Vanessa Orr

Credentials: Chemistry Ph.D., Spring 2021 (McMahon and Woods)

I grew up in southern California and received my B.S. in chemistry from California Lutheran University. In the fall of 2014, I joined the McMahon | Woods Research Group in the Department of Chemistry at UW-Madison. My graduate research focused on the rotational spectroscopy of organic molecules that are relevant to astrochemistry. I also had amazing some opportunities during my graduate studies, including working with Cheri Barta in the Undergraduate Research Office and volunteering on the Chemistry Opportunities (CHOPs) Team. After graduation I am staying in Madison and starting a new job.

Robert McMahon
Rotational and Vibrational Spectroscopy and Structure Determination of Organic Molecules of Astrochemical Relevance
Future Plans
I will be working as the Bioimaging North America (BINA) Program Administrator at the Morgridge Institute for Research in Madison, WI.
Person smiling and standing next to Bucky Badger cardboard cutout


View ORCID associated publications.

Orr, V. L.; Esselman, B. J.; Dorman, P. M.; Amberger, B. K.; Guzei, I. A.; Woods, R. C.; McMahon, R. J. Millimeter-wave Spectroscopy, X-ray Crystal Structure, and Quantum Chemical Studies of Diketene – Resolving Ambiguities Concerning the Structure of the Ketene Dimer. J. Phys. Chem. A. 2016, 120 (39), 7753-7763.


My favorite memory of being a chemistry graduate student is all the amazing colleagues I have had the opportunity to work with. This department is made up of amazing faculty, staff, and students, and it has been a fantastic working with them. It was particularly fun to get together at the department’s summer BBQ’s on Friday afternoons!