Alumni Profile: Brian Coombs
HOMETOWN: Truckee, Calif.
YEAR GRADUATED UO: 2011
DEGREE: Chemistry, Cum Laude, Departmental Honors
NOTABLE SCHOLARSHIPS: I received the Department of Defense Science, Mathematics, and Research for Transformation Scholarship. The SMART scholarship paid all of my tuition and gave me a salary while I was in school, allowing me to focus on classes and research instead of juggling working full time and going to school. In return I had to work at a sponsoring government research facility upon graduation. The facility that sponsored me was the U.S. Army Tank and Automotive Research, Development, and Engineering Center, outside Detroit, Mich. I worked as a fuels and lubricants chemist, conducting novel research that focused on achieving an increase in energy independence and vehicle efficiency with the use of unique fuels and lubricants. After working in Detroit for the Army for two and a half years, paying back my financial obligation, I chose to pursue my passion of craft beer and take a job at Oakshire Brewing back here in Eugene.
CURRENT JOB: Quality Control and Quality Assurance Coordinator at Oakshire Brewing in Eugene. I was hired to build their lab program that will help ensure Oakshire continues to make the highest quality and consistent beer possible.
HOW I GOT WHERE I AM TODAY: The Pacific Northwest has a thriving craft beer industry, and it was easy to get into the craft beer culture. In my last quarter of college, I had a pretty light schedule, and I was able to get an internship at Oakshire. What I thought would be just a fun one-quarter project turned into a passion for craft beer.
WHAT I DO FOR FUN: Growing up in Tahoe made me love being outside, so I am usually riding my bike, skiing, or just outside playing with my dog.
FAVORITE PROFESSOR: I had so many professors in the Chemistry Department that I viewed as mentors and great teachers that it is impossible to narrow it down to one. Michael Haley and Darren Johnson were phenomenal research advisors and mentors throughout my development as a chemist. Michael Koscho was an awesome academic advisor and gave me the opportunity to be a TA for the organic chemistry lab sequence. And lastly Harper Keeler, who taught Urban Farm, was a huge influence on my lifestyle and awareness of the environment and food system.
WHAT I LEARNED: The opportunity to conduct undergraduate research was the most beneficial aspect of my undergraduate studies at UO. I think you learn more skills applicable to the "real world" in one day in a research setting than a month in the classroom. I doubt that I would have had this opportunity at a larger school.
WHY I’M PROUD TO BE A DUCK: I love being a Duck for a variety of reasons but most of all its other Ducks! The community of Ducks (either students, professors, alumni, and Eugeneans) are one of the best communities out there! Whether its about the environment and the outdoors, community involvement, business, art, music or Ducks sports, all the other Ducks I know are a super passionate awesome group of people!
Read about other young alumni here.