Two Students Awarded 2012 Doctoral Research Fellowships

Monica McLellan and Christopher Weber, 2012 UO Doctoral Research Fellows


The Graduate School is pleased to announce that two doctoral candidates have been awarded the 2012-13 University of Oregon Doctoral Research Fellowship: Monica McLellan (Department of Comparative Literature) and Christopher D. Weber (Department of Chemistry). The UO Doctoral Research Fellowship, which includes an $18,000 stipend and a University tuition waiver, supports outstanding advanced doctoral degree candidates as they complete their research and write their dissertations. The funding begins in the fall of 2012 and is available to recipients for up to 12 months.

Monica McLellan of Flagstaff, Arizona is writing a dissertation, Translating the Afterlives of Qu Yuan, that is simultaneously an English-language translation of the ancient Chinese lyric poem “Li Sao” and an examination of the 2,300-year history of interpreting that text. Although the “Li Sao” is considered a foundational literary work of Chinese nationalism—required reading for every high school student in the most populous nation on earth—it has received relatively little attention in Western language scholarship. This is in no small part because of the many ambiguities the poem presents for contemporary translators and readers. To meet this challenge, McLellan is striving to both translate the text linguistically and maintain in translation its potential for multiple interpretations. Her long-term goal is to create a stylized, web-based version of the text with images and links to historical reference material. This context-rich version will greatly enhance the pedagogical value of the translation. McLellan’s work will also make significant contributions to scholarship on the theory of reading, enunciating, and interpreting texts.

Ms. McLellan earned a bachelor’s degree from the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at New York University, where she concentrated on journalism and foreign languages and graduated summa cum laude in 2005. Subsequently, she worked for two years as an ESL teacher at the Clifford Bilingual School in Guangzhou, China before coming to the University of Oregon to begin her graduate studies. She has served as a Graduate Teaching Fellow for courses in the Departments of Comparative Literature and East Asian Languages and Literatures. She received a 2009 Foreign Languages and Area Studies Grant from the Center for Asian and Pacific Studies at the University of Oregon and a 2011-2012 Translation Studies Working Group Graduate Translation Studies Research Award from Global Oregon. McLellan was also awarded a Fulbright Research Scholarship for 2011-2012 in support of her dissertation research at Hunan University in Changsha, China.

Christopher D. Weber of Eugene, Oregon is studying the process of photochemical oxidation of conjugated polymers—that is, the degradation of electrically conductive plastics by air in the presence of light. This work has important implications for the development of more cost-effective sustainable energy technologies. Organic photovoltaic cells (OPVs) composed of organic molecules and polymers offer a number of technical and economic advantages over the silicon-based solar cells currently in use. However, if OPVs are ever to become commercially viable, scientists must first find a way to increase their stability in air. Weber’s work is aimed at overcoming this fundamental chemical problem. By furthering our understanding of the role played by ionic functionality in controlling the oxidation of conjugated polymers—which had previously been only marginally explored by chemists—Weber’s research is making important strides toward achieving the goal of cheaper and more versatile solar energy technologies.

Mr. Weber earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, graduating summa cum laude in 2006. As an undergraduate, he was recognized with the 2006 American Chemical Society (South Jersey Section) Award for Outstanding Chemistry Student and The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey Chemistry Program Award for Excellence in Chemistry, 2007. As a graduate student at the University of Oregon, Weber has twice been recognized for Research Achievement (2011, 2010) by the National Science Foundation’s Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship program (IGERT), and his work has been published in the peer-reviewed journal Macromolecules. He has served as a Graduate Teaching Fellow for General Chemistry Laboratory, Organic Chemistry Laboratory, and the UO Materials Science Institute Summer Internship Program. Also committed to community outreach and secondary science education, Weber has initiated and conducted workshops for local high school students.

The fellowship program, a joint effort of the Graduate School and the Office of the Vice President for Research, Innovation and Graduate Education, is designed to promote excellence in research at the University of Oregon. The fellowships are available to eligible doctoral degree candidates in all academic disciplines in their final year at the university. Each department nominates one candidate for the fellowship, and a subcommittee of the University of Oregon Graduate Council evaluates the applications in consultation with Kimberly Espy, vice president for research and innovation and dean of the Graduate School.

Congratulations, Christopher and Monica!


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