Graduate Community

The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry is small enough to feel like a community, and large enough to offer state-of-the-art research facilities. In addition to academics, many students find time to enjoy the cultural and recreational activities that help make the Eugene area an attractive place to live. Our graduate student culture is strong and supportive. The size of the program makes it possible to know everyone and be known, which among other benefits, leads to strong letters of recommendation! We boast a good work/life balance. Our faculty understands the demands of your studies, and as such, promotes and encourages good quality of life during your time with us.

Read about what our graduate students are doing.

CBGReAT: Chemistry and Biochemistry Graduate Representatives Advisory Team 
DuckREFS: Graduate student Resources for Easing Friction and Stress

Grad Student Spotlight

On this page:

Living in Eugene

One of the best reasons to pursue an education at the University of Oregon is Oregon.

Eugene’s central location in the state is one of the best reasons to become a resident. Nestled in the lush Willamette Valley, Eugene is located between the coast and the Cascade mountain range. Just an hour from the beach and less than two hours from adventures in the mountains, Eugene is close to the best of everything the state has to offer in outdoor beauty and recreation — no matter what the time of year. From whale-watching to snowboarding, it’s all within a two-hour drive of campus.

The Cascades offer several ski areas where snow-lovers can choose from a multitude of winter sports, including back-country, downhill, and cross-country skiing. The mountain range includes Mt. Bachelor, a popular ski area, the Three Sisters wilderness area, and Three-Fingered Jack, all of which provide a breathtaking view in winter and summer. In spring, melting snow uncovers an enormous summer playground, revealing an extensive system of hiking, horse, and mountain-bike trails. Nearby Smith Rock offers world-class rock climbing routes. An abundance of lakes, creeks, and rivers create a paradise for anglers and bird watchers. Crater Lake, just three and a half hours southeast of Eugene, is one of the world’s marvels — a deep pool formed after the explosion of Mt. Mazama seven thousand years ago. It is the deepest lake in the lower forty-eight states at 1,932 ft.

Nearby rivers offer abundant opportunities for angling and boating. The Willamette River runs right through the center of Eugene, joining the McKenzie to the north of the city. Both of these rivers offer calm and fast water. For those with an affection for white water, the Umpqua, Deschutes, and Rogue Rivers challenge the most accomplished river runner within a two- to three-hour drive of Eugene.

The coast offers the allure of sandy beaches, whale watching, spectacular views, art galleries, boutiques, and exceptional clam chowder. Rugged headlands, tide pools, and magnificent forests contribute to an enticing setting for a weekend excursion near the water.

Near the rivers and mountains, you may happen upon a multitude of fauna, including black bears, elk, deer, bald eagles, and bobcats. You don’t have to leave town to see the wild things, however. It’s common to see Red-Tail Hawks, Great Blue Herons, Canada Geese, and Black-Tailed Deer within the city limits. Eugene’s forested neighborhoods and nearby waterways provide habitat for humans and other wild creatures. With 13 national forests and 230 state parks, there is plenty to explore in Oregon.

Besides its proximity to the great outdoors, Eugene has an active social calendar. Check out the EUGfun Events calendar or the annual Oregon Bach Festival in June and July.

The Hult Center for the Performing Arts hosts concerts, opera, dance, and theater performances all year long. The university’s Robinson Theatre provides regular theater and dance performances throughout the academic year. The art scene includes the university’s Museum of Art, famed for its Asian collection; numerous private art galleries in Eugene display the works of an active artist community.

Naturally, a highlight of the social scene in Eugene is track and field. Some of the world’s greatest stars live and train in Eugene, and many attended the university. A recreational runner is likely to run alongside Olympians, while jogging along the numerous running trails that curve through town. Hayward Field, the university’s track, has been host to great events and stellar athletes and remains a central gathering place for locals and visitors.

Sixty-seven track-and-field athletes from the UO have competed in the Olympics. Together they won twelve medals. Spectators pour out onto Hayward Field to watch famous track athletes from all over the world break records and flex their muscles as the UO hosts numerous events each year, including the upcoming 2016 Olympic Trials.

The UO football and basketball teams also have the devotion of students and residents alike. Fans pack Autzen stadium and the Matthew Knight Arena to cheer the Ducks to victory every season – and they rarely leave disappointed.

Eugene’s love of sport and fitness is evident in the city’s bike-path system. The small size of the community and mild temperatures, which average 53°F, make bike commuting an easy and pleasant way to get around town.

Those who occasionally crave big-city life need only travel two hours north to Portland, the largest city in Oregon. This metropolitan area offers many of the amenities you would expect to find in a big city — concerts, nightclubs, theaters, art galleries, shopping, and numerous festivals. But returning to Eugene’s quiet streets and slower pace is always welcome after a visit!

Learn More About Eugene

City of Eugene Website 
Travel Oregon Online 
Chamber of Commerce 
Welcome to Oregon 
Convention & Visitor’s Association 
The Register Guard (local newspaper) 
Oregon Bach Festival 
Lane Arts Council 
The Eugene Weekly

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Housing Information

Generally, it’s easy to find housing in Eugene – though it does get more difficult just before fall term gets underway. If you want to live close to campus, you should try to find something well before fall term begins. Remember, you have free access to the city bus system as a student—so you do have free transportation should you choose to live farther out. Eugene is also bike friendly and it’s easy to get around town.

If questions persist, contact the Graduate Program Manager at

The Register Guard Classifieds 
The classified section of the Register Guard is a great resource. The RG allows you to search for real estate for rent and real estate for sale.

University of Oregon Housing 
The University Housing site offers information on how to apply for living space on and off campus, including residence halls and off-campus university housing.

Cooperative Student Housing 
The Student’s Cooperative Association is a student-owned housing organization that offers cooperative living arrangements in houses owned by members. There are three houses right on the edge of campus, including one geared toward graduate students.

Eugene Weekly Classifieds 
Eugene Weekly also has a classified section that may offer listings not included in the Register Guard. Scroll to the bottom of the classifieds to see the rentals.

Trulia University of Oregon 
This apartment rental page has listings with in-depth neighborhood information.

Zillow University of Oregon 
This apartment rental page has listings with fair rental price estimates.

Oregon Daily Emerald Classifieds 
The University of Oregon’s own daily publishes classified ads for rentals, roommates and more. A good resource if you’re looking for lodging close to campus.

Rental Agencies 
Current UO chemistry students have recommended the following agencies. This is not a complete list and has not been verified by the department:

Bennett Management Company, 541-485-6991, 980 Willamette St. #200 
Combined Realty Services, 541-485-2915, 1670 Oak St. 
Jennings & Co., 541-683-2271, 260 E. 11th 
David Pubols, 541-687-1381 
Property Management Concepts, 541-485-8220, 236 East 13th Ave #1

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University-Affiliated Childcare

The following centers offer childcare for UO students:

Moss Street Children’s Center 
Co-op Family Center 
Vivian Olum Child Development Center

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UO Facilities & Programs

Outdoor Program: For all sorts of outdoor information, rental gear, and excursions, contact the UO Outdoor Program for information on trips and rental gear.

UO Student Rec Center: To stay fit when you can’t get out, check out the student rec center, a facility that houses everything from a swimming pool to racquetball courts. Current students just show their ID card and have the run of the place. You’d be hard-pressed to find a better club no matter what you were willing to pay.

Club Sports: Club Sports offers a way for students to get involved in team sports with other students. Teams include everything from sky diving to cycling. Club sports is also a great resource for hooking up with other athletes.

Outdoor Activities

Eugene is well-known as a running town. The UO hosts national track events at Hayward Field, but it’s common to see Olympians out on the mulch trails around town as well. For more information on running in Eugene and events hosted by the UO:

Outside the city limits you will find miles of country roads for an escape on your road bike. You will also find some of the best mountain biking around within an hour of campus. Just stop by the local bike shops for tips on the best routes. Commuting in Eugene is easy – in large part because the large network of bike paths makes it easy to avoid traffic. The city puts out a bike map so you can plan your commute. Eugene is also home to several bike manufacturers, including Co-motion, Burley Design Cooperative, Bike Friday, and Rolf Wheels.

Fly Fishing 
Two rivers run right through town, the McKenzie and the Willamette. Both offer excellent trout fishing – and the Willamette is a healthy steelhead fishery as well. In addition, there is excellent fishing outside town in both rivers and the high lakes of the Cascades. You can learn more about the local fishing scene by visiting the Caddis Fly Angling Shop website or by calling Homewaters Fly Shop at 541-342-6691.

Skiing & Snowboarding 
When the snow falls, grab your skis or your board and head for Willamette Pass, just an hour and a half east of town. Or go a little further and head up to Mt. Bachelor or Hoodoo. Or head north to Mt. Hood and check out Mt. Hood Meadows, Ski Bowl, Timberline, and Cooper Spur. Other ski areas to check out include: Mt. Ashland (about three hours south), Anthony Lakes (near LaGrande) and Mt. Bailey (snow cat skiing near Diamond Lake)

For additional information about skiing in the area, check out Professor Hutchison’s ski page.

Rock Climbing 
Oregon is home to Smith Rock, the best rock climbing in the lower 48 and just 2 and a half hours from Eugene. Eugene also has a local rock gym, the Crux, and a local rock wall, the columns. In addition, UO students have access to the climbing wall at the Rec Center.

There are three skydiving companies listed in the yellow pages. You can also hook up with the club sports team:

Eugene Skydivers 
Skydive Oregon 
UO Club Sports

There are plenty of places to surf on the Oregon coast. The best place to get advice might be from the surfers on the club sports team.

Hood River has some of the best windsurfing you’ll find and is located just three hours north-east of Eugene.

There’s no shortage of waterways to explore around Eugene. You can canoe, kayak or raft the Willamette and the McKenzie close in. Or you can go a little farther and check out the Deschutes, Rogue and Umpqua – you’ll have more white water than you can handle. For more information on canoeing, kayaking and rafting in the area, check out Oregon River Sports. For those more interested in water skiing and jet boats, Fern Ridge Reservoir is close by and popular for sailing, water skiing, and power boating. Dexter Reservoir is also popular and just 20 miles from town.

You can swim indoors right on campus at the Rec Center. If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, you can swim in the local reservoirs or drive out to the beach (an hour away) to dip your toes in the chilly Pacific.

Florence has the world’s first (at least that we know of) sand park, where you can surf the dunes in style:

Ultimate Frisbee 
Ultimate is a popular Eugene pastime. The UO has men’s and women’s club sports teams – likely the best place to hook up with other players.

The only question in regard to hiking in Oregon is where to begin. Fortunately, you can get in a nice day hike without leaving town. The Ridgeline Trail runs right across the southern edge of town, along with the very popular Spencer’s Butte, which boasts 360-degree views of the Willamette valley. Beyond that, there is a great hiking trail that runs along the McKenzie (also great for mountain biking) and the miles of trails you’ll find in the Cascades. For a real visual treat, take yourself over to Crater Lake, the deepest lake in the United States, known for its crystal-clear blue water and gorgeous views.

Check out the web for state parks and national parks in Oregon. There’s plenty to see.

There’s no end to trails in the Pacific Northwest. Oregon is home to the Cascade Mountain Range (which includes the Three Sisters Wilderness Area). Washington is home of the Olympics. There’s more incredible backpacking than you’ll have time to do in grad school! Check out the web for state parks and national parks in Oregon.

Hook up with the UO’s Outdoor Program for some great trips and advice in regard to mountaineering. There are plenty of large peaks to climb around Oregon and Washington, including the Three Sisters, Mt. Hood, and Mt. Jefferson. The Cascade mountain range includes many other peaks. This website gives an overview: OPB Virtual Road Trips – Cascade Mountains

Good clean fun in the mud. Contact UO’s club sports to find out more about rugby in Eugene and how you can get involved:

UO Men’s Rugby 
UO Women’s Rugby

Hockey/Ice Skating 
The Lane Events Center has an indoor rink if you’re interested in ice skating. The UO club sports program also has a hockey team.

Once again, the best way to get involved with rowing is to contact club sports.

The UO has covered and uncovered tennis courts available to students. Bring your racket!

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Area Sights and Activities

Here are just a few of the many things to do in Eugene (or close by).

Take a drive to the coast. 
The beach is just an hour from town. Get on highway 126 and drive over to enjoy the chowder, the beaches and get a breath of coastal air.

Catch the sights and eats at the Saturday Market. 
Eugene’s Saturday Market has been a weekly tradition since 1970. Vendors and artisans sell everything from jewelry to phad thai in an outdoor market setting. Enjoy live music and an incredible array of local organic produce all summer long.

Run the river. 
You have your pick. The McKenzie and Willamette run right through town. Or you can drive south to the Umpqua or north to the Columbia – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Take your kayak, raft, or fly rod. There’s plenty to run and explore.

Take Fido to the dog park. 
Eugene has several dog parks created just for you and your four-legged pal. Take him out to meet other dogs and dog owners. Fun will be had by all.

Do a day hike. 
You can hike up to the top of Spencer’s Butte and get a panoramic view of Eugene. It’s a bit of a grind, so remember your water bottle and a light snack. Or, if you’re in the mood for an easier hike, tromp along the Pacific Crest Trail. Mt. Pisgah is also a favorite day hike for many.

Take a stroll along the river. 
Take a picnic and feed the ducks, or just enjoy watching the wildlife and your fellow walkers. Take a spin on the bike path and stop to smell the flowers at the city’s rose garden. Ride to the top of Skinner’s Butte and get a view of the city.

Do some outdoor recreating. 
See the outdoor activities on this page for other ideas.

Play a pick-up game at the rec. 
Grab a buddy and run over to the rec center for a quick game of basketball, soccer or raquet ball—and break from the lab. Your student ID gets you in.

Enjoy delicious bread and pastries at the local bakeries. 
We have several and they’re all good! Relax and kick back with a latte and a scone.

Do some mountain biking. 
You’ll find single-track and gravel roads just outside the city limits. Drive a little further and the possibilities are endless.

Take a bike ride in the country. 
Ride along the many country roads just outside town. The rides are only as limited as your lung capacity and imagination.

Kick back with a pint of local brew. 
Eugene has several brew pubs serving local and regional brews.

Go wine tasting. 
Lane County is home to at least ten wineries and vineyards. Spend an afternoon taking the tour and see the countryside as well.

Catch a live show. 
See the Arts and Music section for ideas and venues.

Cheer for the home team at a track meet. 
Join the rest of the city in cheering for some of the world’s finest at the Prefontaine Classic or any of the other exciting meets. Or don running shoes yourself and participate in the UO’s all-comer’s meet.

Catch a football game. 
The Ducks are popular, so arrive early to avoid the traffic.

Sip a cappuccino at one of the many coffee houses. 
Good coffee is in abundant supply in Eugene, so try them all and pick a favorite.

Join a First Friday art walk. 
The first Friday of each month you can travel on foot from gallery to gallery downtown and see what local and regional artists are showing – and meet other art fans.

Take a dive at the pool. 
Eugene’s Amazon pool is a great place to get wet during the summer months. In addition to a high dive and slide for the big kids, Amazon offers a shallow pool for the wee ones – as well as a sand box and interactive water features.

Watch a baseball game. 
The Eugene Emeralds play at PK Park, right behind Autzen Stadium. Grab a burger and cheer with everyone else.

Listen to the symphony. 
Or catch an opera or play.

Listen to a concert in the park. 
Call the ticket office and see who’s playing: 503-682-5000.

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Arts and Music

Eugene has a large and varied art and music scene for a town of its size. There’s always something to see or do. And if there’s not enough here, Portland’s only a two-hour drive.

Venues and Event Calendars

Annual Art and Music Festivals

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Graduate student Gabriela Bailey

"I have come to my place in academia with the guidance and mentorship of individuals who saw the value of diversity in STEM. One of my goals is to 'pay forward' the mentorship I have received throughout my STEM academic career."

Gabriela Bailey, Chemistry PhD student

Graduate student Laila Nawab

"I joined Cathy Wong’s Lab and will be working on creating an imaging technique to study mixed-halide perovskite nanocrystals during synthesis. I like to cook and try new recipes and would say my favorite cuisine is Persian food! When I’m not in lab, I enjoy going on hikes and exploring the great outdoors"

—Laila Nawab, Chemistry PhD student