Research Fellowships

The Kubota and Myhre Research Fellowships in Chemistry

The Chemistry Department at Harvey Mudd College has two research fellowships in Chemistry in honor of Mitsuru Kubota and Philip C. Myhre, emeriti professors of chemistry, in recognition of their dedicated service and significant contributions to Harvey Mudd College.

These Fellowships provide research support for Chemistry and Joint Chemistry/Biology majors to conduct research on campus with a Chemistry faculty member in the summer following their sophomore year, continuing through the junior academic year, and in the summer following their junior year. Summer stipends, academic-year wages, research expenses, and conference travel funds will be available. This year’s Kubota Research Fellowship was awarded to Erza “Bacon” Bacon-Gershman ’23 in the lab of Professor Van Ryswyk and the Myhre Research Fellowship was awarded to Drew Pronovost ’23 in the lab of Professor Hawkins

To be eligible to apply for the next Myhre Research Fellowship in Chemistry, HMC Chemistry and Joint Chemistry/Biology majors in the Class of 2024 should apply to the Chemistry Summer 2022 Research Program and express their interest in being considered for the Myhre Research Fellowship. Upon acceptance to the summer program, interested students will be asked to complete an application form and prepare a short research proposal in conjunction with their faculty research mentor.  Finalists will participate in a brief interview, and the Myhre Research Fellow will be announced in 2022.

Questions should be directed to Professor Haushalter (haushalter@g.hmc.edu).

Kubota Fellow – Ezra Bacon-Gershman ’23

Over the next two years, Bacon will be studying the surface chemistry of lead sulfide quantum dots in his quest to improve the efficiency of bulk heterojunction solar cells. Quantum dot solar cells are third-generation, thin-film photovoltaics with a total thickness of roughly 400 nm. This contrasts to the photoactive region of a typical silicon solar cell which is 200-500-um thick.  Bacon’s work has two parts.  The first is to develop a synthetic protocol for the synthesis and subsequent phase-transfer ligand exchange of circa 3-nm diameter photoactive quantum dots. The second part involves the assembly of pinhole-free thin-film bulk heterojunction solar cells.  Challenges in the first part include tuning the phase transfer reaction to work effectively without resort to an inert atmosphere, while the second part involves the creation of quantum dot “inks” to allow facile printing of solar cells.

Bacon’s work will be advanced by a recent National Science Foundation-Major Research Instrumentation award to create an instrumentation “toolset” in Claremont for advanced study of photovoltaics. Tools in the set include an FE-SEM (field effect scanning electron microscope) capable of 2-nm resolution equipped with EDX (energy dispersive x-ray analysis), an IPCE/EQE (incident photon conversion efficiency/external quantum efficiency) bench, an optoelectronic test bench, an automated metal evaporator, and a wide array of simulated solar spectrum sources. Physics Profs. Janice Hudgings and David Tanenbaum (HMC ’88), both of Pomona College, are co-PIs with Van Ryswyk on the toolset award.

Myhre Fellow – Drew Pronovost ’23

As this year’s Myhre Fellow, Drew Pronovost will be working with Professor Hawkins in the field of atmospheric chemistry.  Drew will be part of an NSF-funded project investigating how oxygenated phenolic compounds, prevalent in wildfire plumes, can change composition and color during atmospheric reactions. This chemistry could be important for understanding the impact of these emissions on both air quality and climate change. Specifically, the experiments planned for summer 2022 in Paris, France, will be part of a collaboration with the University of San Diego and the University of Paris, Créteil, making use of an atmospheric simulation chamber capable of reproducing cloud and fog conditions. In these conditions, browning reactions are thought to be an important source of atmospheric brown carbon. Their role will be to use aerosol mass spectrometry to probe the chemical changes taking place in real-time in the chamber. In order to prepare for this work, Drew spent summer 2021 training with Professor Hawkins on this technique. The Hawkins lab has an instrument quite similar to the mass spectrometer in France, making Drew especially well prepared for this exciting research endeavor.

Award Year Recipients
2021 Ezra Bacon-Gershman ’23/Kubota Fellow/Van Ryswyk Lab
2021 Drew Pronovost ’23/Myhre Fellow/Hawkins Lab
2020 No award
2019 Linden Conrad-Marut ’21/Kubota Fellow/Hawkins Lab
2018 Brandon Wada ’20/Myhre Fellow/Van Hecke Lab
2017 Daphne Guo ’19/Kubota Fellow/Van Hecke Lab
2016 Rilke Griffin ’18/Myhre Fellow/Van Heuvelen Lab
2015 Hannah Welsh ’17/Kubota Fellow/Hawkins Lab