CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have selected the first group of students for the PNNL-OSU Distinguished Graduate Research Program.

The program adds a new dimension to OSU and PNNL’s long partnership, which includes joint faculty appointments and research projects. The program is available to students who have been accepted into an OSU STEM Ph.D. program.

“This new program is an exciting opportunity to grow our research collaborations with PNNL as well as a unique opportunity for OSU graduate students to grow professionally in ways that would not ordinarily be possible by conducting impactful research at a national laboratory,” said Irem Tumer, interim vice president for research at OSU.

“With the selection of these students, we are delighted at fruition of the partnership between OSU and PNNL that will support graduate students and strengthen our scientific collaborations in several areas,” said Philip Mote, vice provost and dean of the Graduate School at OSU.

The first cohort was selected from students nominated by OSU faculty and PNNL scientists. Here are the students and the Ph.D. programs they are pursuing:

  • Barton Gattis, mathematics
  • Matthew Koszuta, ocean, earth and atmospheric sciences
  • Lauren Palys, chemistry
  • Erin Rooney, crop and soil science
  • Widitha Samarakoon, chemical engineering

The students will complete their coursework at OSU and collaborate with nationally recognized PNNL scientists on their dissertation projects. Students receive a stipend and benefits and will be guided in their research by a graduate committee.

“As an OSU alumna, I’m thrilled with the establishment of the PNNL-OSU Distinguished Graduate Researcher Program,” said Malin Young, PNNL deputy director for science and technology. “Just as my OSU experience laid the groundwork for the rest of my career, the DGRP program will provide a fantastic opportunity for scientists to pursue non-traditional coursework and creative career paths.  I’m honored to have the opportunity to work with OSU faculty and students to build this program over the coming years.”

A new cohort will be selected every year.

General OSU

About Oregon State University: As one of only three land, sea, space and sun grant universities in the nation, Oregon State serves Oregon and the world by working on today’s most pressing issues. Our more than 34,000 students come from across the globe, and our programs operate in every Oregon county. Oregon State receives more research funding than all of the state’s comprehensive public universities combined. At our campuses in Corvallis and Bend, marine research center in Newport, OSU Portland Center and award-winning Ecampus, we excel at shaping today’s students into tomorrow’s leaders.

Story By: 

Yanyun Zhao, 541-737-0556, [email protected]


Yanyun Zhao, 541-737-0556, [email protected]


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