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Whitworth Student Wins Award at Murdock College Science Research Conference

November 18, 2021

A Whitworth University chemistry student earned a top award at the 2021 Murdock College Science Research Conference, held Nov. 11-12 in Vancouver, Wash. 

Abigail Robb ’22 won the 2021 John Van Zytveld Physical Sciences Award for her presentation, “Electric Field Dependence of Ions Produced through Electrospray Ionization Using Ion Mobility Spectrometry.”

Robb received a $500 scholarship as well as a $1,000 award for Whitworth’s chemistry department.

“As a research advisor, it is my joy to see students develop in chemistry and research during their time at Whitworth,” says Eric Davis, Whitworth associate professor of chemistry. “Abby has been my student for the past two years, and I am proud to see her hard work and dedication to her research and studies be recognized by the Murdock Trust. She is a bright and enthusiastic student who continues a legacy of excellence in research and academics within the Whitworth Chemistry Department. I am excited to follow her career in the coming years!"

Nearly 300 college students and faculty from Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana and Alaska attended the 30th annual conference in person, while others joined by virtual methods to celebrate outstanding collaborative faculty-student research at institutions across the Northwest. 

Robb’s win follows a series of impressive achievements by Whitworth students at the Murdock conference over the last few years: 

Alex Hoffman ’16 received the award in 2015 for his collaborative work with Professor of Biology Aaron Putzke on zebrafish and cell development. 

Nicholas Bratt ’19 won the award in 2017 in the life sciences category for his presentation on celiac disease research.

Samartha Shrestha ’20 won the award in 2019 for his presentation on a photoresin that would be compatible with the 3D printer in Whitworth’s Microdevices Lab. 

In 2020, Biology major Ryan Bax ’21 won the John Van Zytveld Life Sciences Award for his oral presentation, and chemistry major Drew Craddock ’21 won the Murdock Poster Prize for Organic Chemistry. 

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 M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, click here.

About Whitworth University:

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.


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