April 2022
Dreiling Awarded NSF Graduate Research Fellowship
Reagan Dreiling (WU '20), who is pursuing her Ph.D. in polymer chemistry at Cornell University, has been awarded an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. 
April 2022
Bihrle Awarded WU Presidential Scholarship
Michael Bihrle, (WU '23) has been awarded one of only two Presidential Senior Scholarships at Willamette University for the coming year! The scholarship will provide time and funding for Michael to continue his research on organic polymers in Prof Andrew Duncan’s laboratory.
April 2022
Hutchinson Accepts Tenure Track Position at Hamilton College
Carolyn Hutchinson, Ph.D. has accepted a tenure-track position in the Chemistry Department at Hamilton College effective fall of 2022. Carolyn was a Postdoctoral Research Scholar from August 2017 to August 2019 at Willamette in the Griffith Lab where she perfected her field work skills.
March 2022
ACS Scholarship Awardees in WU Chemistry
The American Chemical Society Portland Section has awarded scholarships to Chemistry Majors Juan Hernandez (James Anderson scholarship), Marni Aosved (Dunne/Currie scholarship), and Melissa Duncan (Dunne/Currie scholarship). These scholarships for the 2022-2023 academic year are merit based. Congratulations to Juan, Marni, and Melissa!
October 2021
Holman Team awarded Jean Dreyfus Lectureship Grant

A campus team led by Professor of Chemistry Karen Holman has received a Jean Dreyfus Lectureship for Undergraduate Institutions from the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation. The $18,500 award will support bringing a renowned female chemist of color to campus to engage our community in several activities. The award also funds research stipends for two Willamette students.

The chemist who is not yet officially announced, will give a formal technical talk for Willamette Valley scientists as well as a non-technical “Science Pub” talk open to the local community. She will participate in outreach activities to local K-12 students through Willamette University’s Willamette Academy and Willamette Science Outreach Program. During her two-day visit she will also meet with Willamette faculty and STEM students—including student participants in our National Science Foundation S-STEM grant—around topics related to both their research and equity and inclusion efforts.

As the proportion of female students of color in Willamette’s chemistry and STEM programs has increased in recent years, the Dreyfus Lecturer will provide students an additional role model in the field with a background and lived experience not currently represented among our faculty.

The bulk of the award provides support for two undergraduate students to carry out chemistry laboratory research during the summer of 2022. The student researchers will carry out original research as part of Willamette’s Science Collaborative Research Program and will present their results at the end of the summer.

Professor Michaela Kleinert, Christine Shanaberger, and former Willamette Professor and Associate Dean Sarah Kirk worked with Professor Holman to submit the grant application.

Announcements regarding the Dreyfus Lecturer’s talks are forthcoming. The events will most likely take place in February or March 2022.


July 2021
Where are they now?
photo: (L-R)  Sierra Wilson, Meagan Brown, Courtney Ibabao, Anya Romig (WU '18)
Left to Right: Sierra Wilson, Meagan Brown, Courtney Ibabao, Anya Romig (WU '18)

Anya is working at a biotech startup in SF doing their analytical work. She is taking to SF well but is hoping to take a year off soon to hike the PCT before going back to school. Courtney is driving coast to coast (in a Subaru she built out) to visit family and friends before moving back to Alaska in the fall where she will be starting at the University of Washington School of Medicine WAMMI. Meagan was promoted to Scientist II and is chemistry lead for 3 client projects at Alonza Pharma and Biotech in Bend, OR. She loves Bend and plans on running a marathon soon! Sierra just finished up her first year of graduate school at the University of Pittsburgh. She has joined Andrew Duncan's lab in the cellular and molecular pharmacology department and will be focusing on liver regeneration research.

March 2021
Brendan Dwyer, WU '15 published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society

Brendan Dwyer, WU '15 and PhD Candidate at Scripps Research Institute, was published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, Vol. 143, issue 11. Titled Total Synthesis and Target Identification of the Curcusone Diterpenes, Dwyer breaks it down:

"The paper is about a molecule which is isolated from a plant (the Barbados nut) and has demonstrated anticancer activity in early studies. Our collaborators solved the total synthesis of the complex molecule which then enabled us to identify which proteins the molecule targets inside the cell. This led to the discovery that the molecule called "curcusone D" inhibits a protein called "BRAT1," which plays an important role in how cancer cells fix their DNA to achieve immortality. Impairing this mechanism called the DNA damage response causes the cancer cell to die. Curcusone D is the first known molecular inhibitor of BRAT1 and could lead to new (and hopefully better) anticancer drugs, although there is still a lot to learn about BRAT1 and curcusone D."

September 2020
Dr. C.P. Hutchinson begins tenure track

Dr. C.P. Hutchinson, a previous postdoctoral researcher with David Griffith, has begun their tenure track position at St. Bonaventure University. Check out their website.

May 2020
2020-2021 Chemistry Student Awards & Scholarships
The Department of Chemistry congratulates the 2020-2021 Chemistry Award & Scholarship recipients! See the list of winners here.
April 2020
Mariana Navarro '(18) Receives Prestigious NSF Fellowship

Double major in chemistry (biochemistry track) and Spanish Mariana Navarro ('18) has been awarded a fellowship from the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship program. Navarro is pursuing graduate work in chemistry at the University of California Irvine.

Founded in 1952, the NSF GRP program supports support graduate work in STEM and some social sciences for outstanding students expected to become leaders in their fields.

April 2020
Elizabeth Larson Receives ACS Award
Chemistry and studio art major Elizabeth Larson ('21) has been awarded a Portland Section scholarship from the American Chemical Society. This prestigious regional award supports promising undergraduate chemistry majors in their senior year of college.
October 2019
Sam Hinton Presents Research at Portland ACS Competition

Sam Hinton ('19) was awarded second place in biochemistry for his poster entitled "Utilization of a Modular High Mobility Group Box1 (HMGB1) Split Protein Biosensor System for Sequence Specific Detection of Cisplatin Damaged DNA."

American Chemical Society Portland hosted the Undergraduate Poster Symposium and Career Fair on Sunday, October 20, 2019.

Sam Hinton at Portland ACS poster competition.
May 2019
2019-2020 Chemistry Student Awards & Scholarships
The Department of Chemistry congratulates the 2019-2020 Chemistry Award recipients! See the list of winners here.
June 2018
Professor Chuck Williamson appointed to Taul Watanabe Chair in the Sciences

Professor Joseph “Chuck” Williamson has been appointed to the endowed Taul Watanabe Chair in the Sciences for a five-year renewable term. Announcing the new appointment, President Steve Thorsett said, “Professor Williamson’s leadership, scholarship, pedagogy and service to our students are all outstanding, and I’m delighted that the university is able to honor his work in this way.” Williamson intends to "use the title and resources associated with the Watanabe Chair to increase the number of science research opportunities available to Willamette undergraduates.” The Professor has co-directed the Science Collaborative Research Program since 2010.

May 2018
Senior Kricia Ruano Espinoza Honored with National Award
Senior Kricia Ruano Espinoza, a double major in Chemistry and Physics, is this year's recipient of the American Chemical Society Women Chemists Committee 2018 Overcoming Challenges Award! The ACS awards this honor to just one student each year. Kricia will formally receive her award this August at the 256th National ACS meeting in Boston, MA.
May 2018
Ron Jones Receives Waller Stewardship Award

Instrumentation specialist Ron Jones received The Alvan F. Waller Stewardship Award for providing creative, cost-efficient solutions. The award was presented to Jones on May 30 at the annual Willamette Employee Awards Luncheon. Jones reportedly has a "supernatural ability" to find cost-effective and functional repair solutions which has saved the university thousands of dollars. He is also described as "surreptitiously cool."

May 2018
2018-2019 Chemistry Student Awards & Scholarships
The Department of Chemistry congratulates the 2018-2019 Chemistry Award recipients! See the list of winners here.
August 2017
Griffith Lab Welcomes Carolyn Hutchinson

Carolyn Hutchinson comes to Willamette from Iowa State University, where she completed her PhD in analytical chemistry in May 2017. Her research focused on using high resolution mass spectrometry to investigate the fast pyrolysis of biomass on a molecular level. While at Iowa State, she also served as president of the Queer* Graduate Student Association and as vice president of oSTEM ISU as well as being an active member of Pride Summit. She earned her bachelor's degree in chemistry at Christopher Newport University in Virginia along with a minor in Latin Classical Studies, graduating magna cum laude with departmental honors and as a member of Alpha Chi national college honor society. Carolyn is looking forward to a productive year of research and growth with the Griffith lab. So far, she has been enjoying the ample opportunities to get outdoors as well as the variety of dog sports readily available in the area.

August 2017
Chemistry Department Welcomes Professor Jonathan White

The Department of Chemistry is excited to welcome Visiting Assistant Professor of Chemistry Jonathan White to our department as a biochemist and chemical biologist. Jonathan comes to us from Oregon Health & Science University, where he developed new chemical tools to study heterogeneity in cancers. He completed his PhD degree at the University of Oregon, where he studied the reactivity of platinum anticancer compounds." Jonathan was born and raised in Oregon, and looks forward to teaching chemistry and biochemistry at Willamette!

July 2017
Todd Melgreen Joins Willamette as Chemical Hygiene Officer

Todd Melgreen, former chemist, manufacturing manager, and safety manager at Sarepta Therapeutics, brings his expertise to Willamette to serve the chemistry department as the lab/stockroom manager. He will also serve the greater Willamette community where safety in chemical hygiene is concerned. Beyond his days at Willamette, Todd is a white water rafter, gardener, and disc golfer.

May 2017
2017-2018 Chemistry Student Awards & Scholarships

The Department of Chemistry congratulates the 2017-2018 Chemistry Award recipients! See the list of winners here.

March 2017
David Griffith secures $325K National Science Foundation Grant
Professor David Griffith has been awarded a $325,157 National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to investigate the chemical factors that control halogenated estrogen and what happens to the hormone when it’s released into aquatic environments. Read about how this grant is creating research opportunities for undergraduate students at Willamette.
February 2016
Chemistry Professor Receives Tenure
Professor Alison Fisher received tenure on February 20th! Congratulations Alison! 
February 2015
Famous Alumni Makes Biochemistry News
 Nick Symmonds '06 is featured in American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology's February 2015 issue.
July 2015
Sarah Kirk Receives New Type of Research Grant from the M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust
With this three-year, $48,000 Murdock grant, Sarah will design and synthesize several derivatives of tetracaine, a local eye anesthetic.  These novel molecules have implications in the treatment of retinitis pigmentosa, a hereditary eye disease. The Murdock grant, with further support from Willamette’s Science Collaborative Research Program, will also fund five Willamette undergraduates to collaborate with Sarah in her research on tetracaine derivatives.
June 2015
M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust awards Alison Fisher second College Research Program for Life Sciences Grant

 It is our pleasure to announce that Associate Professor Alison Fisher in the Department of Chemistry has received word from the M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust that her grant through the College Research Program for Life Sciences has been renewed for two years in the amount of $36,100.  This grant will support the work of three undergraduate chemistry majors, who will collaborate with Professor Fisher on her research project, research that has also been supported by Willamette’s Science Collaborative Research Program (SCRP) and Alison’s laboratory start-up funds when she first began teaching at Willamette.

February 2015
A Great Article from the Washington Post
May 2014
2014 Chemistry Student Awards & Scholarships

The Department of Chemistry would like to congratulate all of the 2014 Chemistry award recipients! Chemistry Awards 2014

Three Chemistry Majors Chosen to be Webber Scholars

Congratulations to the new William Webber scholars! Chemistry majors Kira Egelhofer, Emily Miller, and Jennifer Grauberger, were recently awarded this wonderful opportunity to teach elementary students science. William B. Webber established the program to honor and encourage women studying in the sciences. Each year, 8-10 female biology, chemistry, environmental science and physics majors who are enthusiastic and knowledgeable in their area of research take the Willamette Science Outreach Program (WSOP) into 5th grade classrooms. Their task is to serve as mentors to foster scientific curiosity and understanding, and to provide encouragement to pursue an interest in science, math, and engineering. Mr. Webber saw his scholarship program as an opportunity to provide especially young girls with a female role model and mentor, while recognizing, honoring and financially supporting the scholars as they earn their science degrees from Willamette University.

New D.E. Goodney Mentorship Award Established

In honoring Prof. David Goodney, the 2014 chemistry seniors created the D.E. Goodney Mentorship Award. The award is given to a senior, chosen by their peers, who is a positive role model for the department, supporting their peers academically, emotionally, and co-curricularly. Donations made by alumni and faculty provide a monetary gift to accompany this award. This year’s first recipient was Lisa Broadstone. Congrats Lisa!

Seven Graduating Chemistry Majors Receive Senior Keys

Seven graduating seniors received Senior Keys: Lisa Broadstone, Rebecca Josephson, Chris Whitehead, Joe Harman, Garrett Davis, Emily Harvey, and Jeff Sirginson. Congratulations! Senior Keys are presented to members of the senior class who are the most outstanding and who go above and beyond and stand out for their meritorious service to the Associated Students of Willamette University.

Emily Miller '15 Receives Presidential Scholarship

Congratulations to Emily Miller on her recent Presidential Scholarship. Emily’s project, “Synthesis of Redox-Active Chitosan Derivatives for Use as Targeted Therapeutic Antioxidants” will be conducted with Associate Professor of Chemistry, Drew Duncan. The Presidential Scholarship is awarded to one or two stellar Willamette students who intend to carry out a research project during the summer of their junior year and into their senior year. The principal criteria for evaluation are research design, originality, and contribution to the discipline.

Chemistry Student, Shelby Decker '16 Awarded Gilman Scholarship

Shelby Decker '16, chemistry major and Chinese studies minor, has been awarded a Gilman Scholarship to help support his study abroad during summer 2014 at the CIEE intensive language program in Beijing. The Gilman Scholarship Program is sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State and is administered by the Institute for International Education. The program aims to encourage students to choose non-traditional study and intern destinations, especially those outside of Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand. The Gilman Scholarship Program aims to support students who have been traditionally under-represented in education abroad.

April 2014
Jenny Grauberger '15 Receives Gladys Anderson Emerson Scholarship

Jenny Grauberger ’15 — who devotes her education to empowering women and advancing medical research — is a national recipient of Iota Sigma Pi’s annual Gladys Anderson Emerson Scholarship, an annual award that recognizes excellence in chemistry or biochemistry.

MIT Professor Dr. Drennan Speaks at Willamette

Prof. Williamson and Prof. Duncan applied for a Jean Dreyfus Boissevain Lectureship to bring an esteemed biochemist to Willamette's campus. We got it! Willamette University is one of five undergraduate institutions to receive the Jean Dreyfus Boissevain Lectureship for Undergraduate Institutions, which funded a visit by MIT professor of chemistry, Catherine Drennan. Dr. Drennan worked with the William Webber Scholars at Highland Elementary, gave a community science pub talk at Gilgamesh Brewing, as well as gave a talk to chemists, students, and faculty here at Willamette in early April.

Miguel Correa '14 Receives Sigma Xi Research Grant

Sigma Xi, the scientific honorary society, awarded Miguel Correa ’14, a Grants-in-aid of Research grant for his senior thesis research. Chemistry major Miguel Correa, received a grant from the fall application. Only 20% of applicants were funded this round, and Miguel's award was one of only four in Oregon and Washington.

February 2014
Sarah Kirk and Alison Fisher Get Promoted

Please join us in congratulating Sarah Kirk and Alison Fisher for their recent promotions! Professor Kirk was promoted from Associate to full Professor. Professor Fisher was promoted from Assistant to Associate Professor.

January 2014
New Analytical Chemist, David Griffith, Joins Chemistry Department

We are excited to welcome Assistant Professor David Griffith to the department as our new Analytical Chemist. David comes to us after having completed a degree at Wood Hole Institute (MIT) in Environmental Chemistry and Chemical Oceanography. Most recently he taught at Bowdoin College in Maine.

December 2013
David Goodney Retires

After 37 years at Willamette, our beloved professor, colleague, and friend, David Goodney, has chosen to retire. The seniors have celebrated his legacy in several fun ways this past semester including a day in which all of the chemistry faculty dressed up in “Goodney attire” – blue button down shirts, ties, and mustaches! We will miss you so much, Dave!

Start-Up Grant for New Science Faculty from M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust

Sarah Kirk and the chemistry department received a Start-up Grant for New Science Faculty from the M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust. The grant provides $30,000 in matching funds toward a start-up package for our new analytical chemist.

May 2013
2013 Chemistry Student Awards

The Department of Chemistry would like to congratulate the 2013 Chemistry award recipients. Chemistry Awards 2013

Chem Major Rebecca Josephson '14 Receives Presidential Scholarship

Congratulations to Rebecca Josephson on her recent Presidential Scholarship. Becca’s project, “Binding Interactions of Anti-Cancer Ruthenium-Based Drug NAMI-A with Nucleic Acids” will be conducted with Professor of Chemistry, Karen McFarlane Holman. The Presidential Scholarship is awarded to one or two stellar Willamette students who intend to carry out a research project during the summer of their junior or senior year. The principal criteria for evaluation are research design, originality, and contribution to the discipline.

September 2012
Chemistry Students Featured in SCRP Spotlight Piece

Check out the research Alex Lantz '13 and Geri Laudenbach '13 did over this summer with Prof. Alison Fisher.

August 2012
WU Chemistry Alum Michael Harris '10 Receives NSF Graduate Fellowship

WU Chemistry alumnus, Michael Harris ’10 received a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship to support his research in organic chemistry.

February 2012
Professor Andrew Duncan Awarded Tenure
Professor Duncan's excellent work both in the lab and the classroom has culminated in his recent promotion to Associate Professor and tenure award. Professor Duncan works primarily with synthetic organic and organometallic molecules with an eye towards developing new methods for making large-ring molecules. His expertise and enthusiasm for his work make him a coveted mentor for many students and we are thrilled to finally say that he will be a permanent figure in our department. Congratulations Professor Duncan!
November 2011
Murdock awards General Scientific Research Grant

On the heels of their NSF Major Research Instrumentation grant, Dr. Emma Coddington and five of her colleagues – David Altman, Jason Duncan, Alison Fisher, Barbara Stebbins-Boaz and Gary Tallman – have been awarded a General Scientific Research Grant in the amount of $171,000 from the M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust to add important functionality to Willamette’s new imaging facility. With the new funds the team plans to purchase 5 critical items including a 34 channel photomultiplier tube, a BiG detector and fluorescence correlation spectroscopy, additional microscope objectives, humidity and carbon dioxide controls, and an additional image analysis workstation. The addition of this grant speaks to the very impressive efforts of our science faculty to provide our students with the opportunities and equipment to address questions at the forefront of scientific research.

September 2011
Transforming Undergraduate Education in Science (TUES) Program Grant

Sarah Kirk and Todd Silverstein have been awarded a two-year, $199,846 grant from the Transforming Undergraduate Education in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (TUES) Program through the National Science Foundation. With these funds the chemistry department plans to create and evaluate a new laboratory model for instrumental analysis and biochemistry for use at Willamette and other predominantly undergraduate institutions including Chemeketa Community College. The course design will integrate Instrumental Analysis with the Biochemistry Laboratory, where students are exposed to three of the four major classes of biomolecules and introduced to many key methods in instrumental analysis from all major subdisciplines of chemistry. Furthermore, students will be taught in a progressive instructional style that allows them to develop as research scientists.

National Science Foundation's Major Research Instrumentation Project
Emma Coddington and 5 of her colleagues-David Altman, Barbara Stebbins-Boaz, Alison Fisher, Jason Duncan, and Gary Tallman have been awarded $526,788 from the National Science Foundation's Major Research Instrumentation Project. Their project entitled "MRI: Acquisition of a laser scanning confocal system to advance research and training in biology, chemistry, and physics at Willamette University" will use the funds to purchase a Zeiss LSM-710 confocal microscope and develop a Core Imaging Facility on campus. This collaboration between chemistry, biology and physics will allow an estimated 400 students from intro to advanced courses to utilize this fantastic resource. Notably, the NSF award the proposal three excellent designations and one reviewer went so far as to say "This should be a model grant application for anyone applying to the MRI program. It is the best written and presented MRI application I have ever read".
May 2011
2011 Chemistry Department Student Awards

The Chemistry Department would like to congratulate all of the 2011 Chemistry award recipients. Chemistry Awards 2011

Frances Chapple Award in Physical Chemistry
The Department of Chemistry is pleased to announce the Frances Chapple Award that has been established this year to recognize an outstanding student in the field of physical chemistry. The award is named in honor of Professor Emerita Frances Chapple who has been an inspiration to many young chemists throughout her distinguished career at Willamette.

The first recipient of the Frances Chapple Award is chemistry junior Estella Yee.
Hewlett Grant for Experimental Biochemistry

The Chemistry Department was awarded a Hewlett grant for the curricular revision of Experimental Biochemistry I and II (CHEM 346/347) for the 2011-2012 fiscal year. Prof. Alison Fisher, Prof. Todd Silverstein, and Prof. Sarah Kirk will use the grant in their continuing enhancement of the biochemistry track curriculum at Willamette.

February 2011
Promotion to Full Professor

The Department of Chemistry is pleased to announce that Prof. Karen Holman and Prof. Chuck Williamson have both been promoted to the rank of full professor. Congratulations to both of them on this milestone in their careers.

November 2010
2010 Oregon Professor of the Year - Chemistry's Karen Holman

Professor of Chemistry, Karen Holman, was named the 2010 Oregon Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. The Foundation presents this prestigious award to one professor in each state in recognition of excellence in undergraduate education. This is an outstanding honor for Professor Holman that recognizes her passion as an educator and mentor, and her talent to engage students in the study of chemistry.

Professor of the Year

September 2010
Merit Award for Excellence in Teaching

Prof. Andrew Duncan recently received a Merit Award for Excellence in Teaching. This award is given annually to faculty and staff at Willamette who display excellence in various aspects of their career development.

May 2010
Chemistry Student Award Recipients

The Chemistry Department would like to congratulate all of the 2010 Chemistry award recipients: Chemistry Awards 2010

April 2010
Math and Chemistry student Jeff Weber named Hertz Fellow

Chemistry senior Jeff Weber was awarded a prestigious $250,000 fellowship from the Hertz Foundation. The award is the nation's most generous doctoral fellowship and will fund Jeff during his graduate studies.

Awards won by Charlotte Osborne

In addition to other awards and scholarships, chemistry junior Charlotte Osborne has recently received the Dick Van Santen Award and a Goldwater Scholarship. The Dick Van Santen Award is given by the Portland Section of the American Chemical Society to an outstanding undergraduate student in Oregon who is planning to pursue a career in chemistry. The Goldwater Scholarship program provides funding for undergraduate students planning careers in math, the sciences, or engineering.

Sarah Kirk awarded a Partners in Science grant

M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust has awarded Prof. Sarah Kirk a $15,000 grant through the Partners in Science Program. This award will enable Greg Whatley, a science teacher at South Salem High School, to partner with Prof. Kirk to conduct research at Willamette University in the summer of 2010 and 2011.

Alumni donations

The Chemistry Department would like to thank alumni Benjamin Leipzig (2007) and Steve Sloop (1987) who have each recently donated to the department. These contributions will help support chemistry students at Willamette as they do research towards their senior theses.

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Willamette University

Department of Chemistry

900 State Street
Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.
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