By Peter Tormey
Jeff Strahan says his time as a Gonzaga chemistry student and the mentoring he received here from Associate Professor Jennifer Shepherd have shaped his rapidly advancing career. So, the 2005 alumnus returned the favor recently by presenting a seminar for the chemistry and biochemistry department’s weekly seminar series.
Shepherd has deep admiration and respect for Strahan, who will finish his Ph.D. this spring at University of Texas at Austin.
“There has never been a student that has had a greater impact on my research in my 11 years here,” Shepherd said. “Jeff did undergraduate research in my lab at GU for two years. He was instrumental in moving my research program forward. Jeff won many awards in the chemistry department while he was here.”
Strahan, who co-authored three peer-reviewed publications with Shepherd (and others) as an undergraduate, described his ongoing research in a lecture titled, “Organic Materials for Advanced Patterning Technologies.”
One of his projects aims to improve hard-drive capacity, which may sound more akin to computer science or electrical engineering, but manufacturing hard drives involves a lot of chemistry and chemical engineering, he said. Strahan and colleagues have filed for two patents and will present soon at a national chemistry conference.
So, how was returning to Gonzaga?
“It was an amazing honor to come back and present some of my graduate school work to the professors who helped lead me into this field,” said Strahan, who began his lecture quoting Isaac Newton: “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”
“I cannot thank them enough for their role in teaching, shaping, and leading my scientific career,” he said.