Chemistry & Biochemistry


2022 LAS Awards

Outstanding Undergraduate Students

Emily Hanson
Outstanding Student in Biochemistry, B.S.

Emily came to UCCS in 2018 after graduating from Dakota Ridge High School where she learned very early on that she wanted to major in Biochemistry. Throughout her time here at UCCS Emily has been involved undergraduate research since her sophomore year. She initially started research working with Dr. Schoffstall in the organic chemistry lab then with Dr. Owens in the analytical lab. In Dr. Owens lab she was selected to be in the Undergraduate Research Academy. In doing this, she found a passion working on research and in all aspects of Chemistry and Biochemistry. After graduation, she is going to move to Florida with her fiancé where she will prepare to apply to medical school where she hopes to earn her MD/PhD. Emily would like to thank the great teaching faculty in the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department who all played a big role in her success here at UCCS, and in particular Dr. Owens, for being a great mentor and helping her throughout her whole college career.

Megan Mascarenas
Outstanding Student in Chemistry, B.S.

Megan is a Colorado Springs native and an avid rock climber. She attended Doherty High School where she discovered a passion for chemistry thanks to her teacher Dr. Furstenau, who made chemistry fun and challenging. Through high school, if she wasn’t studying or competing in the bouldering (a form of rock climbing) World Cup circuit, she was practicing solving Rubik’s cubes. She retired from competitive climbing in 2018 to focus her energy on studying Chemistry at UCCS. Since 2021 she has worked with computational chemist Dr. Amanda Morgenstern studying the effects of electric fields on molecular properties of small molecules. After graduation, she plans to pursue a Master’s degree in Data Analytics and learn everything she can about machine learning and neural networks.

Julie Wiley
Outstanding Student in Chemistry, B.A.

Julie Wiley is a Noyce scholar who joined our program in 2019. Julie has been passionate about chemistry and education for decades and was excited for the opportunity to engage in on-campus student life and to learn in the labs and classrooms of UCCS. But, in the spring of 2020, the pandemic forced students into online learning environments where a multitude experienced significant challenges. Julie, like many others, rose to meet that challenge. Julie continued with the program and, in a demonstration of grit and adaptability, made the following contributions to our college:

  • Collaborated on ACS talks with Dr. Weiss, Dr. P. McGuire, as well as undergraduates Ms. Bullis, and Mr. Wrobel, on the aptly titled "Secrets to Student Success in Teaching Remote and Online General Chemistry 2 During the COVID 19 Pandemic" and "Do we have to change everything to teach remote or online chemistry?"
  • Earned President’s list recognition in 2020 and 2021
  • Not least of all, successfully completed the very rigorous and challenging UCCS Chemistry program in extraordinarily challenging times.

This spring, Julie will be receiving her Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry, with a certificate in Education, and she will do so with honors. She intends to start teaching Chemistry in secondary education this fall, and I have no doubt that Julie will be successful in her ongoing work in Chemistry.

Chandler Webb
Outstanding Student in Biochemistry, B.A.

Chandler is graduating with a degree in Biochemistry and pursuing a career in medicine. During his time at UCCS, he was selected to be a chemistry tutor in which he led recitation sessions and helped guide students through course material. Chandler also participated in genomic related research with the Biochemistry department through studying and manipulating the α-amylase gene in a yeast Saccharomyces Pombe expression system. Receiving the outstanding student award in his Instrumental Analysis course, Chandler gained knowledge on various analytical instrumentation to supplement his interest in the Bioanalytical industry. In addition to coursework, Chandler participated in various volunteer activities through UC Health, the Ronald McDonald House, coaching youth baseball players, and clinic-based shadowing experiences. Upon finishing his degree, Chandler has been working as a Chemist at an international company performing Bioanalytical based drug discovery as he prepares to apply to Medical School and embark on new journeys.

Outstanding Graduate Students

Bailee Troutman
Outstanding Graduate Student in Biochemistry, MSc

Bailee Troutman is a Colorado Springs native. She graduated from Doherty High School in 2015 and Summa Cum Laude from UCCS in 2019 with her BS in Biology and a minor in Biochemistry. Bailee started her Biochemistry M.Sc. program in Fall of 2019 under Dr. Wendy Haggren. Her research project involved engineering bacteria naturally containing magnetic particles to produce an antitumorigenic agent with the potential to treat some forms of cancer. During her time at UCCS, Bailee has been a member of the Pre-Health Society, Chemistry and Biochemistry Club, and Colleges Against Cancer. She also spent her time working as an Orientation Welcome Leader, a peer-tutor in the Science Learning Center, and as both an Undergraduate and Graduate Teaching Assistant. She has had the opportunity to present her research at several research forums, worked on the General Chemistry laboratory manuals, and served as adjunct faculty. In her free time, Bailee enjoys traveling, going to hockey games, and spending time with her family and friends. Following the completion of her M.Sc., Bailee plans to a pursue a career in public health research, where she can combine her passion for research with her desire to serve a greater community.

Ashley Ward
Outstanding Graduate Student in Biochemistry, MSc

Ashley Ward was born in California but traded the beach for beautiful Colorado mountain views. In 2014 she started her undergraduate degree in Biochemistry, developing such a passion for the field that after graduating in 2019 she pursued a master’s degree which she completed earlier this semester. For the past four years, Ashley has dedicated her time to her research in Dr. Andrew Klocko’s lab studying how altered epigenetic marks alter the genomic organization of Neurospora crassa. She and her lab mates recently celebrated their first publication in which they improved a method utilized to assess genomic organization thereby improving the resolution of datasets and creating a more comprehensive version of the genome of Neurospora crassa. Her passion and dedication to the field has given her opportunities to engage, participate, and provide educational experiences throughout the community leading hands-on DNA extractions at multiple Cool Science Festivals, Girl’s STEM Days, and a STEM Day at Jackson Elementary. She has been highly involved with the university by taking new researchers under her wing, and as a GTA instructing future graduates in biology and chemistry laboratories. Ashley plans to teach or occupy a laboratory position to apply the skills she has acquired here at UCCS.