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.

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.

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!


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.”



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.

Undergraduate of the Quarter - Spring 2014
Undergraduate of the Quarter – Spring 2014

Cassandra Lew has been selected as one of our Undergrads of the Quarter for Spring 2014.  Cassandra grew up in Rock Springs, WY where she has lived her entire life prior to coming to OSU. She graduated from Rock Springs High School and it was a high school teacher  (John Gamble) that peaked her interest in chemistry – commenting that she really enjoyed how applicable his classes were (She took 2 years of chemistry from Mr. Gamble). Cassandra accredits much of her success to the support and encouragement she has received from friends and family. She decided to come to OSU because of its reputation as an excellent science school and the generous scholarships she received. While Cassandra is only a freshman (one of the first freshmen to ever win Undergrad of the Quarter), she has already found her way into a research lab.  She has been working with Professor Sandra Loesgen where she loves how hands on the science is and the real world applications of it all. When describing her research experience to date, Cassandra said “Sandra has been awesome!”  All her professors at OSU have been helpful. She particularly enjoyed Professor Chris Beaudry’s O Chem course last term. Cassandra is excited for the future chemistry classes she will have the opportunity to take at OSU. After graduation, she would like to pursue a career in forensic chemistry and work in a lab. We are so excited to have talented, enthusiastic students like Cassandra in our program.  Congrats to her for this award and we wish her continued success during her time at OSU!

Update: Cassandra was the recipient of the 2nd Keith McKennon Memorial Scholarship.  The Chemistry Department is grateful for the support of alumni and friends who established this Scholarship. Cassandra, will do a wonderful job of honoring this long-time friend of the Department through her contributions to the state, nation, and world.


Undergraduate of the Quarter - Winter 2013
Undergraduate of the Quarter – Winter 2013

Arsalan was born in Portland and went to Aloha High School.  He came to OSU because of the high quality of education available here for a “fraction of the cost of other places.”  During freshman orientation, he was initially registered as a biology major. When Dr. Chris Pastorek walked into the College of Science orientation and announced “All chem majors come with me,” he felt a spontaneous desire to follow her and has never looked back.   His favorite instructor is Emile Firpo due to his incredible generosity.  His interest in organic chemistry was sparked during the CH 334/335/336 series and he considers doing research with organic chemistry professor Paul Blakemore his best experience at OSU.  His favorite course was CH 435 Spectroscopy with Chris Beaudry.  After graduation, he intended to go to grad school to obtain a PhD in Chemistry and hopes to be a university professor one day. OSU and the Chemistry Department are so lucky to have talented students like Arsalan.

Undergraduate of the Quarter - Spring 2012
Undergraduate of the Quarter – Spring 2012

Sam Bartlett has been selected as an undergrad chem major of the quarter for Spring 2012.  Sam was born in Sunnyside, WA but was raised in Lake Oswego, OR until 4th grade when he moved to Corvallis.  He attended Crescent Valley High School.  Sam picked OSU because of its strong reputation, the in-state tuition costs and wanting to stay close to home.  He initially was a biology major, but the first term of Organic Chemistry from Dr. Daniel Myles showed him that his real interests were in Chemistry.  Sam cites Prof. Carter (for CH 336) and his current advisor, Chris Beaudry (for his instruction in CH 471 and CH 535) as his two favorite professors.    Sam has conducted extensive undergraduate research during his time at OSU. In fact, Sam and Professor Beaudry have published a paper on his research in the Journal of Organic Chemistry – a major accomplishment for an undergraduate student.  Sam is very grateful for this experience – particularly commenting that Professor Beaudry’s insights were valuable and he is very grateful for his help in getting into grad school.   Sam has really enjoyed the community in the Department – feeling that it is like a close knit family.   Sam will be starting graduate school this summer in Organic Chemistry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with Professor Jeff Johnson.  UNC-Chapel Hill is regarded as one of the top programs in his field and we congratulate Sam on all his accomplishments to date.  It is students like Sam that make OSU Chemistry as strong as it is today!!