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C. Kyle Almlie Oral History Interview, October 27, 2016

Oregon State University
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00:00:00 - Interview Introduction

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Partial Transcript: Alright, go ahead.

Segment Synopsis: Almlie introduces himself, and states his birth date, the current date, and the location of the interview.

Keywords: Brewing--Chemistry; Fermentation science

Subjects: Analytical chemistry; Beer and brewing; Chemistry; Corvallis (Or.); Oregon State University

00:00:11 - Childhood and Relationships from Chico, California

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Partial Transcript: Alright, wonderful. Can you tell me a little bit more

Segment Synopsis: Almlie discusses his experience growing up in a small town like Chico, California, and how that resulted in his interest with living in Corvallis. He describes the cultural diversity of Chico in terms of the interface between the university, the town and the surrounding agriculture. Almlie also tells an anecdote about his first name, as opposed to the name he goes by. He transitions into summarizing his childhood experiences with extended family, and how he now has to travel more to visit his old communities. He also discusses the opportunity to meet people and experience different cultures around the US through traveling to scientific conferences.

Keywords: Holiday traveling; Only children; Scientific conferences; Social networking--science; University culture

Subjects: Agriculture--California; Camping--United States; Chico (Calif.); Childhood; Cultural Diversity; Food cultures in America; Nicknames; Small towns

00:06:19 - Transition into Undergraduate Study of Chemistry

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Partial Transcript: So, going back in time a little bit

Segment Synopsis: Almlie explains his interest in music technology in high school from his experience as a guitarist in a band, and how that transpired in him starting the in the Electrical Engineering program at Chico state. He then describes how he ended up switching majors to chemistry based on reflection in his other high school interests. Almlie discusses his various experiences as the president of the university chemistry club, and as a chemistry tutor.

Keywords: California State University, Chico; Chemistry clubs; High School chemistry days; Music technology; Sound technology; Tutoring--science

Subjects: Chemistry; Chico (Calif.); Electrical engineering; Sound engineering; Tutoring; Undergraduate students

00:09:52 - Involvement in the Chico State Chemistry Summer Research Initiative (CSRI)

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Partial Transcript: So, you also received some summer fellowships

Segment Synopsis: Almlie summarizes his experience with the Chemistry Summer Research Initiative (CSRI) program at CSU, Chico, which allowed him to do chemistry research for two summers during his undergraduate career. He reflects on the benefits of doing research during summer vacation as opposed to during the school year, along with the learning gained from an engaged program.

Keywords: CSU, Chico; Research fellowships; Summer research internships; Undergraduate research

Subjects: Chemistry; Chemistry--Research; Chico (Calif.); Summer Jobs; Undergraduate students

00:11:10 - Jobs and Activities during College

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Partial Transcript: Yeah, and you were working a couple of jobs all through college

Segment Synopsis: Almlie describes the various jobs and extracurricular activities he participated in during his undergraduate experience, ranging from experiences in chemistry to teaching and customer service in farming. He notes his appreciation for being exposed to the chemistry field from several different perspectives.

Keywords: Agriculture (Chico, Calif.); Chemistry clubs; Farm supply stores; Peer tutoring; Urban farm stores

Subjects: Charter schools; Chemistry; Customer service; Laboratory technicians; Property management; Tutoring; Urban farming

00:12:39 - Early interest in Teaching Chemistry

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Partial Transcript: So a lot of those experiences were in teaching- did you, at that time

Segment Synopsis: Almlie explains the basis for his passion in teaching chemistry, which arose during his undergraduate experience. He discusses his interest in making chemistry for accessible and enjoyable to students, and how he gets the most reward out of building students’ confidence as chemists. Almlie goes on to detail his observations of pedagogy instruction as a graduate student, and the difficulty of teaching it when everyone has a different teaching style. He also reflects on his early preparation for teaching at Chico State, and how his professors gave him experience in classroom management.

Keywords: Chemistry--enjoyment; Learning--enjoyment; Teaching styles; Teaching--public service; Teaching--rewards

Subjects: Chemistry--education; Experiential learning; Pedagogy; Student teachers; Teaching assistants; Teaching strategies; Undergraduate students

00:16:02 - Research Projects in Biodiesel Development

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Partial Transcript: Kind of shifting gears back more towards your undergraduate research

Segment Synopsis: Almlie describes his initial research project in synthesizing biodegradable plastics through the CSRI program, and the intention for it to be used in Sun Chip bags. He then discusses his more prominent research project in biodiesel development using local crop sources, such as olives and almonds. Almlie notes the various complications in the project, such as the various spectator compounds in olives. He contemplates the value of learning about failure in academic research, as well as the local colloquialism surrounding the pronunciation of “almonds.”

Keywords: Agricultural science; Failure in Academic research; Sun Chips; Sustainable development of Biodiesel

Subjects: Agricultural wastes; Agricultural wastes as fuel; Agriculture--California; Biodegradable plastics; Polylactic acid

00:20:46 - Introduction to Home Brewing / Beer and Gluten Allergies

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Partial Transcript: But so you had this agriculture kind of surrounding Chico

Segment Synopsis: Almlie discusses the home brew culture in Chico, California, noting the significant impact of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. on the community. He compares the prevalence of home brew culture in Chico and Corvallis, also recounting the various reasons why he wasn’t aware of home brewing during college. Almlie then discusses his exposure to agriculture in Chico from a research perspective in biofuels. He then transitions into talking about his gluten allergy, and how that limits his interaction with the local brewing community. He recounts how he got involved with home brewing himself through the use of gluten-free ingredients.

Keywords: Brewing chemistry; Consumerism--beer; Fermentation science; Gluten-free beer; Home brewing; Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Subjects: Agriculture--California; Beer--Chemistry; Environmental chemistry; Gluten-free diet; Microbreweries; Sustainable chemistry

00:25:04 - Techniques for Producing Gluten-Free Beer

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Partial Transcript: So, as far as the differences regular gluten-filled beer

Segment Synopsis: Almlie discusses the recent use of the Clarity Ferm beer enzyme to produce gluten-reduced beers at various breweries. He notes the various breweries that use the enzyme, along with his own interest in making gluten-reduced beer. He recounts the difficulty of making gluten-free or gluten-reduced beers due to the different fermentable sugars that are present, and how that relates to the quality of the product.

Keywords: Beer ingredients; Clarity Ferm beer enzyme; Gluten-free beer; Gluten-reduced beer; White Labs

Subjects: Beer and brewing; Beer--Flavor and odor; Celiac Disease; Gluten-free diet; Hops

00:28:25 - Experimentation and Supplies for Home Brewing

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Partial Transcript: So, as far as different kinds of alcoholic beverages you've made

Segment Synopsis: Almlie explains how his level of experimentation as a home brewer has grown with his equipment, and how he’s focused on mead since starting to homebrew. He describes the development of his process in partnership with his roommate, and how their next project is making gluten-reduced beers. Almlie details the professional purpose of White Labs in developing yeasts and other brewing supplies. He then talks about his involvement in the Corvallis home brewing community, and that while he doesn’t participate very much, he does talk to local brewers and hopes to start competing at home brewing festivals.

Keywords: Brewing competitions; Brewing festivals; Brewing supplies; Heart of the Valley Homebrewers; Home brewing

Subjects: Beer and brewing; Brewing--Equipment and supplies; Mead; Oregon State University; Yeast fungi--Research--Methodology

00:35:27 - Involvement in the Corvallis Home Brewing Community

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Partial Transcript: So do you participate as a consumer at all, or is it just

Keywords: Brewing chemistry; Brewing experimentation; Gluten-free beer; Oregon State University archives; Wine making

Subjects: Agriculture--History; Brewing industry--History; Community participation; Mead; Oregon State University

00:39:31 - Pursuing a PhD at Oregon State University

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Partial Transcript: I think that transitions pretty nicely into talking about how you got affiliated with OSU

Segment Synopsis: Almlie recounts how he first got interested in pursuing graduate school at Oregon State while still in college in California. He details the different strategies he used to be accepted as a doctoral student in the OSU chemistry department, and how that contrasts with his reclusiveness in home brewing. Almlie notes how his connections in the chemistry department introduced him to his initial interest in homebrewing.

Keywords: Brewing science; Graduate school programs; Graduate studies in chemistry; Scientists and beer; Scientists and brewing; Student engagement

Subjects: Corvallis (Or.); Graduate students; Oregon State University; Oregon State University. Department of Chemistry

00:41:29 - Intersections between Chemistry Education and Home Brewing

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Partial Transcript: So flip-flopping back between home brewing and OSU

Segment Synopsis: Almlie explains the different influences teaching and chemistry research have had on his perceptions of the home brewing level. He describes how these influences shape his problem-solving skills as a home brewer. Almlie discusses how working in education teaches you to take understanding of processes as far as you’re interested, making reference to the chemical behavior of hop oils in beer.

Keywords: Brewing--chemistry; Chemistry and brewing; Chemistry--teaching; Home brewing

Subjects: Analytical chemistry; Beer and brewing; Beer--Analysis; Science education; Scientific method in action; Scientific processes

00:43:37 - Hop Chemistry in Mead Production / OSU Hop Research

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Partial Transcript: Is there a variety of mead or beer that you're particularly proud of?

Segment Synopsis: Almlie describes several of his favorite homemade meads, along with the process used in making them. He discusses his interest in hopped meads, along with the behavior of chemicals in hops that lead the specific aromas they produce. Almlie then transitions into discussing his awareness of the hop research program at OSU, along with various environmental stewardship programs. He notes the importance of hops as a great specimen to practice chemical analysis methods on. He states his connection both to home brewing and hops through his understanding of the underlying chemistry, and how that can assist. him in manipulating products more accurately.

Keywords: Brewing methods; Brewing--methods; Hop farming; Hopped mead; Hops--aroma; Session Mead

Subjects: Beer--Flavor and odor; Brewing--History; Dry hopping; Environmental stewardship; Hops; Mead; Oregon State University; Terpenes

00:49:12 - Involvement in Research with the Burrows' Lab

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Partial Transcript: So transitioning back towards just being a member of the OSU community

Segment Synopsis: Almlie states the similarities between his perceptions as a homebrewer and as a published researcher in terms of confidence. He describes his experience as the graduate teaching assistant for the honors college section of General Chemistry at OSU, and how that has influenced his teaching style. Almlie also describes his experiences in helping build the Burrows’ lab in the Department of Chemistry, along with the excitement to be published in the scientific community. Almlie notes the irony of his engineering focus within the lab, given his initial rejection of studying engineering in college. He analyzes the importance of an interdisciplinary environment in scientific research, and how that will better prepare him for future career opportunities.

Keywords: Diverse skill development; Interdisciplinary approach in research; Problem-solving in research; Scientific validation; Student mentors; Validation in science

Subjects: Analytical chemistry; Biosensors; Cancer--Research; Fluorescence spectroscopy; Interdisciplinary approach to knowledge; Mentorship

00:57:34 - Future Career Goals

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Partial Transcript: So, have you started looking at where you want to end up

Segment Synopsis: Almlie states that he hopes to stay in Corvallis and to be a professor and researcher. He recognizes the limited job market within his interests, but explains his continued optimism about career prospects. He discusses the importance of participating in scientific conferences in order to network more broadly for job opportunities.

Keywords: Post-doctoral research; Post-doctoral work; Social diversity; Teaching in higher education

Subjects: Conferences; Corvallis (Or.); Education; Social networking; Teaching

00:58:33 - Teaching and Mentoring Experiences at Oregon State

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Partial Transcript: So you're teaching a lecture section this year

Segment Synopsis: Almlie discusses his new position as a lecturer the general chemistry series at Oregon State, and how it compares to being a teaching assistant for the honors college section of the course. He describes some of the potential student response to having a graduate student as a lecturer, and how he had to fight to get official listing as an instructor. Almlie also comments on his role as a mentor for ChUME (Chemistry Undergraduate Mentorship and Empowerment Initiative), and the current transition occurring for the program.

Keywords: Chemistry instruction; Chemistry instructors; Lectures by graduate students; Mentorship in chemistry

Subjects: Curriculum development; Graduate teaching assistants; Lecturing; Mentorship; Role models; Teaching

01:05:49 - Research Conferences and Awards / Conclusions on the OSU Community

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Partial Transcript: Kind of shifting back into research

Segment Synopsis: Almlie recounts his experience at the Sciex conference for the Federation of Analytical Chemistry and Spectroscopy Societies (FACSS), and his perspectives on representing research in the Pacific Northwest. He specifically describes his response to receiving an award for his poster along with a research partner, and to representing Oregon State University in that award. Almlie then discusses different kinds of spectroscopy. He concludes his thoughts on his involvement with Oregon State, and the satisfaction he receives from participating in multiple projects.

Keywords: Oregon--Scientific research; Representation in science; Research posters; Research--Pacific Northwest; Scientific awards; Vibrational spectroscopy; Work ethic in science

Subjects: Federation of Analytical Chemistry and Spectroscopy Societies; Fluorescence spectroscopy; Oregon State University; Work ethic