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Chemistry Department News

Employee of the Month – May 2018

Stephanie Cochran

Stephanie Cochran

Lab Services Coordinator

Stephanie consistently demonstrates exemplary work performance across many areas in her role as Laboratory Services Coordinator.

She embraces change and tackles challenges with a positive attitude. She recently transitioned to lower division lab service coordinator, and lab coordinators easily give praise for her ability to accommodate last minute curriculum change requests. She has been especially quick, efficient, and helpful in making changes to lower division lab curriculum in time for summer classes, and has left colleagues satisfied with results.

Stephanie is a self-starter and often takes on tasks without anyone having to ask. When a project needs doing, Stephanie has a “bulldog-on-a-bone” mentality, throwing her energy into special tasks and consistently beating deadlines. She recently volunteered to take charge of evaluating a new chemical inventory system, including vetting vendor software and doing so with enthusiasm, energy, tenacity, and thoughtfulness.

Stephanie has long been assigned to the “swing shift” and worked onerous and inconvenient hours that last late into the evening and weekends. Her dependability in managing department activities after normal hours is unmatched. Stephanie has always stepped up to keep the department as safe as possible. She proactively seeks to help students with questions, lab breakage fees, equipment issue, and safety, and is all-around a very valuable asset to our department.

Dr. Owen McDougal and Tyson Hardy Presented at Annual BUILD Dairy Conference

Professor Owen McDougal and undergraduate chemistry major Tyson Hardy presented their research at the annual BUILD Dairy conference hosted by Oregon State University from May 30 to 31. The conference brings together over 100 students, faculty, government, and industry representatives from every aspect of dairy production from farm to consumer product. BUILD Dairy now provides over $100,000 in sponsorship for two research projects in McDougal’s lab. Students Tyson Hardy and, recently admitted Chemistry Masters student, Vannessa Campfield are the first of the BUILD Dairy funded researchers at Boise State University. Their work will lead to fast, economical, and easily implemented analytical methods to monitor levels of denatured protein during milk processing, and identify inhibitors of propionibacteria in milk used to make Swiss cheese. The BUILD Dairy program funds student research, connects students to industry internships, and facilitates career opportunities for dairy knowledgeable applicants.

Owen McDougal

Tyson Hardy

Owen McDougal Discusses Acrylamides and Link to Cancer on Boise State Public Radio

Owen McDougalAcrylamides, which can develop in some foods during high-temperature cooking processes, are suspected to have carcinogenic effects on the human body. A judge in California recently ruled coffee growers need to label the acrylamide content of their beans as it’s formed during the roasting process. But can the way certain foods are cooked really cause cancer? Dr. Owen McDougal sat down with Idaho Matters on Boise State Public Radio to discuss the relationship between acrylamides and cooked foods, examining whether or not there is direct link between human consumption and cancer.

Dr. McDougal’s radio segment can be heard at Boise State Public Radio.

Dr. Owen McDougal Published in the New Zealand Journal of Botany

Owen McDougal

Dr. Owen McDougal published the results of his sabbatical research from the University of Otago, Dunedin, NZ in the New Zealand Journal of Botany.

The manuscript, “Chemotaxonomy of kōwhai: leaf and seed flavonoids of New Zealand Sophora species,” can be accessed here.

Dr. Owen McDougal Awarded Funds for BUILD Dairy proposal

Owen McDougalVannessa Campfield

Dr. Owen McDougal was awarded $96,750 for a BUILD Dairy proposal titled, “Identification of Propionibacteria Inhibitors in Swiss Cheese Milk.” Grant funds will be used to support two years of laboratory research by Vannessa Campfield to complete her Chemistry MS degree at Boise State University.


Drs. Don Warner and Matt King Awarded METAvivor Grant

Don Warner, Cheryl Jorcyk, Matt King

Professor Don Warner and Assistant Professor Matt King have been awarded a $200,000 METAvivor grant to develop a potential therapeutic for advanced breast cancer metastasis to bone. They will be teaming up with Cheryl Jorcyk (Professor in the Boise State Department of Biological Sciences) to develop an anti-inflammatory therapy with minimal side-effects that would reduce or eliminate breast cancer bone metastasis and prolong lives.

The full article on this team’s breast cancer research can be viewed here.

Students Recognized at Graduate Student Showcase

Maranda Cantrell & Ashley Poppe

Maranda Cantrell (left) and Ashley Poppe (right) were winners at the 2018 Boise State Graduate Student Showcase. Maranda, a student in the Boise State Biomolecular Sciences Ph.D. Program, received the College of Arts and Sciences Award for her poster titled “Organosulfide Components of Onions”. Ashley, a student in the Boise State M.S. Chemistry Program, received the Division of Research and Economic Development Scholar Award for her poster titled “Investigation of Acyl-Carrier Protein Specificity in Pseudomonas aeruginosa Quorum Sensing Signal Synthase”.

Read more about the Spring 2018 Graduate Student Showcase winners here. 

Employee of the Month – April 2018

Nicole Cornell

Nicole Cornell

Manager, Chemistry Instructional Center

Nicole Cornell is outstanding as Manager of the Chemistry Instructional Center (CIC). Her constant smile, upbeat attitude, and enthusiasm radiate to students and colleagues alike.

Nicole exemplifies our department’s commitment to student success, and sets the bar high with respect to department participation, engagement, and involvement. She has been instrumental in making the CIC the place for students to go for help with chemistry courses, and has earned praise from across campus for her efforts. Nicole’s training and supervision of the exceptional group of tutors working in the CIC has improved the way we serve students, and is the principle reason for the success of the CIC. Nicole’s leadership has been significant in implementing discussion sections to support Chem 111 and 112. She scheduled and coordinated these pilot programs, and has the data to prove they are increasing student success.

In addition to her essential role in managing the CIC, Nicole is the advisor of the Boise State ACS Chemistry Club, where she helps them coordinate community outreach events. She directed the chemistry portion of the Science Olympiad, where she successfully obtained department-wide support for both the exam and lab components of the competition. She also plays an active role on the General Chemistry Curriculum Committee, as she is dedicated to seeing our program grow and improve, and is eager to do all she can to make that happen.

2017-2018 Student Academic Award Winners

Freshman Chemistry Achievement Award: Fernando Aguilar, Dalton Miller

Award for Excellence in Organic Chemistry: Colvin Greenberg

Award for Excellence in Biochemistry: Daniel Greiner

Award for Excellence in Physical Chemistry: Kim Farrar

Award for Excellence in Inorganic Chemistry: Chris Bonner

Undergraduate Award in Analytical Chemistry: Alexandria Balzen

Boise State Analyst Certification: Alexandria Balzen

Boise State Department of Chemistry Undergraduate Summer Research Fellowship: Zoe Anderson, Alexandria Balzen, Joey Tuccinardi

Boise State Department of Chemistry Graduate Summer Research Fellowship: Patrick Schwartz

Departmental Scholarship Recipients for the 2018-2019 Academic Year: Fernando Aguilar, Alexandria Balzen, Kim Farrar, Fabio Halla, Max Hillman, Crystal Lundgren, Maddi Nilson, Kolby Olney, Ryan Rau, Eric Read, Rebekah Rozowski, Jared Seale, Joy Sigurdson, Makenna Szolomayer, Rebecca Torres, Andrew Vizina, Jo Williams

Boise State Department of Chemistry Graduating Seniors: Kynna Bertagnoli, Heather Black, Chris Bonner, Micah Buckmiller, Kim Campbell, Vannessa Campfield Areli Castro, Hannah Davis, Creed Feigt, Christopher Gale, Ibrahem Hassan, Matt Lawson, Christina Lee, Wyatt Meyers, Tristan Olsen, Jordian Orien, Jason Rosecast, Alex Sessa

Boise State Department of Chemistry Outstanding Graduating Senior: Micah Buckmiller

Outgoing Chemistry Club Officers: Wyatt Meyers (President), Makenna Szolomayer (Vice President), Nick Lopez (Secretary), Madilyn Paul (Treasurer), Kynna Bertagnolli (Representative)

Incoming Chemistry Club Officers: Makenna Szolomayer (President), Nick Lopez (Vice President), Rebecca Torres (Secretary/Treasurer), Elena Paz Munoz (Representative)

Dr. Henry Charlier Receives the 2018 University Foundation Scholar Award for Service

Henry CharlierDr. Henry Charlier was honored with the 2018 University Foundation Scholar Award for service. This award is given to Boise State faculty who demonstrate ongoing commitment, expertise, and accomplishments in professionally related service.  Dr. Charlier is dedicated to being a STEM ambassador, at both Boise State University and in the Treasure Valley community. He has reached over 36,000 individuals, mostly elementary school-aged children, through his Dr. Picklestein persona, and has visited more than 250 locations locally to engage young scientists in STEM. He also helped found the Boise State IDoTeach program which helps STEM majors become certified to teach grade school science.  Dr. Charlier also actively participates in events such as Engineering Day, STEM Exploration Day, and STEM Academy.

Read more about Henry Charlier and the Boise State University Foundation Scholar Awards here.