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Chemistry Research Program Receives $1 Million Stauffer Trust Challenge Grant

By Nate Ethell ('08, MBA '13)

Chemistry Research

The John Stauffer Charitable Trust has awarded Seaver College a $1 million grant to establish the John Stauffer Endowment for Summer Research in Chemistry. The challenge grant will be awarded on a dollar-for-dollar match, buoyed by a pacesetting $100,000 commitment from University regent Charles Branch and wife, Lesa, with the intent to create a $2 million fund for an endowed summer research program.

The program seeks to offer a collaborative learning experience through formal course instruction and research opportunities. Participating students begin an 11-week summer research experience where they work one-on-one with faculty members to develop independence, expertise, and project ownership in their scholarly investigations. With the Stauffer grant, the program will accommodate 10 students per year, expanding its current limit of six.

Over the past five years, 90 percent of chemistry graduates participated in undergraduate research, a dramatic increase from just 10 years ago.

In the last two decades, nearly one third of Pepperdine chemistry graduates have earned master's or doctoral degrees in chemistry. The remainder have entered health professional schools or moved directly into the chemical or biotechnical industries.

"We truly believe that Pepperdine graduates are so competitive because of their involvement in our undergraduate research programs and the experience they obtain working so closely with faculty," said Jane Ganske, professor of chemistry. "Because our active research programs also include areas as diverse as synthetic chemistry, biodegradable polymers, environmental analysis, air quality, chemical ecology, and medicinal chemistry, our students are extraordinarily equipped for success as they move into advanced-degree programs and the chemical industry."

Chemistry research students also are encouraged to gain professional experience by presenting their research findings at national meetings of the American Chemical Society—the largest scientific meeting in the nation—where they often are introduced to scientists who facilitate access to graduate study in chemistry or immediate employment upon graduation. In the last two years, 13 chemistry students presented research in national or regional meetings.

"Nothing is more important than providing students a research experience in a laboratory setting and giving them a platform to share their findings with leading scientists," Dr. Ganske said. "The Stauffer Endowment and those who contribute to it will be welcome partners in furthering these opportunities for our students."

Make a Gift

For more information or to contribute a matching gift to the Stauffer Endowment, please contact Dawn Pettersen at 310.506.6514 or .