William Keown

Photo of William Keown

Hometown: Rockport, IN

Currently: Completing the PhD program in Chemistry at Stanford University


Degree: Bachelor of Science

Major: Biology and Chemistry

Institution Indiana University

Class of: Spring, 2014

Other Information

Brief statement about how the McNair Scholars Program helped you get where you are today.

I owe McNair a lot for allowing me to get as far as I am today. Being a first generation college student, I had no idea how to go about applying for graduate school, writing personal statements, interviewing with professors, etc. McNair also does a great job preparing students for giving presentations to both small groups and at conferences. More than anything, I think McNair does a great job in identifying and improving any weak points you may have while still boosting your strengths to let everyone find the right path for them. 

Any advice for new McNair Scholars?

Graduate school is something of an enigma. It is at the same time one of the most fun and stressful things you will ever do. Throughout graduate school you will grow as a person and as an intellectual while making friendships with people who share your passion and interest for your field. However, it is a demanding job so be sure to enjoy yourself and make the most out of all your experiences. 

I chose to attend Stanford for graduate school because I enjoyed my interview with Professor Stack, who I now work for. The department as a whole is very friendly and goes out of its way to make sure the graduate students are happy through barbecues, tail gates, free food, etc. Additionally, Stanford offers an abundance of opportunities to address any students' interest. However, when choosing a school or lab to do your graduate work at, by far the most important factor to consider is finding an advisor that you get along with. It's very important that you find a professor that you have similar philosophies to because you will be working with them very closely for the next several years. Personally, I couldn't imagine myself being happier in graduate school anywhere else than at Stanford. 

Addtional Information

Currently, William is a research assistant in the Stack Lab studying bioinorganic chemistry. Specifically, he specializes in the field of copper-dioxygen chemistry where he makes synthetic model systems of several copper-containing enzyme active-sites which utilize O2, such as tyrosinase and particulate methane monoxygenase, to activate strong carbon-hydrogen bonds with the goal of employing this chemistry for both industrial and synthetic fuel processes.