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Whitworth Student Wins Physical Science Award at Murdock Conference

November 27, 2019
Whitworth University is pleased to announce biology major Samartha Shrestha ’20 was awarded the John Van Zytveld Award in the Physical Sciences at the 2019 Murdock College Science Research Conference held in Vancouver, Wash., on Nov. 8-9.

Shrestha’s oral presentation, “A transparent UVA-1 biocompatible photoresin towards 3D printing,” outlined a research project carried out in Whitworth’s new Microdevices Lab in which Shrestha created a photoresin that would be compatible with the lab’s new 3D printer.

Shrestha was judged on his knowledge of the material, creativity, clarity, level of preparation and ability to keep the audience interested.

“Whitworth’s engineering & physics department is proud of Samartha for his hard work and dedication to his research,” says Philip Measor, assistant professor of engineering & physics. “His extraordinary work shined through in his presentation, and we are fortunate that our peers recognized it. Research can be a powerful learning experience, and Samartha is an excellent example of how students can be involved in research that pushes the boundaries of knowledge.”

Shrestha received a cash prize that will be split between him and the Microdevices Lab to fund future research.

This is the third time since 2015 a Whitworth student has won a presentation award at the conference. Alex Hoffman ’16 was awarded in 2015 for his collaborative work with Professor of Biology Aaron Putzke on zebrafish and cell development, and Nicholas Bratt ‘19 won the award in 2017 in the life sciences category for his presentation on celiac disease research.

The John Van Zytveld Award’s namesake is a longtime senior program director at the Murdock Trust and a champion for undergraduate research and science education. For more information on the MJ Murdock Charitable Trust, click here.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian church. The university, which has an enrollment of more than 3,000 students, offers more than 100 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.


Philip Measor, assistant professor of engineering & physics, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4420 or

Trisha Coder, media relations manager, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or