University of California, Riverside

Center for Environmental Research & Technology

Congratulations to CE-CERT's 2017-2018 Scholarship Award Winners!

Congratulations to CE-CERT's 2017-2018 Scholarship Award Winners!

July 11, 2017

CE-CERT is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2017-2018 scholarship awards. A total of ten awardees (six graduate and four undergraduate) were selected after a competitive review process. We are proud to help these outstanding individuals meet the challenge of financing their education and research.

Graduate Award Winners


Kothari Pic





“I believe that integration of chemical engineering with biology is the future of the manufacturing industry.”

Major: Chemical and Environmental Engineering

Ninad’s objective is design a cost effective benchmark process for the production of fuel ethanol from lignocellulosic biomass. Lignocellulosic biomass is the only sustainable option for powering transportation that dramatically reduces greenhouse gas emissions, lowering our dependence on imported petroleum, and creating domestic agricultural and manufacturing employment.

Ye Pic





“I chose electrical and computer engineering as my major because I think it is a major that can make the world different.”

Major: Electrical and Computer Engineering
Focus: Intelligent and Autonomous Vehicles

Fei’s research goals include achieving co-optimization on vehicle dynamics and powertrain, and developing a learning-based Eco-approach and departure algorithm to compare with the existing rule-based, PMP and MPC algorithm. As a member of the Transportation Systems Research group, she is currently working on the ARPA-E NextCar project to develop a series of learning-based eco-driving applications for buses.

 Dhir Pic




“A desire to address various environmental issues in my country, such as increasing CO2 emissions, led me to choose this career path.”

Major: Chemical and Environmental Engineering
Focus: Biofuels

Rachna’s future goals include working in chemical research and development or in a biofuels laboratory exploring various optimization techniques for the production of ethanol fuel as an alternative to fossil fuels.

Roth Pic

“One of my goals is to aid regulators to better understand what tailpipe precursors contribute the most to secondary aerosol formation.”

Major: Chemical and Environmental Engineering
Focus: Atmospheric Processes

One of Patrick’s current projects proposes to evaluate the photochemically aged emissions from a gasoline direct injection (GDI), flexible fuel vehicle.  This vehicle will be tested utilizing eight different fuels of varying aromatic and ethanol content in duplicate. The ultimate goal will be to help determine how altering the fuel type can change the primary and secondary emissions from GDI vehicles. 

Singh Pic

“What we do matters, so we must do our part to make this world a better place for future generations.”

Major: Chemical Engineering
Focus: Biofuels

Priyanka’s current research project is focused on developing efficient and economical consolidated processes for softwood conversion. Her future plans include the research and development of economical, scalable renewable fuels, chemicals, and bio-products, as well as making contributions to industrial, academic, and federal policies related to a sustainable economy.

Yang Pic

“Air pollution may not visible all the time, but it is always a worldwide public health issue.”

Major: Chemical and Environmental Engineering
Focus: Emissions

Joey is working on developing an in-depth understanding of the emissions from different engine categories, including small off road diesel engines, light duty vehicles, heavy duty trucks, and ocean going vessels. He plans to use this knowledge to help to optimize emissions control and engine operating strategies to best address human health concerns.


Undergraduate Award Winners


Ealy Pic

“The work I will be conducting in the lab will hopefully be used to produce the needed biofuels and plastics of the future.”

Major: Chemical Engineering
Focus: Biofuels

Matthew is currently working with Dr. Charles Cai and his team in the Aqueous Biomass Processing laboratory on the refinement of the CELF method, which converts biomass into biofuel additives and lignin using a high temperature acid catalyzed reaction. Matthew plans to continue this work, as well as pursuing additional related experiments that may lead to other potential breakthroughs in the field.

Estrada Pic

“I see myself as a problem solver.”

Major: Mechanical Engineering
Focus: Emissions and Fuels

Brian is currently working with the Emissions and Fuels Research group on a study of ethanol fuels and the possible emissions benefits of these fuels. He plans to continue this work as a graduate student.

 Taymour Pic

Mohammed is currently engaged in the dSpace project under the supervision of Dr. Kent Johnson and Dr. Guoyuan Wu.

Major: Mechanical Engineering
Focus: Transportation Systems Research

Mohammed’s work on the dSpace project includes the configuration of hardware components such as the RapidPro signal conditioning unit, and the installation and configuration of the accompanying software applications. Mohammed’s goal is to bring together all of the pieces of this project for a successful test phase, after which it will be incorporated into the dynamometer. His current plan is to continue this work, as he is “committed to putting in countless hours” toward the project’s completion.

Zaher Pic

“I see myself employed either at a government agency to help serve the public or as an environmental consultant. Helping others is a way of helping yourself.”

Major: Environmental Engineering
Focus: Biofuels

Maher is currently working in the Aqueous Biomass Processing laboratory on a project that is focused on consolidated bioprocessing. The Aqueous Biomass Processing team is researching the effects of acetic acid on yields and production of metabolites using bacteria  to access and break down sugars. Maher plans to continue this work, and hopes to assist his team in the discovery of additional cutting edge technologies to facilitate the thermochemical and biological conversion of biomass to a clean biofuel.


More Information 

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Center Information

Center for Environmental Research & Technology
1084 Columbia Avenue
Riverside, CA 92507
Directions to CERT

Tel: (951) 781-5791
Fax: (951) 781-5790

Related Links