Alumnus continues his research in organic chemistry through NSF aid

Michael Harris ’10 has been awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship to support his research in organic chemistry.

The fellowship provides an annual $30,000 stipend and $10,500 towards tuition for three years at any accredited U.S. graduate institution.

Harris is attending graduate school at the University of California, Irvine, where he is completing his doctorate degree. Through the award, he says he’ll be able to spend more time on research-related activities. He also anticipates publishing his results in scientific journals, which will strengthen his resume for when he applies for post-doctoral positions.

“This award will help to set me apart from other qualified job applicants,” he says.

A native of The Dalles, Ore., Harris majored in chemistry at Willamette, where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and the Willamette University Chemistry Club. He accumulated many honors as an undergraduate student, including the Ancil H. Payne Scholarship, the Peterson Family Scholarship, the Analytical Chemistry Award and most notably the Ford Family Foundation Scholarship.

He participated in the Science Collaborative Research Program with professor Andrew Duncan and a National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates at the University of Minnesota. He graduated magna cum laude from Willamette.

Since arriving at the University of California, Irvine, Harris has also been awarded a Ford Family Foundation Scholarship, a Chancellor’s Fellowship and the UCI Award in Undergraduate Teaching. He anticipates graduating in 2015, at which time he hopes to find a job in academia.

Grateful for his successes, Harris credits Willamette’s Chemistry Department for helping him get to where he is today.

“Not only do the professors come from the top universities in the country, but their ability to teach difficult material is unparalleled,” he says.

“In particular, I would like to thank my academic advisor, professor Chuck Williamson, for being inspiring and giving me sound advice. I also need to thank professor Andrew Duncan. I did research in his lab for two years, during which he imparted unto me the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in organic chemistry.”

Earlier this year, Tyler Starr ’12 and Kaeli Swift ’09 were awarded NSF graduate fellowships to support their research in biology and chemistry.

For more information about national fellowship and scholarship opportunities, visit Student Academic Grants and Awards.