The Michigan Engineer News Center

Four ChE graduate students receive NSF Fellowships

Congratulations to our 2014 National Science Graduate Research Fellows. | Medium Read

Congratulations to our 2014 National Science Graduate Research Fellows. This year, four of our graduate students received fellowships (in photo from l/r): Howie Chu from Charles Monroe’s group; Megan Dunn from Tim Scott’s group; Molly Kozminsky from Sunitha Nagrath’s group; and Sydney Laramie from Levi Thompson’s group. Only 69 fellowships in chemical engineering were awarded nationally. Congratulations also to Sarah Peleg from Levi Thompson’s group who received an honorable mention.

Howie Chu is working on the impact of mechanical phenomena on prismatic lithium ion batteries during operation. Currently automotive batteries have a great deal of excess capacity and operate in a limited range of charge states to avoid capacity fade when running. He is working to better understand the relationship between mechanical effects at the various length scales of the battery (electrode, cell, and pack), with the goal of designing control schemes that will allow for greater utilization of battery materials. Howie is from New York City and received his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from City College of New York.

Megan Dunn, from Muskogee, Oklahoma, received her bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Arkansas. She is working on directed self-assembly of information bearing oligomers by utilizing dynamic covalent chemistry. She hopes her research will lead to the facile fabrication of complex and robust proteomimetic nanostructures that can find utility in diverse applications ranging from enzyme-mimicking catalysts to the generation of molecular circuits and optoelectronic devices. After graduation, she plans to go into academia.

Molly Kozminsky is studying the use of microfluidics in cancer research, specifically for the isolation of circulating tumor cells (CTCs). She is specializing in the application of immunocapture to CTC recovery, culture, and analysis in prostate and bladder cancers with an emphasis on the use of nanomaterials. Her research goals include the capture and characterization of these cells in the stated cancers. She is also working on the creation of a biomimetic environment to recapitulate organ-specific metastasis.  Molly, who also is planning a career in academia, is from State College, Pennsylvania.  She completed her bachelor’s degree in chemical-biological engineering at MIT.

Sydney Laramie, from Boonville, NY, received her bachelor’s degrees in chemical engineering and chemistry from Clarkson University. She is doing research that is focused on non-aqueous redox flow batteries that are attractive for large-scale energy storage applications such as the integration of renewable energy sources, e.g., solar and wind, into the existing electrical grid. Sydney’s research is focused on designing new active species with increased solubilities that will enable the development of non-aqueous redox flow batteries with high energy and power densities. In addition, she is investigating mixed solvent systems and developing a structure-property correlation to guide her investigation of mixtures that will further enhance solubility. After she receives her PhD she is looking forward to a career in industrial research.

Portrait of Sandy Swisher

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Sandy Swisher
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Chemical Engineering

(734) 764-7413

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Metal rods that are part of the molecular epitaxy beam apparatus at Michigan Engineering. Photo by Joseph Xu, Michigan Engineering Communications & Marketing

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