Chemistry department beats Stauffer Challenge Grant goal to raise $500,000

RS73475_20171120-BiancaNguyen-0077-lprPacific’s Department of Chemistry beat its goal one year early to raise $500,000 to secure matching funding from the John Stauffer Charitable Trust.

Thanks to donations from university alumni, friends and students who belong to the professional chemistry organization Alpha Chi Sigma, money was raised that will be matched, dollar for dollar, by the John Stauffer Charitable Trust for a total of $1 million. The money will pay for undergraduate chemistry and biochemistry research.

“We’re excited this is happening,” said Department of Chemistry former Chair Andreas Franz. “This is the first time there is an endowed pool of money to provide multiple students in perpetuity with research opportunities, specifically in chemistry and biochemistry, which is really fantastic for us.”

The effort to pursue the Stauffer Challenge Grant began in 2013 when the chemistry department was awarded a $500,000 challenge from the John Stauffer Charitable Trust to enhance its research opportunities. The university was given five years to raise the money, but it met its goal earlier this year.

The effort received a boost in 2014 when members of Alpha Chi Sigma, a national chemistry fraternity, donated $10,000 from its Pacific chapter.

Already, two Pacific chemistry students have taken advantage of the $5,000 stipends to conduct research last summer.

Bianca Nguyen ’19 worked with Professor Vyacheslav Samoshin on his research into enzymes. She synthesized and tested compounds aimed at regulating enzymes. The research could lead to better treatments with fewer side effects for diseases such as diabetes.

Nguyen said knowing that her living expenses were covered for the summer allowed her to focus on her research.

“It helped pay for my housing for the summer,” Nguyen said. “I’m from a family six; there’s three other siblings. So, it really helped my parents out.”

Franz expects to be able to offer $5,000 stipends to five students next summer. He said the grant makes the chemistry department more competitive when attracting talented students. It also gives students better experiential learning opportunities.

“They have a real opportunity to engage in active research and with that, bring valuable hands-on experience to the marketplace when they look for a job after graduation,” Franz said. “So, they can really sell this as a special skill.”


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