M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust

Whitworth and Whitman professors headline awards given for outstanding efforts in science research and education

For Immediate Release

November 13, 2018 – A pair of Washington professors have been recognized for their outstanding achievements in the fields of scientific research and education. This week, the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust announced Dr. Kraig Wheeler, Hugh W. Johnston Professor of Chemistry at Whitworth University, as the 2018 recipient of the Lynwood W. Swanson Scientific Research Award. Dr. Moira Gresham, Associate Professor of Physics at Whitman College received the Lynwood W. Swanson Promise for Scientific Research Award.

The two prestigious honors were established in 2016 to honor two exemplary educators from the Pacific Northwest. The “Swanson Award” recognizes a senior faculty exemplar with an established, productive and nationally recognized research program, while the “Swanson Promise Award” highlights a junior faculty member who has demonstrated exceptional potential in these areas through early research and work with students. Both awards were named in honor of noted educator, entrepreneur, and former trustee, Dr. Lynwood Swanson, upon his retirement from the Murdock Trust.

“The exploration of science and education of youth were two passions that our benefactor, Jack Murdock, held dearly throughout his life,” said Steve Moore, executive director, Murdock Trust. “In every phase of his career, Dr. Swanson has helped inspire and engage students and young people through his own passion for science. He believes strongly in the ability of science to solve real world challenges and for educators to serve as mentors to the next generation of researchers. We are so proud to be able to honor Dr. Swanson’s legacy and recognize the outstanding work of Dr. Wheeler and Dr. Gresham.”

Dr. Kraig Wheeler will receive a $15,000 cash prize as part of his award and Dr. Moira Gresham will receive a $7,500 cash prize. A portion of each cash award is set aside specifically to help fund further student research and supplies.

Both awards were formally presented at the 2018 Murdock College Science Research Program (MCSRP) Conference in Vancouver, WA. The annual conference drew hundreds of college students and science educators from across the Pacific Northwest.

In addition to the two Swanson awards, The Murdock Trust also honored nearly two dozen college students for research presentations delivered at the event. They include:

  • The 2018 John Van Zytveld Award in the Physical Sciences: Annie K. Lamar (University of Puget Sound)
  • The 2018 John Van Zytveld Award in the Life Sciences: Simran Handa (Lewis and Clark College)
  • The 2018 Murdock College Science Research Program Poster Prize Winners:
    • Ecology-Evolution-Biodiversity: Erin Stewart (University of Puget Sound)
    • Ecology-Evolution-Biodiversity: Tessa Nania (University of Puget Sound)
    • Developmental Biology-physiology: Cole Malibiran and Allegra VanderWilde (University of Portland)
    • Molecular and Cell Biology: Natalie Klee (Lewis and Clark College)
    • Molecular and Cell Biology: Katareanna Coen, Dallyce Vetter, Joel Johnson, Levi Miles, Cassandra Davis, James Donnell, and Tessa Nelson (Corban University)
    • Neuroscience-Psychology-Exercise Science: Katie Wentz (Heritage University)
    • Biochemistry: Zachary Sherlock (Linfield College)
    • Biochemistry: Liza Briody-Pavlik (Whitman College)
    • Organic Chemistry: Madeleine Duncan (Whitman College)
    • Analytical-Inorganic-Physical Chemistry: Geneva Diepenheim, Christopher Harb, and Stephen Gift (Pacific University)
    • Analytical-Inorganic-Physical Chemistry: Efrain Venegas-Ramirez (University of Portland)
    • Environmental Science-Geology: Shannon Hansell and Anna Wood-Gaines (University of Portland)
    • Microbiology: Anna Miller (Northwest University)
    • Physics and Engineering: Melissa Kohl (Whitman College)

For more information about the MCSRP Conference and how the Murdock Trust invests in science education and research, please visit www.murdocktrust.org.

About the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust

The M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, created by the will of the late Melvin J. (Jack) Murdock, provides grants to organizations in five states of the Pacific Northwest—Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington—that seek to strengthen the region’s educational and cultural base in creative and sustainable ways. For more information, find the Murdock Trust on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and the web.

About Dr. Lynwood Swanson

After starting his career as a professor and administrator at Linfield College, Dr. Swanson moved to Oregon Graduate Institute before co-founding FEI, a world-leader in electron optics and focused ion beam technologies in scanning and transmission electron microscopies. In conjunction with his extensive career in science education and research, Dr. Swanson served as a tireless advocate for these fields as a trustee for thirty years.


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