The Michigan Engineer News Center

Two CEE graduate students receive Richard F. and Eleanor A. Towner award

CEE students Ellen Thompson and Sebina Kalawadwala have received the Richard F. and Eleanor A. Towner Prize for Distinguished Academic Achievement.| Short Read
EnlargeEllen Thompson
IMAGE:  Ellen Thompson

Graduate students Ellen Thompson and Sebina Kalawadwala have received the Richard F. and Eleanor A. Towner Prize for Distinguished Academic Achievement from Michigan Engineering.

The Richard & Eleanor Towner Prize for Distinguished Academic Achievement is presented to the outstanding graduate student (Master’s or PhD students) in each degree program. Criteria considered by the department awards committee include student’s active participation in research, leadership and academic performance (GPA). The student receives a stipend from the award for the academic year.

EnlargeSebina Kalawadwala
IMAGE:  Sebina Kalawadwala

Thompson is a second-year master’s student in Environmental Engineering, and who will be continuing her education to complete her PhD at the University of Michigan, starting in Fall 2019. She received her Bachelors of Arts in Earth Sciences and Bachelors of Engineering in Environmental Engineering from Dartmouth College in 2013. Thompson worked in industry before attending the University of Michigan, starting in 2017. She is studying geochemical systems for sustainable energy applications. Thompson is a part of Assistant Professor Brian Ellis’ lab group studying subsurface geochemistry for sustainable energy applications. Specifically, Thompson looks at the pore-scale interactions relevant to geologic carbon dioxide capture, sequestration and utilization as a strategy for climate change mitigation. Thompson is also advised by Ellis.

Kalawadwala’s research is with the Multidisciplinary Design Program (MDP). MDP provides experiential opportunities that students can apply in the classroom to engineering design challenges. The program helps students gain the technical and professional skills necessary to thrive in engineering research or industrial settings, and allows them to experience how multiple disciplines collaborate within a team. Kalawadwala is part of a group of students from multiple disciplines working on a project with a sponsor company, Tubelite. She has also worked with Associate Professor Ann Jeffers in the field of structural fire engineering. In particular, Kalawadwala looked at how buildings with the same layout, but different lateral force resisting systems, might behave in fires. Kalawadwala is advised by Associate Professor Jason McCormick.

Congratulations to Ellen and Sebina on their dedication to their academics and research!

Ellen Thompson
Sebina Kalawadwala
Jessica Petras


Jessica Petras
Marketing Communications Specialist

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

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GG Brown 2105E

The electrons absorb laser light and set up “momentum combs” (the hills) spanning the energy valleys within the material (the red line). When the electrons have an energy allowed by the quantum mechanical structure of the material—and also touch the edge of the valley—they emit light. This is why some teeth of the combs are bright and some are dark. By measuring the emitted light and precisely locating its source, the research mapped out the energy valleys in a 2D crystal of tungsten diselenide. Credit: Markus Borsch, Quantum Science Theory Lab, University of Michigan.

Mapping quantum structures with light to unlock their capabilities

Rather than installing new “2D” semiconductors in devices to see what they can do, this new method puts them through their paces with lasers and light detectors. | Medium Read