Kurtis Carsch is a senior at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena, California, where he will receive both a BS and an MS in chemistry in Spring 2016. Having conducted research at both a startup company, SAFCell, and Honeywell UOP, Kurtis aspires to use these experiences as points of departure in developing commercially viable technology. As an NSF Fellow and Hertz Fellow, he will pursue his PhD in inorganic chemistry at Harvard University, to understand energy-related transformations in biological system, where he aims to establish a computational-experimental research program on biology-inspired energy design.
Kurtis’ enthusiasm for research originated from his two-year, early-college experience, when he was 16 years of age at the Texas Academy for Mathematics and Science (University of North Texas). While there, he explored the transformation of natural gas into commodity chemicals by metal-containing catalysts through a joint synthesis-computational endeavor. Kurtis thereafter attended Caltech and continued his research at the interface of experimental and theoretical chemistry. Through publications and national presentations, he demonstrated the improved understanding of fundamental processes in biological photosynthesis and hydrocarbon transformation through a combined computational-experimental approach. Kurtis’ accomplishments include: publications in impactful science journals, numerous awards and recognitions, meeting the president of the United States through the Intel Science Talent Search, and the respect and encouragement he has garnered to formulate and pursue varied research projects.
Kurtis attributes his interest in chemistry to a Danish upbringing in which playing with Legos established a joyous foundation for his later interest in combining elements to create molecules with unprecedented properties. Kurtis is from Bellevue, Washington.