Chemical Engineering Hosts 15 Students for Summer Research

The Department of Chemical Engineering hosted 15 undergraduate students through the National Science Foundation’s Research Experience for Undergraduates (NSF REU) program and the Summer Undergraduate Research at Florida (SURF) program.

The experience provided students the opportunity to work with a premier faculty adviser and a Ph.D. student mentor. Students engaged in research and gained foundational skills through hands-on activities. Through this training, participants are better prepared to succeed in their current undergraduate curriculum and better prepared to make a positive impact upon entering industry or graduate school.2021 Summer REU



Maryam Ali, Virginia Commonwealth University

Maryam AliFaculty Mentor: Jason Butler, Ph.D.
Student Mentor: Scott Strednak
Hometown: Alexandria, VA
Plans after graduation: I want to enroll in a graduate program in Chemical Engineering.

“I was able to learn a lot by coming in person and getting to have conversations with the faculty and other UF students about research that interests me.”


Diana Aponte, Universidad de Puerto Rico en Mayagüez

Diana AponteFaculty Mentor: Janani Sampath, Ph.D.
Student Mentor: Mohammed Al Otmi
Hometown: Humacao, Puerto Rico
Plans after graduation: Continue graduate studies to pursue a PhD in chemical engineering and continue researching.

“This experience reaffirmed my interests to pursue graduate studies. It definitely helped me prepare as a potential PhD student and to develop new research skills that I could apply in future working environments.”


Julia Barkelew, Montana State University

Julia BarkelewFaculty Mentor: Carlos M. Rinaldi-Ramos, Ph.D.
Student Mentor: Hayden Good
Hometown: Austin, TX
Plans after graduation: I plan on pursuing a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering

“Being given the freedom to approach identified gaps in your research field independently or in collaboration with others is what has made graduate school so appealing. The work is rewarding and teaches you important critical thinking skills that transcend beyond the scope of engineering. I am drawn to the opportunities, specifically in the research and development sector, that a Ph.D. could open. Immersion into full-time research this summer at UF has reinforced this for me and made me very excited for what is to come post-undergrad.”


Luis Burgos, University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez

Luis BurgosFaculty Mentor: Charles Hages, Ph.D.
Student Mentor: Ruiquan Yang
Hometown: San Juan, PR
Plans after graduation: Pursue a graduate degree in Chemical Engineering

“My time here has provided me with critical insight into what I want for my professional career. It has allowed me to experience what an exciting, yet challenging task is working on a research project and has left me with desire for more.”


Thomas Corbin, North Carolina State University

Thomas CorbinFaculty Mentor: Ranga Narayanan, Ph.D.
Student Mentor: Nevin Brosius
Hometown: Asheville, NC
Plans after graduation: Attend graduate school to obtain a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering studying fluid mechanics.

“My time at the University of Florida was a fantastic experience. This was my first research position and it help decide that I want to continue my education to obtain a Ph.D. in chemical Engineering.”


Lauren Eccles, University of Tennessee

Lauren EcclesFaculty Mentor: Whitney Stoppel, Ph.D.
Student Mentor: Mari Pacheco
Hometown: Jefferson City, TN
Plans after graduation: Attending graduate school to pursue a PhD in chemical or biomolecular engineering.

“The REU program has reinforced my decision to pursue graduate studies in the future. I am so grateful I was able to gain experience and knowledge in tissue engineering!”


Alex Hansen, University of Houston

Alex HansenFaculty Mentor: Henry Chu, Ph.D.
Ph.D. Student Mentor: Jason Livesay
Hometown: Birmingham, AL
Plans after graduation: I plan to attend grad school and get a Ph.D. possibly at UF.

“The REU is a wonderful experience that has helped show me many different types of research and helped me figure out how to apply to Ph.D. programs.”


Eric Imhoff, Texas A&M University

Eric ImhoffFaculty Mentor: Carlos M. Rinaldi-Ramos, Ph.D.
Student Mentor: Sitong Liu
Hometown: The Woodlands, TX
Plans after graduation: Apply for the Ph.D. program at UF and other schools.

“This experience has been a wonderful opportunity to explore the life of a graduate student, especially the highs and lows of challenging but rewarding research. It has put me firmly on the path toward continuing my education for a fulfilling career where I can always be learning.”


Tiffany Jeng, Georgia Institute of Technology

Tiffany JengFaculty Mentor: Yeongseon Jang, Ph.D.
Ph.D. Student Mentor: Jackson Powers
Hometown: Marietta, GA
Plans after graduation: Pursue a Ph.D. in chemical engineering

“This summer has allowed me to meet so many great people, learn new skills, and experience graduate-level research for the first time. I feel much more confident about my decision to attend graduate school now.”


Ryan Johnson, Texas A&M University

Ryan JohnsonFaculty Mentor: Ranga Narayanan, Ph.D.
Student Mentor: Jason Livesay
Hometown: Cypress, TX
Plans after graduation: Pursue a Ph.D. in chemical engineering

“This research experience has helped me better understand the nuances of research and how we can apply classroom lessons to ideas of the future.”


Saisumana Peddibhotla, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Sumana PeddibhotlaFaculty Mentor: Kirk Ziegler, Ph.D.
Student Mentor: Ani Kulkarni
Hometown: Ellicott City, MD
Plans after graduation: Pursue a PhD in Chemical Engineering

“This experience has taught me important skills that would be valuable when I go to graduate school. I am completely indebted to this experience for making me a better researcher.”


Isabel Roberts, University of Utah

Isabel RobertsFaculty Mentor: Piyush Jain, Ph.D.
Student Mentor: Long Nguyen
Hometown: Salt Lake City, Utah
Plans after graduation: I plan to find a job in industry for a few years before returning to school for a Ph.D.

“This summer has helped clarify what I am looking for in my life and my career going forward. It has allowed me to really see what day to day life of a Ph.D. student is like.”


Ryoh-Suke Sekiya, Georgia Institute of Technology

Ry SekiyaFaculty Mentor: David Hibbitts, Ph.D.
Student Mentor: Alex Hoffman
Hometown: Potomac, MD
Plans after graduation: I plan to pursue a Ph.D. in chemical engineering, studying catalysis

“This summer program was amazing! My graduate student mentor Alex was smart, supportive, and instructive, and from him I learned a lot about computational catalysis. I’m committed to pursue a Ph.D. now, because of this rewarding experience.”


Andy Simonson, University of Utah

Andy SimonsonFaculty Mentor: David Hibbitts, Ph.D.
Student Mentor: Hansel Montalvo Castro and Mykela DeLuca
Hometown: Salt Lake City, Utah
Plans after graduation: Obtain a Ph.D. in chemical engineering and become a chemical engineering lecturer

“My research experience this summer has been incredible. Most of my experience in college regarding academia has been teaching focused so it was great to experience academic research to round out my academic background. This experience has also helped me feel confident about my decision to attend grad school and pursue an academic career.”


Benjamin Stone, University of Kentucky

Benjamin StoneFaculty Mentor: Carl Denard, Ph.D.
Ph.D. Student Mentor: Samantha Martinusen
Hometown: Lexington, KY
Plans after graduation: Obtaining my Ph.D. in Chemical engineering, and then entering industry to perform R&D.

“The connections I have made through the program have been invaluable. The faculty and Ph.D. students here are very welcoming and open to answer any questions you may have. This has allowed me to learn a lot about research in a short period of time.”