M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust


2017 Lynwood W. Swanson Scientific Research Awards

Lyn Swanson

The M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust has announced the winners of its new annual scientific research awards at the 2017 MCSR Conference. The awards are open to invited nominations from private undergraduate institutions within the Pacific Northwest, encompassing Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana and Alaska. The “Swanson Award” is intended to recognize a senior faculty exemplar with an established, productive, and nationally recognized research program, while the “Swanson Promise Award” is aimed at recognizing a junior faculty who has demonstrated an exception potential in establishing an exemplary, productive, and sustainable research program. The latter award is intended to honor a junior professor with less than 10 years experience as a faculty member.
A panel of national experts evaluates the nominations, and the criteria for these awards are focused on research accomplishments that include the following.

  • Discovery research accomplishments with national recognition
  • Substantial engagement of undergraduate students
  • Recognized leadership in developing and promoting research at undergraduate institutions
  • Evidence of continuing growth in productive research

The awards honor the longtime work of Dr. Lynwood Swanson, who recently retired after serving as a Trustee at the Murdock Trust for 30 years. Dr. Swanson began his career as a professor at Linfield College, before moving his research to Oregon Graduate Institute. In 1971, he co-founded FEI, a world-leader in electron optics and focused ion beam technologies in scanning and transmission electron microscopies.

2017 Lynwood W. Swanson Scientific Research Award:
Dr. William A. Mackie, Professor of Physics, Linfield College
“For exemplary research in electron emission physics and technology, publishing 50 peer-reviewed articles, mentoring 150 Linfield College undergraduate research students, and establishing a successful company.”

Dr. William Mackie
Dr. William Mackie received the 2017 Lynwood W. Swanson Scientific Research Award for his nationally recognized work and commitment to education.

2017 Lynwood W. Swanson Promise for Scientific Research Award:
Dr. Tamily A. Weissman, Associate Professor of Biology, Lewis and Clark College
“For her dedication as an innovative researcher, inspiring leader, and passionate educator whose cutting-edge, high-impact research program engages undergraduates and inspires excitement for neuroscience.”

Dr. Tamily Weissman
Dr. Tamily Weissman received the 2017 Lynwood W. Swanson Promise for Scientific Research Award at the annual Murdock College Science Research.

2017 John Van Zytveld Oral Presentation Awards

At each annual MCSR conference, students giving oral presentations compete for two awards: The John VanZytveld Physical sciences Award and The John VanZytveld Life sciences Award. The awards consist of a ribbon, a cash prize for the students and their academic departments, as well as a gift for their faculty research advisors. The criteria used by judges of faculty and students in selecting the awardees are as follows:

  • Knowledge of material (understanding the background, research question, hypothesis, data collection and analysis, and limitation of the research)
  • Creativity of the project
  • Effective communication (clarity – slides and verbal presentation; organization; pace; answering questions)
  • Level of preparation
  • Ability to keep me interested

These awards are made in recognition of Dr. John Van Zytveld, a longtime Senior Program Director at the Murdock Trust and a champion for undergraduate research and science education in the region.

2017 John Van Zytveld Award In The Physical Sciences:
Gabe Juul, Meghan Feldman, and S.J. van EnkFaculty mentor: Dr. Mark Beck
“Detecting nonlocal correlated errors: Bob gets caught faking a Bell-inequality violation”
Whitman College  

Gabe Juul - 2017 John Van Zytveld Awardee
Gabe Juul, Whitman College

2017 John Van Zytveld Award In The Life Sciences:
Nicholas BrattFaculty mentor: Dr. Deanna Ojennus
Investigation of a Dipeptidase from Lactobacillis helveticus for the Enzymatic Detoxification of Gluten
Whitworth University 

Nicholas Bratt - 2017 John Van Zytveld Awardee
Nicholas Bratt, Whitworth University

Murdock Poster Prizes

Students presenting their research in a poster format are also recognized at each conference. One Murdock Poster Prize is presented to a poster in each research field, and it consists of a ribbon, a cash award and a gift for the faculty research advisor. The criteria used by faculty judges in selecting the awardees are as follows:

  • Graphics relevance and visual impact
  • Spelling and grammar
  • Informational content
  • Presentation content and research outcomes
  • Presentation delivery
  • Answering questions
  • Overall presentation
2017 MCSR Conference Poster Winners
2017 MCSR Conference Poster Winners

A. Murdock Poster Prize in Ecology/Evolution/Biodiversity:
Sam Levy, Peter Reinhart
Faculty mentor: Dr. Mark Jordan
“Species interactions in an urban carnivore community”
Seattle University
Lauren Lykins
Faculty mentor: Dr. Christopher Templeton
“Territorial aggression in the Riverside Wren determined through duet song choice and behavioral response to conspecific playback”Pacific University
B. Murdock Poster Prize in Developmental Biology/Physiology:
Isabelle Cisneros
Faculty mentor: Dr. Donald R. Powers
“Patterns of Nighttime Body-Temperature Regulation in Hummingbirds”
George Fox University
C. Murdock Poster Prize in Molecular Biology/Cell Biology:
Vanessa Ramirez, Elaine Wong
Faculty mentor: Dr. Lucinda Carnell
“Effects of the Phthalate-Free Plasticizers ATBC, DOA, and GPO on Neuronal Cell Growth and Viability”
Central Washington University
Simran Handa
Faculty mentor: Dr. Greg Hermann
“The recruitment and activation of a Rab GTPase in lysosome-related organelle biogenesis”
Lewis and Clark College
D. Murdock Poster Prize in Neuroscience/Psychology/Exercise Science:
Andre Zamani
Faculty mentor: Dr. Erin Colbert-White
“Oxytocin Affects Reaction Time but Not Appraisal of Uncanny Valley Stimuli
University of Puget Sound
E. Murdock Poster Prize in Biochemistry:
Hung Nguyen, Tia Uehara, Blessing Cao
Faculty mentor: Dr. Jeannine Chan
“The binding of alpha-alkyl analogs of trans-cinnamic aldehyde to cytochrome P450 2A6”
Pacific University
F. Murdock Poster Prize in Organic Chemistry:
Annie Stefanides
Faculty mentor: Dr. Tim Machonkin
“Crystallization efforts of a hydroquinone ring-cleaving dioxygenase, PcpA”
Whitman College
G. Murdock Poster Prize in Analytical/Inorganic/Physical/Physical Organic/Computational Chemistry:
Zach Armstrong
Faculty mentor: Dr. Johanna Crane
“Analysis of Intermolecular Arrangements in Hydrazide Based Matallogels”
University of Puget Sound
Joshua Tsang
Faculty mentor: Dr. Miriam Bowring
“Hydrodefluorination and Hydrogenation of Fluorinated Arenes by Rhodium Catalysts
Reed College
H. Murdock Poster Prize in Environmental Science/Geology:
Natasha Dacic
Faculty mentor: Dr. Jaime Goode (College of Idaho); Stacey Hughes and Dr. Donald R. Blake (University of California, Irvine)
“Estimating Potential Ozone Formation from Agricultural Crop, Dairy, and Oil and Natural Gas Emissions in the San Joaquin Valley, CA”
College of Idaho
I. Murdock Poster Prize in Microbiology:
Laurisa Ankley, Katherine Camp
Faculty mentor: Dr. Andrea Castillo
“How Supplemental Iron Impacts the Antibacterial Effects of Manuka Honey”
Eastern Washington University
J. Murdock Poster Prize in Physics:
Thomas Dale, Travis Widmer
Faculty mentor: Dr. Kamesh Sankaran
“Parallelized Computational Model of Plasma Flows in Ion-Ion Thrusters”
Whitworth University

2017 Neal Thorpe Memorial Lecture

Luis Echegoyen

Dr. Luis Echegoyen, Robert A. Welch professor of chemistry, University of Texas at El Paso
Title: “Playing with Buckyball Maracas: Structure and Reactivity of Endohedral Fullerenes”
Biographical Sketch
Dr. Luis Echegoyen has been the Robert A. Welch Chair Professor of Chemistry at the University of Texas at El Paso since 2010. He was the Director of the Chemistry Division at the National Science Foundation (2006–2010) where he was instrumental in establishing new funding programs and research centers. He was simultaneously a Professor of Chemistry at Clemson University in South Carolina, where he maintained a very active research program with interests in fullerene electrochemistry, monolayer films, supramolecular chemistry, endohedral fullerene chemistry and electrochemistry; and carbon nanoonions, synthesis, derivatization and fractionation. Read Dr. Echegoyen’s full biographical sketch.

Graduate School & Vendor Exhibition Participants

Boise State University
Eastern Washington University
Montana State University
Oregon State University
Pacific University
University of Alaska Fairbanks
University of Idaho
University of Montana
University of Oregon
University of Washington
Walla Walla University
Washington State University
Western Washington University

Faculty Enrichment Workshop

The theme for this year’s Faculty Enrichment Workshop was “CURE: Current Landscape and Ideas for Future Innovation.” CURE stands for Curricular-based Undergraduate Research Experience. The workshop was held immediately following the conference on November 11.

Faculty Enrichment Lunch Discussion on “How to Write Winning Grants”

  • Download the program from the 2017 Murdock College Science Research Conference

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