Graduate Student Fellowship

Nominations and Applications now being accepted for the 2020 VIEST Graduate Fellowship

Application Deadline May 29, 2020

Nominations and applications are invited for the 2020-2021 class of Vagelos Institute Graduate Fellows. Supported through the generosity of Roy and Diana Vagelos, the VIEST Graduate Fellowship is awarded competitively to outstanding University of Pennsylvania graduate students in SAS and SEAS whose PhD work is in energy-focused research.

VIEST Graduate Fellows will receive financial support toward their graduate work in the form of a standard stipend, general fee, tuition, and health insurance for the 2020-2021 academic year and summer 2021. In addition, each Fellow may apply for up to $1,000 in funds to present research at a conference.

Eligibility: University of Pennsylvania graduate students in SAS and SEAS whose PhD work is in energy-focused research and who will be in the 3rd or 4th year of their PhD program in 2020-2021 are eligible to apply. The ideal candidate will have a PhD research project closely aligned with the research priorities of VIEST.

Requirements for Fellows: VIEST Graduate Fellows are expected to work full time toward and continue to make outstanding progress to completion of their PhD dissertation during the award period. They will be expected to actively participate in VIEST topical and full center research meetings to encourage and develop effective collaborations within the Institute and throughout the Penn campus. Written technical reports will be required in January and August 2021.

How to apply: Complete applications are due by Friday, May 29, and must include:

  • A letter of nomination from the applicant’s PhD advisor. The letter must comment on the ability of the nominee to learn from and contribute to a multi-disciplinary and collaborative research environment. This letter must be on Penn letterhead and emailed directly by the PhD advisor to Nadine Gruhn (ngruhn@sas.upenn.edu)
  • The applicant’s current resume or CV
  • A personal statement that includes:
    • the tentative title of the applicant’s dissertation and anticipated graduate date
    • a description of the PhD research project (written for a scholar outside the major field of study)
    • a discussion of how this research aligns with VIEST’s mission and goals and could potentially lead to collaborations within the Institute
    • a discussion of the applicant’s short-term and long-term career goals
    • The personal statement must be no more than two pages in length (standard letter-size page, 1-inch margins, and at least 11 pt font)
  • An up-to-date unofficial Penn transcript
  • The resume, personal statement, and transcript must be combined into one pdf file and emailed to Nadine Gruhn (ngruhn@sas.upenn.edu) by no later than 5 pm on May 29. Please use the subject “Graduate Fellow Application [Your Name]”, and name the pdf attachment “YourNameApplication.pdf”

Review Criteria: VIEST Graduate Fellowships will be awarded on the basis of academic excellence, the demonstrated likelihood that the Fellow will become a leader in the next generation of energy scientists and engineers, and alignment of the PhD project with the research priorities of VIEST.


2019 Graduate Fellows

Phoebe Askelson

 Phoebe Askelson

Phoebe is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Chemistry and works with Prof. Jessica Anna. Her research is focused on using ultrafast two-dimensional spectroscopy to study the dynamics and photochemistry of nanocage host-guest complexes. She received her B.S. from the University of Washington in Seattle in 2017.

Alexandre Foucher

 Alexandre Foucher

Alexandre is a Ph.D. candidate in Materials Science and Engineering and works with Prof. Eric Stach. His research focuses on using ex situ and in situ transmission electron microscopy to understand energy-related materials at the atomic level. He earned a combined B.S./M.S. in Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at Arts et Métiers ParisTech in 2016, and a Professional Master’s Degree of Materials Science from Rice University in 2017.

Jeremy Hitt

 Jeremy Hitt

Jeremy is a Ph.D. candidate working with Prof. Thomas Mallouk in the Department of Chemistry. In his Ph.D. research he has used high-throughput screening methods to find new catalysts for CO2 reduction, and is also involved in making catalyst supports for hydrogen oxidation and oxygen reduction in alkaline media for use in hydrogen fuel cells. He received his B.S. in Chemistry in 2017 from the University of Alabama, and began his Ph.D. work at Penn State in 2017 before moving to Penn in 2019 with the rest of the Mallouk group.

Heesuk Jung

Heesuk Jung

Heesuk is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, where he works with Prof. Shu Yang. His research is focused on developing radiative cooling technologies to overcome the heat vulnerability of solar cells. He earned a B.S. in ceramics engineering in 2010 from Yonsei University and a M.S. in materials science and engineering from Seoul National University in 2012.

Tao Li

 Tao Li

Tao is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Chemistry, where is works with Prof. Joe Subotnik. His research has focused on the development of efficient semiclassical simulation methods towards light-matter interactions, and the use of state-of-art simulation tools to study light-involved phenomena such as energy transfer. He received his B.S. in chemistry from Nanjing University in 2016 and was an exchange student at Uppsala University.

William Neuhaus

 William Neuhaus

William is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Chemistry and works with Prof. Marisa Kozlowski. In his research he has developed methods to regioselectivity homocouple alkenyl phenols, which he is applying to the oxidative degradation of lignin to useful products. He received a B.S. in chemistry from Rowan College in 2017.

Drew Newman

 Drew Newman

Drew is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Chemistry, where she works with Prof. Karen Goldberg. Her research is focused on developing catalysts for the homogeneous conversion of methane to methanol using molecular oxygen as a cheap and sustainable oxidant. Drew received her B.S. from the University of Wyoming in 2015, began her graduate work at the University of Washington, and transferred to the University of Pennsylvania in 2017 with the rest of the Goldberg group.

Abhinav Raman

Abhinav Raman

Abhinav is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, where he works with Prof. Aleksandra Vojvodic. His research focuses on understanding and predicting the chemical properties of complex oxides using computational first-principles methods, with a goal of aiding the rational design of catalysts for sustainable chemistry and materials for energy conversion and storage. He received a B.Tech. from SASTA University in 2013 and his M.S. in 2016 from Rutgers University.

Sam Welborn

Sam Welborn

Sam is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, where he works with Prof. Eric Detsi. His research is focused on the development of a new class of miniaturized three-dimensional (3D) nanocapacitors, which are capable of storing more energy than conventional 2D capacitors in the same footprint area. He received a dual B.S./B.A. in Chemical Engineering and Chemistry Summa Cum Laude from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 2016.

Jiahao Zhang

Jiahao Zhang

Jiahao is a Ph.D. candidate in Chemistry working with Prof. Andrew Rappe. His research is  aimed at explaining how light, temperature and chemical species influence material properties in ferroelectric perovskites.

 


2018 Graduate Fellows

 

 Joshua A. Bulos

Josh is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Chemistry working with Prof. Ivan Dmochowski. His research is aimed at using ferritin-encapsulated enzymes for CO2 sequestration and reduction. Josh received his B.S. with honors from Haverford College in 2016.

 

 John S. Corsi

John is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering working with Prof. Eric Detsi. His research focuses on nanoporous metals and their use for next-generation electrochemical energy storage. John and Prof. Detsi are co-founders of the startup Hydropore LLC. He received his B.S. Magma Cum Laude from the University of Connecticut in 2016.

 

 Jiawei Lu

Jiawei is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Chemistry working with Prof. Jessica Anna. His research is motivated to gain insight into the ultrafast dynamics of light-harvesting chromophores and photocatalysts, which are both relevant to solar energy conversion. Hereceived his B.S. from Nanjing University in 2016.

 

 Benjamin A. Paren

Ben is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, where he works with Prof. Karen Winey. His research project focuses on in characterization of polymers with highly precise structures for use as solid polymer electrolytes and fuel cell membranes. He received both his B.S. (dual major in Materials Science and Engineering, and Engineering and Public Policy) and M.S. from Carnegie Mellon University.

 

 Paul A. Pepin

Paul received his Ph.D. in 2019 from the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, working with Prof. John Vohs. His research, in collaboration with Prof. Chris Murray, utilized metal oxide nanocrystals of well-defined size and shape to understand how structure influences the catalytic activity of a material. Paul earned is B.S. in Chemical Engineering in 2008 from the University of South Carolina, and worked as an engineer in industry until he decided in 2014 to pursue a graduate degree focused on energy-related science and technology. He is now employed at Ingevity.

 

 Sophie Rubashkin

Sophie is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Chemistry, where she works with Prof. Karen Goldberg. Her research is focused on developing organometallic complexes as homogeneous catalysts for alkane functionalization with application to the sustainable production of chemicals. Sophie received her B.A. from Barnard College in 2015, began her graduate work at the University of Washington, and transferred to the University of Pennsylvania in 2017 with the rest of the Goldberg group.

 

 Jothi Priyanka Thiruraman

Priyanka is a Ph.D. candidate in Electrical and Systems Engineering, working in the laboratory of Prof. Marija Drndíc in the Department of Physics. Her research investigates the ionic selectivity of angstrom-size pores in 2D materials for use as nanoporous membranes for water desalination. She earned her Bachelor degree from Manipal Institute of Technology and a M.S. in Engineering, Nanotechnology from the University of Pennsylvania prior to beginning her Ph.D. studies in 2016.

 

Alexander B. Weberg

Alex is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Chemistry, working with Prof. Neil Tomson. His research involves incorporating strategically-oriented electrostatic fields within metal complexes to control the activation of small molecules such as dioxygen and dinitrogen. He received his B.S. Magna Cum Laude from Macalester College in 2015.

 

Qinghua Zhao

Qinghua is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Chemistry, working with Prof. Cherie Kagan. Her research explores the use of colloidal nanocrystals as building blocks for materials useful as photocatalysts or smart optics. She received her B.S. in Materials Chemistry from Peking University.

 

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