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Alumni Awards celebrates excellence in the College of Science

By Cari Longman

On October 24, 2022, the College of Science community gathered to celebrate this year’s Alumni Award recipients. Douglas Keszler, Distinguished Professor of chemistry, was recognized with the Lifetime Achievement in Science Award; Román Hernández (‘92) received the Distinguished Alumni Award; Paula and Kenneth Krane were recognized with the Distinguished Service Award; and Tari Tan (’08) won the Young Alumni Award.

These awards publicly recognize our alumni, friends, and colleagues for their distinguished personal and career achievements, service, and contributions to society that reflect positively on the College of Science and on Oregon State University.

“Our 2022 awardees exemplify our success, whether it is by advancing groundbreaking science, providing strong leadership, improving access, equity and inclusion, or bringing honor, distinction and visibility to the College of Science and to Oregon State University,” said Vrushali Bokil, interim dean for the college.

Congratulations to these outstanding alumni and friends of the College for their scholarship, leadership and service to science at Oregon State!

Lifetime Achievement in Science Award

Douglas Keszler

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Distinguished Professor Douglas Kessler received the Lifetime Achievement in Science Award, which honors an internationally recognized leader with a significant history of promoting and advancing science throughout their life.  

Distinguished Professor Douglas Keszler is a world-renowned materials chemist and a leading figure in the field of new generation semiconductor and solar energy devices. He has distinguished himself as an innovator, founding at least two successful startups from research developed in his labs. His scientific entrepreneurial drive, energy and vision have helped shape Corvallis into an industrial hub of cutting-edge materials science and chemistry innovation.

In 2007, Keszler co-founded the OSU spinout company Inpria. The company was acquired in 2021 by JSR for $514M. The Corvallis-based company enables semiconductor manufacturers to make more powerful, efficient and affordable integrated circuits that power our everyday electronics, from smartphones to PCs. In 2016, Chemical & Engineering News named Inpria one of the “10 startups to watch.”

In 2018, he founded nexTC Corporation as a spinout from the NSF-funded Center for Sustainable Materials Chemistry and the Department of Chemistry. It provides high-performance, low-cost thin film manufacturing processes that enhance energy conversion and energy efficiency.

Read more about Kezsler’s success as an entrepreneur, educator and scientist.

Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award

Román Hernández

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Román Hernández received the Distinguished Alumni Award, which recognizes alumni whose exceptional achievements have brought honor, distinction and visibility to the College of Science.

Román Hernández is the office managing partner at the Portland office of Troutman Pepper, one of the 50 largest law firms in the country, where he practices employment law and commercial litigation.

He is among the less than 2% of attorneys in Oregon who identify as Hispanic. As a second-year lawyer, Hernández co-founded the Oregon Hispanic Bar Association. With more than 200 members and growing, the association celebrated its 20th anniversary this year.

The son of migrant farm workers from Mexico, Hernández is a now mentor to fellow lawyers and law students and regularly reaches out to young racial and ethnic minority students from middle to high school to encourage them to pursue their education. His story serves as inspiration for these students to achieve their educational goals.

Read more about Hernández’s inspiring journey and his efforts to help the next generation of Hispanic and Latino legal professionals.

Distinguished Service Award

Paula and Kenneth Krane

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Paula and Kenneth Krane received the Distinguished Service Award, which recognizes the distinguished service of alumni or friends of the College.

Paula and Kenneth Krane are in the business of granting dreams. They want students to take advantage of the many extracurricular activities available at Oregon State, from theater and music productions to studying abroad. Toward this end, they have founded numerous scholarships across the university, including the Kenneth S. Krane Scholarship Endowment in Physics.

The Kranes have been members of the Oregon State and Corvallis community for half a century. In 1974, Ken accepted a position with the Department of Physics after being impressed with the university’s balance between teaching and research. During his time in the College of Science, Ken chaired the physics department from 1984 to 1998, authored three textbooks and helped reestablish the Honors College. He retired from Oregon State in 2003 and is now an emeritus professor.

Read more about the Krane’s passion to support students at Oregon State achieve their goals.

Young Alumni Award

Taralyn (Tari) Tan

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Tari Tan received the Young Alumni Award, which recognizes alumni who have graduated recently and who have a record of exceptional achievements in career, public service and/or volunteer activities.  

Just five years after earning her Ph.D. in Neurobiology from Harvard University in 2016, Taralyn Tan has distinguished herself as a researcher and teacher. She is the Harvard Program in Neuroscience associate director, director of education, and lecturer in the Department of Neurobiology. She runs a variety of programs focused on neuroscience education and making STEM education as a whole more equitable and inclusive.

Tan, a native of Salem, Ore., originally chose Oregon State University because of the medical preceptorship program, which fit with her plans to enroll as a pre-med student. But while working with Fred Stormshak, an emeritus professor in the animal sciences department, she realized she had a passion for research.

“My experience in the College of Science gave me all of the tools that I needed for the next steps in my career,” said Tan.

Her proudest Oregon State accomplishment was leaving behind a legacy for other women in STEM. She co-founded Sigma Delta Omega, a sorority dedicated to women in science. “It not only still exists but it is thriving, and that is probably the coolest thing for me to have been able to start something that has grown way beyond my expectations,” she said.

Read more about how Tan found her passion for teaching and research.

Enjoy some photos from the event below. Click here for the full gallery of photos.