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Ph.D. students awarded ARCS Foundation scholarships

Two doctoral students win 2017 ARCS Foundation Oregon scholars

The College of Science is delighted to have two doctoral students among the 24 young scientists and engineers selected as 2017 ARCS (Achievement Rewards for College Scientists) Foundation Oregon scholars. A microbiology doctoral student from the College of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences was also selected for an ARCS award this year.

ARCS Foundation supports exceptional doctoral students in STEM fields at Oregon Health & Science University, OSU and the University of Oregon. The Oregon chapter annually supports 22-25 new scholars through proceeds from endowed funds, donors and chapter fundraising.

Overall, 14 Oregon State graduate students received scholarships from the ARCS Foundation Oregon this year. OSU mathematics alumna Sue McGrath ('70) will lead the organization as co-President this coming year.

Through its partnership with the ARCS Foundation, the College is able to recruit top Ph.D. students in biochemistry and biophysics, chemistry, mathematics, microbiology, statistics and integrative biology. 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 2017 ARCS Scholars!

Sean Boulanger, a chemistry graduate of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, is currently investigating the protein matrix in the green fluorescent protein chromophore through femtosecond stimulated Raman spectroscopy (FSRS) techniques that offer "real-time structural snapshots of molecules in motion."

Sean Boulanger in front of black backdrop

Boulanger will pursue his studies in physical chemistry with Dr. Chong Fang and others. As part of his doctoral studies, he looks forward to exploring the structure-function relationships of biomolecules and novel materials that are potential targets in biomedicine using FSRS.

Boulanger received the OHSU Department of Radiation Medicine and OSU College of Engineering, School of Nuclear Science & Engineering Scholar Award from the ARCS Foundation Oregon chapter.

A doctoral student in mathematics, Martijn Oostrom holds a bachelor's degree in applied mathematics from Washington State University (WSU) in Pullman, Washington, from where he graduated in three years. Martijn was class valedictorian in high school and received a number of scholarships at WSU.

Martijn Oostrom portrait in office space

He acquired valuable instructional experience while still an undergraduate student, leading a team of teaching assistants during a six-week summer camp for high achieving high school students at the University of Washington. He is currently a teaching assistant for a class on differential calculus at OSU.

Not surprisingly, Martijn is thinking of specializing in mathematics education research. He is also keenly interested in exploring research in modeling and optimization. When he visited OSU during spring break of his final year as an undergraduate, Martijn was pleasantly surprised by how "friendly and approachable" everyone was making it easy for him to pick OSU as his top choice for graduate school.

Oostrom received the ARCS Foundation Oregon Chapter Scholar Award.

Kaitlin McConnell, a doctoral student in the Department of Microbiology through the College for Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, will study the roles bacteria and viruses play in tropical reef health, and specifically how nutrients drive microbial community shifts. McConnell graduated with a degree in marine biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 2012.

Kaitlin McConnell in front of shrubbery

A certified scientific diver, McConnell worked for 5 years in Chilean Patagonia at a remote field station as a diver, researcher and lab manager before starting graduate studies in microbiology. As an undergraduate student, McConnell developed an interest in microbiology through her experience as a research diver in Antarctica for a foraminifera genome project.

McConnell also received the 2017 National Geographic Waitts Foundation scholarship for her project, "Life after death: decomposition and scavenging in beached whales in Chilean Patagonia." She was awarded the ARCS Foundation Oregon Chapter Scholar prize.