Katie Mitchell-Koch

Hertz Fellow: Katie Mitchell-Koch

University of Kansas

Area of Study


Fellowship Years

2003 - 2008

Katie was a Ph.D. student in Ward Thompson’s group in the chemistry department at the University of Kansas.  Katie’s research interests lie in studying catalysis with computational chemistry methods. Her current research involves studying chemical behavior in nanoconfined solutions.  A number of synthetic and naturally occurring systems, including zeolites, sol-gels, and reverse micelles, contain nanoscale spaces in which liquids may be confined. Advances in materials synthesis have given rise to a spectacular range of physical and chemical properties in which the “architecture” can be manipulated.   By building an understanding of how the structure of materials affects the chemistry within, guiding principles may be elucidated to tailor the design of new functional materials for purposes such as catalysis, gas storage, and separations. 

In addition to the Hertz Fellowship, Katie also holds a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, and has received the 2007 Paul and Hellen Gilles Award in Physical Chemistry for outstanding academic performance and research accomplishment and the 2006 Reynold T. Iwamoto Scholarship for academic performance in chemistry.  In 2005, she was selected to travel with the U.S. delegation to the 55th Lindau meeting of Nobel laureates and students in Lindau, Germany.  Katie received a M.S. in physical chemistry from the University of Michigan in 2005, and graduated with highest distinction from the University of Kansas in 2003 with a B.S. in chemistry.

Recently, Katie’s interest in advocating for science funding in public policy led to her speaking at a Town Hall Meeting on Competitiveness in May 2007 with U.S. Representative Nancy Boyda.  She also traveled to Washington, D. C. in September 2007 to lobby for science funding with the American Chemical Society.  Besides chemistry, other things that make Katie happy include singing and hanging out with her husband, Jeremy, and dog, Josie.