Riverside, Ca –

CE-CERT is proud to announce the recipients of the 2019-2020 Scholarship Awards. Ten students were awarded a total of $37,500 in recognition of their commitment to academic and research excellence. We would like to congratulate them on their hard work, and to thank our generous donors who made these awards possible.

Graduate Awardees

Isaac Afreh, Chemical & Environmental Engineering
Esther F. Hays Graduate Award

isaac afreh

"I have always been in interested in chemistry as a subject, so I chose this major because it offers the opportunity to apply chemistry to real life challenges."

Isaac’s research uses GECKO-A to probe secondary organic aerosol (SOA) formation from camphene, which has been identified as a dominant monoterpene in biomass burning emissions from different fuel types during laboratory and field studies. His goal is to improve the representation of monoterpenes in gas-phase chemical mechanisms used in large-scale air quality models for predicting secondary organic aerosol (SOA) from biomass burning. After graduation, Isaac plans to join an air quality agency where he can apply his knowledge and skills in chemical mechanism development and air quality modeling to benefit society.

Khanh Do, Chemical Engineering
Salim Khan Graduate Award

khanh do

"I strongly believe my generation can derive the best methods for environmental protection while optimizing industrial solutions."

Khanh is currently working on developing gas sensors which can detect criteria pollutant concentrations in the atmosphere. These small, lightweight devices are highly mobile, and can be mounted on drones to measure the vertical air pollutants or placed on cars to map the pollution concentrations around cities. He is also involved in a project related to personal exposure assessment, which studies how a person’s exposure to air pollutants changes during their daily activities. Khanh’s future goals include the development of specific VOC gas sensors, the use of the CMAQ atmospheric model to study the transport and kinetics of pollutants, and the application of machine learning and artificial intelligence to atmospheric models.

Chen Le, Chemical & Environmental Engineering
Esther F. Hays Graduate Fellowship Award

chen le

"I feel it is my responsibility to contribute to investigating and solving air quality problems for my own country as much as I can."

Chen is currently involved in three major projects: the investigation of the evolution of a-Pinene ozonolysis products under temperature cycles, the characterization of the particle wall loss of the UCR Collapsible Teflon chamber, and the development of a new instrument – the dual-DMA-SMPS – for measuring the viscosities of different particle samples. After graduation, he plans to gain the industry experience needed to return to his country and establish an atmospheric chamber research program there.

Seungjin Lee, Chemical & Environmental Engineering
Esther F. Hays Graduate Award

seungjin lee

"I want to be remembered as a scientist with a strong sense for helping humanity. Ultimately, I would like to play a contributing role in replacing internal combustion engines with electrical vehicles powered by clean energy."

Seungjin is working on developing solid-state lithium ion batteries for improving the safety of energy storage in mobile applications. In the future, he plans to lead a research team in developing cost-competitive and safer batteries for electrical vehicles, making electric vehicle technology more accessible to the public.

Cavan McCaffery, Mechanical Engineering
J. Wayne Miller and Thomas Durbin Graduate Research Award

cavan mccaffery

"I pursued mechanical engineering because I wanted to lower the environmental impacts of mechanical devices from a design standpoint."

Cavan’s research focuses on generating data on how different renewable fuel sources and after treatment systems affect the overall emissions provided by different mobile sources in real world situations. His future research goals are to provide an impact on mobile source emissions and to provide valuable data that can be used by regulatory industries.

Ayla Moretti, Chemical & Environmental Engineering
Esther F. Hays Graduate Award

ayla moretti

"In five years I want to be researching emissions in order help determine causes of air pollution and identify areas that need better emission regulations."

Ayla is currently measuring organic aerosol (OA) formation from gasoline vehicle emissions with a temperature controlled dilution sampler to account for additional OA formation during the dilution and cooling process, on the timescale of near-roadway emissions. One of her research goals is to aid regulators in better understand and predicting the particulate matter emitted from vehicle emissions, on the timescale of near-roadway, in order to improve the understanding of how they affect human health, air quality, and the environment.

Weihan Peng, Chemical & Environmental Engineering
William R. Pierson/Ford Graduate Fellowship Award

weihan peng

"I chose this major because I want to use my knowledge to make contribution to reduce global warming and air pollution. I see myself working in industry and developing new technology to reduce emissions from vehicle and vessel engines, or working in an environmental consulting company."

Weihan’s research focuses on studying the formation of atmospheric pollution using innovated methodologies. His projects include the study of primary emissions from marine vessels with different fuels and technologies and the study of secondary pollutant formation from vehicle exhaust. His research goal is to better understand the chemistry of secondary organic aerosol formation in atmosphere and improve accuracy of the air quality models to help the regulators better limit the pollutants concentrations in atmosphere.

Priyanka Singh, Chemical & Environmental Engineering
Colin E. Hackett Endowed Engineering Research Graduate Award

priyanka singh

"I became interested in creating renewable fuels and chemicals from lignocellulosic biomass because of energy security and environmental concerns. In the future, I see myself contributing to the research and development needed to create a sustainable bioeconomy."

Priyanka’s research is focused on biologically converting the three major fractions of lignocellulosic biomass (cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin) remaining after the Co-Solvent Enhanced Fractionation pretreatment process to fuels and chemicals. Her goal is to build upon this research to work in fermentation process development and optimization as she believes there are many products that depend to heavily on petrochemical derived avenues. After graduation, Priyanka plans to continue her work through employment in the biotechnology industry or at a federal agency.

Undergraduate Awards

Danial Esaid, Computer Engineering
Jim Guthrie Research Award

Danial Esaid

"Receiving this award renews my motivation to continue pushing myself to excel."

Danial is currently working on a project funded by a $3,000,000 grant from the US Department of Energy. His role is to develop the algorithm that guides a vehicle’s velocity near intersections so that the vehicle consumes less fuel, with a focus on integrating deep learning using neural networks to increase efficiency. Post-graduation, Danial would like his CE-CERT colleagues to remember the creativity and persistence he brought to his research.

Michelle Le, Mechanical Engineering
Ford Motor Company Undergraduate Scholarship

michelle le

"This scholarship means much more to me than mere tuition funds, but it an inspiration for me to strive to be my best because it is a reminder that there is someone out there, CECERT representatives and Ford Motor Company, that believes in me enough to invest in supporting my career goals."

Michelle has worked as a research assistant in the Emissions and Fuels Group, but is currently focused on her University Honors Capstone Project in which she is conducting a life cycle analysis of the environmental impact of hybrid-electric vehicles to analyze the cost-benefit of hybrid vehicles. This summer she will be conducting research at CalTech for their WAVE Fellows Program, focusing on combustion, turbulent flows, and soot formation. Her specific project is titled, “Improving PAH chemistry for predictive simulations of soot formation.” Michelle’s five year goal is to be conducting research in Mechanical Engineering in pursuit of a Ph.D. at a prestigious graduate school such as CalTech, UC Berkley, MIT, or Stanford.

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