Past Events


The Annual Scholar Event showcases the ARCS Foundation mission, our scholars, and the universities we support.
 Join us in supporting the ARCS scholars who will be our future leaders in driving innovation and the economy for decades to come.

2022 Scholar Awards Event

2021 Scholar Awards Event

2020 Scholar Awards Event

Due to COVID-19 we pivoted the luncheon to a virtual event

2019 Scholar Awards Event

This year's program featured a panel discussion with three ARCS alums who discussed their research and how it will benefit society. View the program.

Shea Steingass, PhD from Oregon State University
Shea focused her research on the spatial habitat distribution of Pacific harbor seals in Oregon. Today she serves as Marine Mammal Program Leader for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. 

Erik Toraason, a PhD candidate at the University of Oregon’s Institute of Molecular Biology 
Erik is interested in how cells repair DNA damage that underlies many diseases, including infertility and cancers.

Garth Tormoen, MD/PhD from OHSU, is a chief resident in the Department of Radiation Medicine
Garth's research interests involve understanding the interactions among blood coagulation, anticoagulants and tumor biology with special focus on how these influence the response to radiotherapy.

Jackie Wirz, PhD, and an Assistant Dean in the OHSU School of Medicine, served as the moderator.

LEFT TO RIGHT: Garth Tormoen, Shea Steingass, Jackie Wirz (Moderator), Erik Toraason

2018 Scholar Awards Event

This year's program featured a panel discussion "Science Up Close & Personal" with three stellar ARCS Oregon Alums. 

Katja Kasimatis - PhD candidate in Institute of Ecology and Evolution, University of Oregon
Katja studies the evolution of make reproductive proteins to better understand the complexity of fertilization. Sexual reproduction is one of the most powerful orgainizing principles in biology with profound consequences for the structure and function of individuals as well as the diversificatin of species.

Tyler Hulett PhD - OHSU
Tyler earned his PhD from Oregon Health & Science University in molecular microbiology and immunology.  He works as an immune-oncologist at the Earle A. Chiles Research Institute at Providence Portland Cancer Center.  He hopes to learn how the immune system identifies and targets cancer antigens, so physicians can use these targets to monitor and adapt treatments and design cancer-treating vaccines.

Wade Marcum PhD - Kearney Faculty Scholar, College of Engineering, OSU; Associate Head of the School of Nuclear Science and Engineering
Wade was honored with the Landis Young Member Engineering Award this year at the American Nuclear Society annual meeting.  He was cited for his "multidisciplinary contributions to the field of reactor safety analysis." Wade has been at OSU since 2010.

Moderator Harriet Nembhard PhD, Eric R. Smith Professor of Engineering; OSU School Head, Mechanical, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
Nembhard's expertise is in industrial engineering and operations research. Her work focuses on improving complex systems across manufacturing and healthcare.  Her research has led to advances including a patented manufacturing process for small-scale medical devices, simulation models for assessing emergency department patient inflows and tools for quantifying research translation. She is a member of ARCS Oregon.


Speakers at Past Annual Scholar Awards Events

Dr. Geri Richmond is known for her study of complex surface chemistry, her service on national science boards, and her work advancing women in science. Richmond is a professor of chemistry and the Presidential Chair in Science at the University of Oregon. She serves as U.S. science envoy to Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Burma, and Thailand, is a member of the National Science Board, the National Academy of Sciences, and is a fellow of multiple associations and societies, including the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS), and the Association for Women in Science. She co-founded COACh, the Committee on the Advancement of Women Chemists, working to increase the number of women scientists and support their success through programs and mentoring. President Barack Obama awarded Dr. Richmond a National Medal of Science, the highest scientific honor bestowed by the United States. In 2018 she will receive the 2018 Priestly Medal, the highest honor of the American Chemical Society.



Dr. Reyes is the co-founder of NuScale Power and co-designer of the NuScale passively-cooled small nuclear reactor. He is an internationally recognized expert on passive safety system design, testing and operations for nuclear power plants. He has served as a United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) technical expert on passive safety systems. He is a co-inventor on over 100 patents granted or pending in 20 countries. He is the recipient of two national awards; the 2013 Nuclear Energy Advocate Award and the 2014 American Nuclear Society Thermal Hydraulic Division Technical Achievement Award. Dr. Reyes is an endowed Chair Professor of Nuclear Engineering at Oregon State University (OSU) and former Department Head. Dr. Reyes was the OSU principal investigator for the Westinghouse AP600 and AP1000 certification test programs sponsored by the USNRC, the U.S. Department of Energy and Westinghouse.


Louis J. Picker, M.D. is currently the associate director of the Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute, a senior scientist in the Pathobiology and Immunology Division of the Oregon National Primate Research Center, and a Professor in the Oregon Health & Science University’s Departments of Pathology and Molecular Microbiology and Immunology. Under Dr. Picker’s leadership, human trials of a potential HIV vaccine could begin as soon as 2016. The vaccine could prevent transmission of HIV, or lead to a cure for those already infected. Picker’s HIV-fighting efforts are among the most closely watched in the world on the strength of research last year showing his vaccine eradicated Simian Immunodeficiency Virus – a closely related cousin to HIV. So Picker’s work holds some of the greatest promise for a disease, AIDS, that killed 1.5 million people worldwide last year.  Read about Louis J. Picker, M.D. and watch this video.


Kathie L. Olsen, PhD, former Deputy Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF), former Chief Scientist of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and now Founder and Managing Director of ScienceWorks International, LLC spoke about the "Panoramic Perspective on Science Policy" at the 2014 luncheon. Her premise was that ARCS Foundation is as important or even more critical in today's world than when ARCS was started in 1958 by a group of women following the Soviet Union's launch of Sputnik. Olsen explained why research is the core foundation for innovation that will sustain global quality of life and economic vitality. Read an overview of Dr. Olsen's speech. Read to learn about Dr. Olsen's impressive career.


Mark Abbott PhD, Dean of the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences at Oregon State University, showed the 2013 luncheon audience how the oceans have evolved and continue to change as one complex component of planet Earth. Abbott, also president of The Oceanography Society, said that ninety percent of all global trade is conducted on the ocean, with far reaching economic impact. The ocean as a food source is being depleted, even as we fish deeper waters. Dr. Abbott noted that the oceans are complex, and changes to currents and circulation last for hundreds of years. He recommends reading Michael Nielsen’s book, “Reinventing Discovery: The New Era of Networked Science."


Dr. Kent ThornburgDirector of the Moore Institute for Nutrition and Wellness at Oregon Health & Science University, completely captivated the audience with his presentation: Nutrition Therapy: the Next Generation Medicine at the October 2012 luncheon. Dr. Thornburg’s research informed us that the first thousand days after conception through age 2 have an impact on fetal development in ways that we never imagined.  It is not just poor nutrition that creates problems for a developing fetus – the combination of stress and a nutrient-deficient diet can trigger an eightfold increase in the probability of diabetes and heart disease.


Dr. Craig Barrett, retired chairman and CEO of Intel Corporation, had the rapt attention of the audience at the October 2011 gathering at the Portland Art Museum. His topic was "U.S. Competitiveness in the 21st Century" and we developed a new appreciation for "fortune cookies." Dr. Barrett's three fortune cookies, shared that afternoon are:
  • The world will always accept talent with open arms
  • A small deed done is better than a great deed planned
  • If you want to win you have to choose to compete


William H. Gates Sr. spoke at the October 2010 event to mark Portland Chapter's million dollar milestone for scholar awards. A grant from the Gates Foundation to ARCS Foundation National provided seed money to start our chapter. His topic was “Making a Difference: The Value of Philanthropy in Education.” Mr. Gates is co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He guides the foundation’s vision and strategic direction and serves as an advocate for its key issues.