2017 Scholars

ARCS Foundation Oregon is honored to present awards to these outstanding scholars chosen by the scholar selection committees at Oregon Health & Science University,  Oregon State University and the University of Oregon.

The ARCS Foundation Scholar Award is $18,000, payable over three years at $6,000 per year, with each award presented in the fall at the annual Scholar Awards Luncheon "Recognizing Genius."

Third Year Scholars

Our 20 third year scholars have reached their final year of funding from ARCS Foundation. Many have at least one to three more years before they complete their PhD programs.  We will stay in touch, and we look forward to attending their dissertation defenses. We maintain contact with all of our alumni scholars and follow their progress throughout their careers, celebrating their achievements and publicizing their work.

Samuel Berk
  • Hewitt Family Scholar Award
  • Given by Sharon and Henry Hewitt
  • OHSU, School of Medicine, Program in Molecular & Cellular Biosciences
  • Research Interest: identify and characterize causative agents in high-pressure associated glaucoma. There is a large knowledge gap connecting high-pressures to eventual glaucoma. Using state of the art biochemistry and pharmacological methods Sam hopes to bridge that gap.
Eran Brown
  • Rubinstein/Ames Scholar Award
  • Given by Deanne & Dick Rubinstein and Kathleen & Robert Ames
  • OHSU, School of Medicine, Biomedical Engineering
  • Research Interest: the application of engineering principles to problems in translational cardiovascular medicine. Specifically, his research involves the use of non-invasive imaging to identify targetable processes in heart disease and to evaluate the efficacy of novel therapies aimed at reducing chronic disease burden and acute events such as heart attacks and strokes.
Patrick Clary
  • ARCS Foundation Oregon Chapter Scholar Award
  • OSU, College of Engineering, School of Mechanical, Industrial & Manufacturing Engineering
  • Research Interest: making bipedal robots move with agility comparable to humans and animals. His work integrates his lab’s expertise in designing physically agile robots with artificial intelligence methods for learning and reasoning about behavior. Patrick wants to make it possible to use legged robots in everyday life, which requires them to move quickly, robustly, and safely. Patrick is helping to start a company, Agility Robotics, which will make these robots commercially available.
Susan Cooper
  • Josselyn Family Scholar Award
  • Given by Jill V. Josselyn
  • UO, Department of Chemistry
  • Research Interest: synthesis of spinel iron oxide nanoparticles and their nanoscale structure which gives them enhanced properties, enabling their use in cancer treatment and detection and in cleaning water of heavy metals. Susan is also interested in the commercialization of scientific discoveries that have an environmental impact and has been involved in a variety of innovation activities on campus.
Claire Couch
  • Miner/Strickfaden & Pittman Award
  • Given by Geri & John Miner and Pam Strickfaden & Michael Pittman
  • OSU, College of Science, Integrative Biology
  • Research Interest: connections between the microbiome and health in African buffalo. She is interested in discovering the underlying factors that determine differences between individuals’ microbial communities, and how those differences contribute to disease susceptibility.
Holly Dixon
  • ARCS Foundation Oregon Chapter Scholar Award
  • OSU, College of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Molecular and Environmental Toxicology
  • Research Interest: using novel silicone wristbands to measure people’s exposure to a wide-range of organic chemicals. Holly compares wristbands to other traditional chemical exposure assessment methods in order to demonstrate that researchers can use wristbands to study the relationship between chemical exposure and human health. Additionally, Holly works with cohorts in New York and Oregon to understand how chemical exposure influences asthma development. 
Gretchen Engbring
  • Campbell Foundation Scholar Award
  • Given by The Campbell Foundation
  • OSU, College of Forestry, Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society
  • Research Interest: studies the multiple purposes, trade-offs and associated decision-making processes of Mexican Community Forest Enterprises (CFEs). By identifying multi-purpose conflicts and furthering knowledge of how communities who commercially manage their forests navigate trade-offs, Gretchen’s work fosters more transparent and deliberate decisions, allows for the mitigation of undesirable outcomes, and helps to avoid disillusionment or disappointment over unanticipated consequences.
Suzi Frase
  • Beeler/Joseph SON Scholar Award
  • Given by Muffy & Bill Beeler and Kate Joseph & Tom Murray
  • OHSU, School of Nursing
  • Research Interest: preterm premature rupture of membranes (PPROM), a common cause of preterm birth. The aim is to characterize PPROM as an extreme phenotype to identify trait-associated rare variants among women who have PPROM. Identifying rare and infrequent variations that are present in women with PPROM will develop a better understanding of etiological underpinnings and implications for treatment.
Samantha Friedrich
  • Harrison/Ridgley Scholar Award
  • Given by Janis & Bob Harrison and Marilyn & Bob Ridgley
  • OHSU, School of Medicine, Program in Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Research Interest: neural and genetic mechanisms that have evolved to support speech and language. She studies the brains and genomes of songbirds because they, like humans, must learn their vocalizations through imitation using specialized brain networks. Through her research, she hopes to discover how patterns of gene expression within the song network optimize a brain for this amazing communicative capacity.
Caroline Glidden
  • Roche/ARCS Foundation Scholar Award
  • OSU, College of Science, Integrative Biology
  • Research Interest: host-parasite interactions in African buffalo, particularly how individuals differ in their resistance and tolerance of various gastro-intestinal and hemoparasites. Her research goal is to understand why individuals differ in their host defense and to predict ecological-evolutionary trajectories for population composition and parasite persistence. Understanding how host defense heterogeneity influences eco-evo dynamics of host-parasite interactions allows for better understanding of population response to epidemics in terms of epidemic duration and number of affected individuals. 
Elizabeth Holzenthal
  • The Karen Irons Medicis Scholar Award
  • Given by Diane & Dick Alexander
  • OSU, College of Engineering, School of Civil and Construction Engineering
  • Research Interest: the question of how coastal communities can best prepare for changing climates and storm patterns: which hazard mitigation strategies provide the most effective and sustainable protection of coastal communities and ecosystems. Currently, Elizabeth is developing a model that will enhance engineers’ understanding of how “green” infrastructure projects might evolve under projected environmental conditions. 
Katja Kasimatis
  • ARCS Foundation Oregon Chapter Scholar Award
  • UO, Department of Biology, Institute of Ecology and Evolution
  • Research Interest: evolution of male reproductive proteins to better understand the complexity of fertilization. Sexual reproduction is one of the most powerful organizing principles in biology with profound consequences for the structure and function of individuals as well as the diversification of species. Additionally, by developing a solid understanding of reproductive tract dynamics in a model organism, we can gain powerful genetic insights to the basis of infertility. 
Karin Kralicek
  • Stimson Lumber Company Scholar Award
  • Given by Stimson Lumber Company
  • OSU, College of Forestry, Department of Forest Engineering and Resource Management
  • Research Interest: understanding the effect of climate change on the distribution of tree species in the Pacific Northwest. Alterations in precipitation and temperature regimes are likely to significantly impact the location of suitable habitat. Areas that become unsuitable might experience increased levels of tree mortality and diminished levels of tree regeneration. Identifying such areas can inform decisions on what species to plant and where.
Daniel Miller
  • Caron & Larry Ogg Endowed Scholar Award
  • Given by Caron & Larry Ogg
  • OHSU, School of Medicine, Neuroscience Graduate Program
  • Research Interest: investigates how the protein dystroglycan guides multiple aspects of brain development, focusing specifically on how it controls formation of specific connections between neurons called synapses. Mutations in genes that reduce dystroglycan function cause muscular dystrophy and brain abnormalities associated with increased risk of seizures, intellectual disability, and autism. Dan’s research aims to uncover how loss of dystroglycan at synapses affects brain function. 
Peter Rindal
  • Marilyn Bergen Scholar Award
  • Given by Marilyn Bergen
  • OSU, College of Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
  • Research Interest: computer security with a special interest in cryptographic protocols for secure computation. These computer programs allow a group of participants to compute on their combined set of private data, e.g. medical records, while only revealing the final output. 
Mariya Shapiro
  • Susan & William Smith Scholar Award
  • Given by Susan & William Smith
  • OHSU, School of Medicine, Program in Molecular and Cellular Biosciences
  • Research Interest: understand how antibodies can block HIV transmission from mothers to their babies. Specifically, she is studying how antibodies administered after exposure might enable the infant’s immune system to destroy HIV-infected cells. Knowing the mechanisms would help doctors optimize treatment, allowing mothers in resource-limited areas to breastfeed more safely and lower HIV transmission risk. 
Sheanna Steingass
  • Reiersgaard Scholar Award
  • Given by Julie & William Reiersgaard
  • OSU, College of Agricultural Sciences, Fisheries and Wildlife
  • Research Interest: examines the ecology of a marine mammal on the Oregon coast, the Pacific harbor seal.  She is conducting a multi-year study of at-sea habitat use and diet of seals in Oregon using satellite tracking and isotope analysis. Her research aims to understand use of inland waters, marine reserves and future wave energy sites by seals.
Daniel Watkins
  • ARCS Foundation Oregon Chapter Scholar Award
  • OSU, College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences
  • Research Interest: uses large-scale Earth system models, satellite data, and weather balloon records to investigate interactions between the diminishing sea ice cover and the near-surface atmosphere in the Arctic. Improved understanding of Arctic climate processes has potential to lead to better forecasts for aviation and marine navigation.
Nancy Williams
  • Meigs/Fish Scholar Award
  • Given by Laurie & Gilbert Meigs and Sally & Jerry Fish
  • OSU, College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences
  • Research Interest: marine carbon cycle in the Southern Ocean around Antarctica and its role in climate. She uses robotic floats to analyze the spatial, seasonal, and interannual variability of ocean biogeochemistry in this region. She plans to use observations to provide a benchmark against which earth system models can be compared and to provide suggestions for how those models can be improved.
Doug Zeppenfeld
  • ARCS Foundation Oregon Chapter Scholar Award
  • OHSU, School of Medicine, Neuroscience Graduate Program
  • Research Interest: the convergence of different senses in the auditory system. In addition to receiving auditory input from the cochlea, early auditory nuclei receive input from diverse sensory pathways including the vestibular system, somatosensory system, and neuromodulator systems. The role of these inputs in manipulating auditory processing is unclear. By utilizing high resolution imaging and electrophysiology, Doug is elucidating the role of these inputs in both healthy auditory processing and in the setting of tinnitus.
Second Year Scholars

Our 24 second year scholars represent a broad range of scientific interests.  They also represent our chapter's commitment to continually seek new academic partnerships.

Michael Crawford
  • ARCS Foundation Oregon Chapter Scholar Award
  • UO, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • Research Interest: properties of carbon nanohoop molecules when they are optically excited using a laser, collecting information on behavior that may lead to practical application in electronic devices.

 

Jenny Firkins
  • Giesy/Pedersen Scholar Award
  • Given by Barbara Giesy and Patty Pedersen
  • OHSU, School of Nursing
  • Research Interest: effect of caregiver’s well-being on the quality of life and treatment outcomes of adults with brain cancer.
Dallas Foster
  • Emmerson Family Scholar Award
  • Given by Ann & Ron Emmerson
  • OSU, College of Science, Mathematics
  • Research Interest: implementing mathematical and computational techniques to help understand and model phenomenons in fields like climate and social science where complex dynamics simultaneously occur in different time and spatial scales.
Lucas Freiberg
  • Mark H. & Leslie M. Workman Scholar Award
  • Given by Leslie & Mark Workman
  • OSU, College of Engineering, School of Chemical, Biological and Environmental Engineering
  • Research Interest: novel, energy-related processes and technologies, including the tri-reforming process for synthesis gas production and systems for solar-thermochemical energy storage.
Gisela Abigail Gonzalez-Montiel
  • Goodwin/Rothschild Scholar Award
  • Given by Sheila A. & J. Michael Goodwin and Sara & Robert Rothschild
  • OSU, College of Science, Chemistry
  • Research Interest: bioprospecting symbiotic fungi associated with Oregon Douglas Fir Trees for human health application by investigating potentially new bioactive metabolites.
Cedric Hagen
  • ARCS Foundation Oregon Scholar Award
  • OSU, College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences
  • Research Interest: employs both fieldwork and modeling to better understand how changes in ocean chemistry manifest in biological and landscape evolution on ancient Earth.
Shannon Hennessy
  • ARCS Foundation Oregon Scholar Award
  • OSU, College of Science, Integrative Biology
  • Research Interest: impacts of predator foraging behavior on intertidal prey communities along Oregon's rocky coasts.
Paige Hovenga
  • Sally & Cecil Drinkward Scholar Award
  • Given by Sally Anne & Cecil W. Drinkward
  • OSU, College of Engineering, School of Civil and Construction Engineering
  • Research Interest: researching how coastal dunes develop and evolve over time to better predict coastal hazard vulnerability related to climate change and sea level rise.
Christal Johnson
  • Josephson Scholar Award
  • Given by Jean & Rich Josephson
  • OSU, College of Forestry
  • Research Interest: how restoring spatial heterogeneity to forests might contribute to resilience to climate and fire.
John Koberstein
  • Vaux Scholar Award
  • Given by Missy Vaux Hall
  • OHSU, School of Medicine, Neuroscience Graduate Program
  • Reseach Interest: developing improved fluorescent protein tools for measuring molecular signals involved in neurodegeneration.
Alexandria Lassetter
  • James & Lila Miller Scholar Award
  • Given by Ted & Daisy Miller
  • OHSU, School of Medicine, Neuroscience
  • Research Interest: cellular mechanisms of axon degeneration with the hope of gaining a better understanding of how these processes might be hijacked in neurodegenerative diseases.
Calvin Lee
  • Lynn & Steve Pratt Scholar Award
  • Given by Lynn & Steve Pratt
  • OSU, College of Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
  • Research Interest: aims to improve the efficiency and performance of analog-to-digital conversion which may be applied to a variety of applications ranging from ultra low power biomedical technology to high performance wireless communication systems.
Emily Leff
  • Patti & Becky Warner Scholar Award
  • Patti Warner & Becky Warner
  • OHSU, School of Medicine, Neuroscience Graduate Program
  • Research Interest: mechanisms mediating opioid desensitization and tolerance using electrophysiology techniques. 
Jordan Lueras
  • Director/Nugent/Ragen Scholar Award
  • Given by Marcia & Alan Director, Sharon & Mike Nugent and Lee & Ron Ragen
  • OHSU, School of Medicine, Behavioral Neuroscience Graduate Program
  • Research Interest: effects of adolescent alcohol use on brain development and cognition using functional magnetic resonance imaging.
Thomas Navis
  • Harold Schnitzer Scholar Award
  • Given by The Harold & Arlene Schnitzer CARE Foundation
  • OHSU, School of Medicine, Behavioral Neuroscience Graduate Program
  • Research Interest: neurobiology of drug and alcohol addiction and how stress modulates response to drug-paired cues, increasing likelihood of relapse.
William "Bryce" Penta
  • The Silver Endowed Scholar Award
  • Given by Barbara & Philip Silver
  • OSU, College of Science, Microbiology
  • Research Interest: phytoplankton physiological responses, specifically how different groups of phytoplankton and their specific physiological responses influence global primary productivity models. 
Alexandra Quackenbush
  • OHSU ARCS Scholar Award
  • Given by Joan Foley & Per Jarnberg and Jane & Joe Gray
  • OHSU, School of Medicine, Cell, Developmental & Cancer Biology
  • Research Interest: studying novel postpartum liver biology, specifically investigating the tissue remodeling process that returns the liver to a homeostatic condition after pregnancy and lactation.
Amber Rolland
  • ARCS Foundation Oregon Scholar Award
  • UO, Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry
  • Research Interest: uses native mass spectrometry to study and characterize membrane protein-lipid interactions in pore-forming toxins such as anthrax and toxins produced by sea anemones.
Matthew Slattery
  • Silver/OSU/ARCS Foundation Oregon University Matched Endowment
  • Given by Barbara & Philip Silver
  • OSU, College of Ag Science, Environmental Toxicology
  • Research Interest: collaborating with the Environmental Protection Agency to determine how contaminants move through soil systems and disrupt plant-microbe interactions.
Gail A. Stonebarger
  • Brodie Roberts Cunningham Memorial Scholar Award
  • Given by Lynn & Steve Pratt
  • OHSU, School of Medicine, Behavioral Neuroscience Graduate Program
  • Research Interest: the roles of sex hormones and genetics on sex dimorphisms and differences in cognitive processes, using various preclinical models.
Erik Toraason
  • Anderson Family/UO/ARCS Foundation Oregon University Matched Endowment
  • Given by Jamie & Michael Anderson
  • UO, Department of Biology
  • Research Interest: utilizing roundworms to understand how developing eggs choose which mechanism they will repair DNA damage with, ensuring faithful inheritance of the genome.
Jennifer Ventralla
  • Precision Castparts Scholar Award
  • OSU, College of Engineering, School of Mechanical, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Research Interest: developing a monitoring device that quantifies the impact and adoption of clean cookstoves in developing countries.
Sydney Weber
  • Swindells/OHSU/ARCS Foundation Oregon University Matched Endowment
  • Given by Susie & George Swindells
  • OHSU, School of Medicine, Behavioral Neuroscience Graduate Program
  • Research Interest: brain mechanisms that contribute to learning and memory and how those mechanisms change in healthy and diseased aging.
Sophia Wensman
  • Ogg/OSU/ARCS Foundation Oregon University Matched Endowment
  • Given by Caron & Larry Ogg
  • OSU, College of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, Ocean Ecology & Biogeochemistry
  • Research Interest: mitigate the impacts of ocean acidification utilizing U/Ca ratios in oyster shells to determine best management practices for shell planting and oyster culture.
First Year Scholars

We welcome our 24 first year scholars.  We look forward to meeting them at the Scholar Picnic in September.

Anthony Alberti
  • The ARCS Foundation Oregon Chapter Scholar
  • OSU, College of Engineering, Nuclear Science and Engineering
  • Research interest: nuclear reactor physics, computational radiation transport, reduced order modeling
Timothy Bates
  • The Joan and Bill Bailey Scholar
  • Given by Joan and Bill Bailey
  • OHSU, School of Medicine, Program in Molecular & Cellular Biosciences
  • Research interest: understanding biological systems at a molecular level
Lindsay Benage
  • The James R. Kuse Family Foundation Scholar
  • Given by the Kuse Foundation
  • OSU, College of Engineering, Chemical, Biological and Environmental Engineering
  • Research interest: biomaterials and neuroengineering
Michael Boller
  • The ARCS Foundation Oregon Chapter Scholar
  • OSU, College of Engineering, Electrical and Computer Science
  • Research interest: energy systems including power systems and smart grids
Sean Boulanger
  • The OHSU Department of Radiation Medicine and OSU College of Engineering, School of Nuclear Science & Engineering Scholar
  • OSU, College of Science, Chemistry
  • Research interest: investigation of the structure-function relationships of bio-molecules and novel materials using FSRS (Femtosecond stimulated Roman spectroscopy
Erik Burlingame
  • The Julie and Wayne Drinkward Scholar
  • Given by Julie and Wayne Drinkward
  • OHSU, School of Medicine, Neuroscience Graduate Program
  • Research interest: computerization of biology, specifically interested in machine learning applications in the structural biology of the nervous system
Brenda Cisneros
  • The Thomas J. Hammond Scholar
  • Given by Cheryl Legate Hammond
  • OSU, College of Pharmacy
  • Research interest: drug discovery and development; natural products chemistry
Daniel Elson
  • The Gretchen Sturm and Judy Lanfri Cascadia Scholar
  • Given by Gretchen Sturm and Judy Lanfri
  • OSU, College of Agricultural Sciences
  • Research interest: cancer therapeutics; nuclear receptors
Christine Ghetu
  • The Sue Hitselberger and Pat Reser Scholar
  • Given by Sue Hitselberger and Pat Reser
  • OSU, College of Agricultural Sciences
  • Research Interest: transport and fate of pollutants in water and soil and their effects on the environment
Deborah Glosser
  • The Christiansen Family Trust Scholar
  • Given by the Christiansen Family Trust
  • OSU, College of Engineering, School of Civil and Construction Engineering
  • Research Interest: materials science
Kyle Gustafson
  • The Fairway Fund ARCS Endowed Scholar
  • Given by Susan and George Swindells Endowment
  • OHSU, School of Medicine, Department of Biomedical Engineering
  • Research Interest: to develop chips for the isolation, detection, and characterization of proteins from bodily fluids that indicate the earliest forms of cancer
Charles Heller
  • The Bechen Family Foundation Scholar
  • Given by the Bechen Family Foundation
  • OHSU, School of Medicine
  • Research Interest: how the nervous system processes and encodes sensory input
David Jacobs
  • The ARCS Foundation Oregon Chapter Scholar
  • OHSU, School of Medicine
  • Research Interest: substance abuse, anxiety, cognition, stress and the interplay among these factors in psychiatric illness
Rebecca Keller
  • The Ann and Bill Swindells Charitable Trust Scholar
  • Given by The Ann and Bill Swindells Charitable Trust
  • UO, Department of Chemistry
  • Research Interest: quantum chemistry
Dakota Kliamovich
  • The Bettsy and Wally Preble Scholar
  • Given by Bettsy and Wally Preble
  • OHSU, School of Medicine, Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Research Interest: neural circuitry and prefrontal-limbic control of responses to stress in childhood and early adolescence; identifying factors that may underlie a susceptibility to the development of psychiatric conditions
Jennifer Leaf
  • The Jarvis/McGrath Scholar
  • Given by Anne & Peter Jarvis and Suzanne & Bernie McGrath
  • OSU, College of Engineering, Mechanical, Industrial, & Manufacturing Engineering
  • Research Interest: robotic learning and planning in unstructured environments
Mollie Marr
  • The Award for Development of Research Scientists Scholar
  • Given by Dianne Rodway & John Becker and Adrianne & Lee Peterson
  • OHSU, School of Medicine, Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Research Interest: how adversity and traumatic experiences affect the brain, emotions, and behavior, and the development of psychopathology
Danielle Mathieson
  • The Quinsey Family Foundation Scholar
  • Given by Jean and Ralph Quinsey
  • OHSU, School of Medicine
  • Research Interest: neurodegeneration
Katie McConnell
  • The ARCS Foundation Oregon Chapter Scholar
  • OSU, College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences
  • Research Interest: coral virology
Andrew Morris
  • The Florence and Mike Nudelman Scholar
  • Given by a friend
  • UO, Department of Biology
  • Research Interest: soil biogeochemistry and microbial ecology of rainforest conversion to agriculture in the Brazilian Amazon
Martijn Oostrom
  • The ARCS Foundation Oregon Chapter Scholar
  • OSU, College of Science, Department of Mathematics
  • Research Interest: modeling optimization
Elizabeth Schuyler
  • The ARCS Foundation Oregon Chapter Scholar
  • OSU, College of Agricultural Sciences
  • Research Interest: mule deer response to multiple and interacting management techniques, as well as natural disturbances.
Clayton Sodergren
  • The Nancy and Dodd Fischer ARCS Foundation Oregon Scholar (OSU Matched Endowment)
  • Given by Nancy and Dodd Fischer
  • OSU, College of Forestry
  • Research Interest: coniferous forest disturbance ecology in western North America
Thi Troung
  • The Pacific Scholar
  • Given by Elisabeth and Peter Lyon
  • OSU, College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences
  • Research Interest: mantle geochemistry, petrology and volcanology of ocean islands, investigating the chemical dynamics that govern the interior of the Earth.