Former Members

Graduate Students and Postdocs:

Kristen Burns

Kristen Burns, Ph.D. Chemistry (August 2022)
Thesis: Probing the Ultrafast Dynamics of Higher-Lying Excited-States of Molecular Switches with Femtosecond Stimulated Raman Spectroscopy
M.S. and B.S. University of Saint Joseph (CT)
Currently: tenure-track teaching faculty at Western Michigan University


Matt BarclayMatt Barclay, Ph.D. Chemistry (December 2019)
Thesis: Experimental and Theoretical Study of Resonance Raman Spectroscopy in Ground and Excited Electronic States
(co-advised by Marco Caricato)
B.S. Creighton University

Currently: Nanoscale Materials and Device Group, Boise State University


David Stierwalt David Stierwalt, M.S. Chemistry (August 2019)
Thesis: Broadband Two-Photon Absorption Spectroscopy: Measuring Accurate Absolute Cross-Sections
B.S. University of Indianapolis



Chris Otolski Chris Otolski, Ph.D. Chemistry (May 2019)
Thesis: Mechanisms of Condensed Phase Reactions: The Role of Structure, Dynamics, and Environment in Photoisomerization and Photodissociation
B.S. University of Indianapolis
Currently: Postdoc, AMO Physics Group, Argonne National Laboratory


Tim Quincy Tim Quincy, Ph.D. Chemistry (August 2018)
Thesis: Direct and Indirect Probing of Higher-Lying Excited-States of Photoactive Molecules
B.S., University of Kansas
After KU: Teaching Fellow at St. Ambrose University (IA)
Currently: Assistant Professor, Lincoln University (MO) 


Amanda Houk Amanda Houk, Ph.D. Chemistry (October 2015)
Thesis: Nonlinear Excitation of Photoactivated Molecules: Two-Photon Absorption Spectroscopy, Dynamics, and Quantum Yields
M.S., University of New Mexico (Nanoscience and Microsystems)
B.A., Gustavus Adolphus College (MN)
Currently: Senior Scientist at Savannah River National Laboratory 


Cassie Ward Cassandra Ward, Ph.D. Chemistry (May 2014)
Thesis: Controlling the Cycloreversion Reaction of a Diarylethene Derivative Using Sequential Two-Photon Excitation
B.S., University of Nebraska- Omaha
After KU: Postdoc with Gerald Meyer, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
Currently: Senior Research Scientist/Lab Manager, Lumigen Instrument Center, Wayne State University 


Igor ZheldakovIgor Zheldakov, Postdoc (2010-13)
Ph.D., Bowling Green State University (2010)
After KU: Research Chemist, Spectra Group Limited (Toledo, OH)
Currently: Polymer Chemist, Eastman Chemical Company (Kingsport, TN)



Jenna Wasylenko Jenna (Wasylenko) Lindsay, Graduate Student (2010-15)
B.S., Sweet Briar College (VA)
After KU: Chemistry teacher at Atchison High School (KS)



Sadegh MahvidiSadegh Mahvidi, Visiting Graduate Student (2016-17)
Institute for Color Science and Technology, Tehran
M.S. Institute for Color Science and Technology (Tehran)
B.S. Amirkabir University of Technology (Tehran)
Hometown: Tehran, Iran



Visiting Faculty:

Jordan Mantha Jordan Mantha, Summer 2016
Associate Professor, Midamerica Nazarene University
Ph.D., University of Nevada- Reno
B.A., University of Montana Western



Summer REU Students:

Jamie SomersJamie Somers, Summer Research
REU and Craig Lunte Memorial KU-DCU Summer Exchange Program Home Institution: Dublin City University (Ireland)




Julia GoeksJulia Goeks, REU Summer Research (2021)
A.B. Chemistry and Physics, Ripon College (WI)
Currently: Graduate student at University of Illinois in Materials Science and Engineering



Jayhawk Ryan Hamelin, REU Summer Research (2015)
B.S. Chemistry, Fitchburg State University (MA)



Jayhawk Darien Morrow, REU Summer Research (2014)
B.S. Chemistry, Missouri Western State University (2015)
Ph.D.: University of Wisconsin-Madison (Wright Group, 2020)

Currently: Postdoc with Xuedan Ma at Argonne National Laboratory



Samantha Allen Samantha Allen, REU Summer Research (2013)
B.S. Chemistry, Agnes Scott College (2014)
Currently: Graduate student at University of Colorado-Boulder, Jimenez Group



Tyler TommeyTyler Tommey, REU Summer Research (2011)
B.S. Chemistry, Northwest Missouri State University (2013)
Currently: Graduate student in Polymer Science, University of Akron (OH)



Joe Varberg Joe Varberg, REU Summer research (2010)
B.S. Chemistry, Rockhurst University (2011)
Ph.D. Pharmacology, Indiana University School of Medicine (2017)
Currently: Stowers Institute for Medical Research (Kansas City, MO)



KU Undergraduates:

Jessica BairJessica Bair, B.S. Chemistry (2022)
Hometown: Hayes, KS
Currently: Graduate school at Chalmers University, Sweden (starting fall 2022)




Rob CastanedaRobert Castaneda, B.A. Chemistry (2022)
Hometown: Kansas City, MO
Currently: Graduate school at the University of North Carolina (starting fall 2022)



Whitney Harmon Whitney Harmon, B.S. Chemistry (2018)
Hometown: Overland Park, Kansas
Currently: Graduate school at University of Iowa, Cheatum and Shaw Groups



BrooksBrooks Hidaka, B.S. Chemistry (2018)
Hometown: Overland Park, Kansas
Currently: Graduate school in Education, University of Kansas



Emmaline Emmaline Lorenzo, B.S. Chemistry (2018, with Honors) 
Honors Thesis: A Spectroscopic Study of the Uncaging Reaction of para-Hydroxyphenacyl Derivatives Under Neutral and Basic Conditions
Hometown: Leawood, Kansas
Currently: Graduate school at Northwestern University, Wasielewski Group



Jayhawk Jung Moon Suh, B.S. Chemistry (2018)




Nick JacksonNick Jackson, B.S. Chemistry (2017)
Hometown: Parsons, Kansas
Currently: Chemistry teacher at Olathe South High School



Jorge Jorge Perez
(UKanTeach; McNair Scholar)
Hometown: Olathe, Kansas



VictoriaVictoria Gunderson, B.A. Chemistry (2016)
Hometown: Riverside, Rhode Island
Currently: Brewer at 23rd Street Brewery (Lawrence, KS)



Thomas HurleyThomas Hurley, B.S. Chemical Engineering (2016)
Hometown: Parsons, Kansas




JayhawkJohn Bliss, B.S. Chemistry (2015)
Hometown: Olathe, Kansas



Jayhawk Graham Oltjen, B.S. Chemistry (2014)
After KU: Halliburton



Will Cleek Will Cleek, B.S. Chemistry (with Honors, 2013)
After KU: M.D., University of Kansas Medical School (2017)
Currently: Resident, Emergency Medicine, University of Washington



Heidi LeSageHeidi LeSage, B.S. Chemistry (2011)
Currently: Pearson Education (Portland, OR)



Alyssa Auld Alyssa (Auld) Meyer, B.S. Chemistry Education (2010)
After KU: Chemistry/Physics teacher at Mill Valley High School (Shawnee, KS)



Elles Group Highlights
Funding Sources