Idaho Falls, Idaho, USA
Brigham Young University – Idaho, Chemistry, 2014
Current Research Focus
My focus is on developing nanomaterial synthesis of a new and hot-topic material class called hybrid organic/inorganic perovskites (such as methylammonium lead iodide), specifically by using vapor-phase techniques such as chemical vapor deposition (CVD). In my first year, I demonstrated the first-ever synthesis of lead halide nanowires grown by a self-catalyzed vapor-liquid-solid mechanism that gives good control over shape, size, and even position of the nanowires. These are then easily converted to perovskite. For the past year I have been planning and building a new CVD system to open up more opportunities in developing perovskite nanowires for fundamental study and eventual application.
Jon spent most of his life with his fellow spuds in Idaho. His first life-changing moment with Chemistry happened as his high school chemistry instructor touched a feather to a Lego soaked in nitrogen triiodide (kaboom!). Shortly after graduating summa cum laude from Idaho Falls High School, he spent two years in Calgary, Alberta as a Mormon missionary. Upon returning, he began his studies of Chemistry at Brigham Young University – Idaho. He played the role of “Iodine Man” in the 3rd Annual Chemistry Extravaganza, an entertaining and educational evening of chemistry demonstrations for the community. He served twice as president of the Chemistry Society, authored a paper for the Journal of Chemical Education, and presented his research about carrots and soft robots at several research conferences. Jon worked on nanoparticle-embedded polymer membranes for water purification at the Leibniz Institute for Surface Modification in Leipzig, Germany through the Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst. Jon graduated summa cum laude from Brigham Young University – Idaho in April 2014 and began research in the Cahoon Lab at UNC in July 2015. When Jon isn’t at work, he is spending time as husband and father to his family or as counselor to his bishop in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He enjoys finding creative, constructive, and fun activities to do with his wife Kalie, their 3-year-old daughter Clara, and their 9-month-old son Asa. Some of these include cycling, hammocking, cooking, reading, woodworking, and playing games created by a 3-year-old.
Why did you choose UNC Chemistry?
After a long and difficult hunt for the right graduate program, I settled on UNC Chemistry because 1) I was absolutely amazed at the nanomaterials being produced by Prof. Jim Cahoon’s lab, 2) I was assured I would gain experiences in synthesis, modeling, and characterizing, 3) I had good experiences with Prof. Cahoon and his students, and 4) Chapel Hill felt comfortable and safe for my family.
What are your future plans?
As is true of many graduate students, my future plans are still in the works. I’m very grateful for the Graduate School’s many seminars and workshops related to career development and career selection. Wherever I end up, it will be somewhere I can use my strengths in consistency, arranging, positivity, individualization, and always looking to the future.