just to keep me busy during the day as I was working evenings in those days. I became immediately hooked on science during that year and then went to the University of Glasgow (Scotland, UK) to read Biology and Chemistry. I eventually chose Chemistry over Biology as my major because I felt Chemistry had a wider scope, allowing me to learn about atoms, molecules and other relatives, stuff of which all things are made up. In addition, I can keep having fun by making compounds in the lab in the same way I used to when playing with my chemistry sets!
Research focus (in non-science terms) or basic job duties?
My main research focus is to make new molecular metal oxides and study their properties, primarily their ability to destroy nervous gas agents like, for example, sarin.
One thing you truly love about your job?
The one thing I love the most about my job is that I can do science on an everyday basis! My position allows me to formulate hypothesis about how nature behaves, design and perform experiments to test those hypothesis, analyze the results of those experiments and communicate my findings to the wider world. All of this in close cooperation with a bunch of really smart and nice people! What else could I ask for?
One interesting/strange factoid about yourself:
I can juggle with three and four balls, clubs and a little bit of devil stick. Didn’t you see me juggling this year at the Oregon Country Fair?
- Name: Kristi Edwards
- Area of study / position title: Science Lab Preparator
- Why chemistry? (What about it initially interested you, etc.) – I had been working at the EPA on a research project that the funding was ending and found this position. I was always interested in chemistry, but pursued a degree in microbiology as my advisor told me there were more jobs in micro than chemistry. Bad advice.
- Research focus (in non-science terms) or basic job duties? My job duties are to prepare the labs for the general chemistry, organic, quantitative and integrated labs in GBAD. I also help with lecture demos in the afternoons,
- One thing that you truly love about your job? I enjoy working with the chem majors in the integrated labs. I also enjoy the faculty and instructors I work with.
- One interesting/strange factoid about yourself. I collect rocks and minerals from all over the world and have dug quite a few in Oregon and Wyoming.
Name: Dr. Richard L Nafshun
Area of Study / Position Title: Chemistry Education and Antibacterial Surfaces for Biomedical Devices / Senior Instructor II
Why chemistry? (What about it initially interested you?): Opportunity to solve problems
Research focus (in non-science terms) or basic job duties? Investigation of materials and surface treatments to reduce bacterial growth
One thing you truly love about your job? New projects magically appear when current projects are completed
One interesting/strange factoid about yourself. In high school I hit a home run off Darryl Strawberry.
Name: Michelle Dolgos
Area of study / position title: Materials Chemistry, Assistant Professor
Why chemistry? (What about it initially interested you, etc.) My path to chemistry was fairly long. I always loved science and my first career choice as a child was an astronomer, then a pathologist, then a geologist, then a marine biologist (even though I had never seen the ocean or been on a boat). When I started college, I wanted to go to medical school like everyone else who is interested in science, but I got bored with all the biology classes. I loved my general chemistry class, so decided to switch majors. Then, my sophomore year, I almost left the chemistry profession because of Organic Chemistry, but decided to stick it out for one more semester and just get a minor if I decided it wasn’t my thing. I ended up taking P-chem next and fell back in love with chemistry. I decided to stay in the field, and I’m happy that I did.
Research focus (in non-science terms) or basic job duties? My research focus is trying to understand how the structure of a material relates to the properties. Then once we gain that knowledge for a particular system, we can rationally design new materials with improved properties. I consider myself a solid state chemist, but I have been known to work with thin films or amorphous materials on occasion.
One thing that you truly love about your job? Writing grant proposals. Just kidding. I love working with grad students and watching them develop from student to scientist.
One interesting/strange factoid about yourself. I am a loyal watcher of a certain daytime soap opera, which people are surprised by for some reason. Also, I enjoy torturing myself doing Shawn T’s Insanity workouts every morning.