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.

Chemists from Oregon State University developed a method that detects and measures the chemical composition of the four Corexit surfactants in seawater.

This research also helped to identify best practices that addresses the complexities of sample collection, handling, and storage for improved toxicity testing and biodegradation experiments. They published their findings in the 2014 Deep-Sea Research II: Topical Studies in Oceanography: Trace analysis of surfactants in Corexit oil dispersant formulations and seawater.

During the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, responders applied an unprecedented amount of dispersant at oil coming from the wellhead and on surface slicks. To assist environmental impact assessments, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) obtained the ingredients of four Corexit surfactants commonly known as DOSS, Span 80, Tween 80, and Tween 85. DOSS was the only surfactant that received EPA-determined aquatic life benchmarks for chronic exposure and reporting limits; therefore, it has been the main focus of recent studies to indicate the presence of Corexit. This study’s goals were to develop a sensitive and selective analytical method for quantifying the four surfactant classes in seawater and then use this method to determine the distribution and concentrations of surfactants in the Gulf.  Read more…

Update: We’ve also just been informed that the PhD student who originally worked on this research, Dr. Benjamin Place (Class of 2013) recently got hired at NIST.  Congratulations, Ben!!

Undergraduate of the Quarter - Spring 2013
Undergraduate of the Quarter – Spring 2013

Shelby Paulson grew up in Coos Bay, OR – graduating from Marshfield High School where she was a three-sport athlete (cross-country/track, basketball and swimming).  Her senior year, she was awarded an Air Force ROTC Scholarship, which covered much of her cost to go to college. Military service is a tradition in her family as both her parents were in the Army.  She selected OSU for college because her mom got her Masters degree from here and because “she didn’t want to to that school in Eugene.” Her favorite courses were the Integrated lab sequence because it was “lots of fun and hands on.”  She also really enjoyed Staci Simonich’s CH 692 Environmental Transformation of Organic Compounds course and Jennifer Field’s Toxicology course.  She has worked in Staci’s lab for over a year now and has really valued the experience.  She has also been active in the Student Alumni Association during her time at OSU. After graduation, she will start her six-year service as an Air Battle Management Officer in the Air Force.  We are fortunate to have talented students like Shelby in our Department, and we are grateful for her service to our country!