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Biology and biochemistry students awarded premier Oregon scholarship for graduate research

The College of Science warmly congratulates Rachael Aber, Brittany Lasher and Maya Feezell for their selection as 2019 ARCS (Achievement Rewards for College Scientists) Foundation Oregon scholars. They are among the 26 young scientists and engineers in the state and among 14 Oregon State University students who received scholarships from ARCS Foundation Oregon this year.

The ARCS Foundation Oregon Chapter supports outstanding doctoral students in STEM fields at Oregon Health and Science University, OSU and the University of Oregon. Since 2005, the chapter has supported 274 Ph.D. candidates with financial aid of $4.5 million raised from endowed funds, donors and chapter fundraising. The ARCS Foundation has 15 chapters all over the country, including one in Oregon.

Through its partnership with the ARCS Foundation, OSU is able to be competitive in recruiting the very best Ph.D. students into science and engineering programs. The ARCS award provides doctoral students with $18,000, payable over three years at $6,000 per year.

Kudos to these first-year Ph.D. students, our 2019 ARCS Scholars!

Rachael Aber was drawn to the Department of Integrative Biology because of its strong tradition of support for interdisciplinary approaches to urgent research questions. She hopes to focus her doctoral research on investigating issues at the intersection of disease ecology and population biology in the lab of Benjamin Dalziel.

Rachael Aber

“Working in a lab that employs methods from various fields of study will be invaluable to my progress as a science professional,” said Aber.

Aber graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Portland where she engaged extensively in undergraduate research. She completed a research internship at the University of Washington, Seattle, which involved the analysis of acoustic data on deep diving predators off Cape Hatteras.

At the University of Portland, Aber received the Presidential Scholarship and the Outstanding Graduating Senior in Undergraduate Research Award.

Aber received the ARCS Foundation Oregon Chapter Scholar Award.

A doctoral student in biochemistry and biophysics, Brittany Lasher’s research interests include computational modeling of biological systems in order to gain insight into function and mechanism. Lasher comes to the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics with a background in engineering.

Brittany Lasher

She holds a B.S. degree from the University of Washington (UW), Seattle, and a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University, both in the field of chemical engineering. She received an associate’s degree in chemical engineering from Tacoma Community College in Washington before joining UW.

At UW and Johns Hopkins, Lasher pursued research projects at the intersection of engineering, computation and biochemistry. These include work on enzymatic designs, building a library for classification of helical kinks and modeling of protein purification peptide tags.

“Through the biochemistry and biophysics department, I will acquire knowledge allowing me to connect my past engineering experience with the biological framework, enabling me to tackle a wide range of problems within the biochemistry and pharmaceutical industries,” said Lasher.

She received the ARCS Foundation Oregon Chapter Scholar Award.

Maya Feezell is a doctoral student in the Department of Integrative Biology, focusing her research on the impact that climate change is having on the rocky intertidal areas. She analyzes how community dynamics are impacted by stressors such as temperature, food availability and predator loss.

Maya Feezell

“I chose to study at OSU for my graduate degree because our integrative biology department has so many incredible faculty doing groundbreaking research and policy work,” said Feezell. “We also have amazing resources for conducting marine science research both in Corvallis and at the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport.”

Feezell obtained an undergraduate degree in marine science from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, where she conducted research on the effects of thermal stress and food availability on the California mussel in an environmental proteomics laboratory.

Feezell received the Mary Martin Rosenberg Endowed Award from ARCS Foundation Oregon.

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