Elite group of students selected to advance research in energy at Notre Dame

The Center for Sustainable Energy at Notre Dame (ND Energy) has selected 11 students to receive 2019 fellowships in energy research at the University of Notre Dame. Awards are granted to students who demonstrate high academic achievement and have a profound interest in addressing the most critical energy challenges facing the world today. Research projects are submitted in collaboration with ND Energy affiliated faculty with project goals focused on supporting the mission to advance energy-related research at Notre Dame. Students use their awards for stipends, laboratory supplies, and travel to present their research results at a national conference. Funding for these competitive awards is made possible through the generosity of University alumni and their families.

The Vincent P. Slatt Fellowship for Undergraduate Research in Energy Systems and Processes

The Slatt fellowship grants multiple awards each year in the amount of $5,000 each to undergraduate students interested in creating new technologies and advancing energy systems world-wide. Funding for this fellowship is made possible through the generosity of Christopher (‘80) and Jeanine Slatt in honor of Vincent P. Slatt, Notre Dame Class of 1943. Since the start of the fellowship in 2006, 130 students have received awards totaling more than $585,000.

Jonathan Austin

Jonathan Austin is a junior, majoring in aerospace engineering and is working with Dr. Eric Matlis in the Hessert Laboratory. His project, entitled Vehicle-Wake Energy Extraction by Roadside Wind Turbines, examines the feasibility of extracting useful wind energy from wakes generated by trucks on the highway to power road-side wind turbines.

Emily Doyle

Emily Doyle is a sophomore, majoring in chemical engineering and working in the Jennifer Schaefer laboratory. Her project, entitled Magnesium-Sulfur Battery Production, focuses on understanding the speciation of polysulfide anions within the battery cell, thereby giving insight into the design requirements for improving its capacity retention and life-cycle.

Seancarlos Gonzalez

Seancarlos Gonzalez is a sophomore, chemical engineering major, also working in the Jennifer Schaefer laboratory. His project, entitled Developing Carbon Cloth Interlayer Cathodes with Tungsten Disulfide Catalysts for Magnesium Sulfur Batteries, seeks to develop the best cathode for magnesium sulfur batteries, preventing the migration of polysulfides and thus improving the effectiveness.

Jack Gorman

Jack Gorman is a junior, majoring in aerospace engineering and working in the Hirotaka Sakaue laboratory. His project, entitled Application of Microfiber Coatings to Aerodynamic Surfaces, studies the use of microfiber coatings on transportation devices to reduce drag and noise in an attempt to decrease energy consumption.

Kimberly Riordan

Kimberly Riordan is a sophomore chemistry major, working in the Emily Tsui laboratory. Her project, entitled Targeting a Trigonal Pyramidal Sulfur Radical for Battery Applications, studies hypervalent sulfur radicals of novel geometry and electronic structure in an effort to identify new properties that could lead to the development of new lithium-sulfur batteries.

The Patrick and Jana Eilers Graduate Student Fellowship for Energy Related Research

The Eilers fellowship grants between four to six awards each year to graduate students who are working to advance energy-related research at Notre Dame. Awards range between $4,000 and $10,000 each and are used to support student stipends. Funding for this fellowship is made possible through the generosity of Patrick (‘90) and Jana Eilers; The Fitzpatrick Endowment for Excellence for the Center for Energy, established in 2008 by Edward Fitzpatrick, Jr. ('54); and The Michael A. O'Sullivan Endowment for Excellence in Energy Research, established in 2014 by Michael A. O'Sullivan ('82). The Eilers fellowship was established in 2012 and has provided awards to 25 students totaling nearly $223,000.

Nayara Aguiar

Nayara Aguiar is a third-year graduate student in the Department of Electrical Engineering, working in the Vijay Gupta laboratory. Her project, entitled Electricity Market Design to Increase Integration of Renewables in the Power Grid, focuses on the design of a new market structure using flexible energy resources and renewables to gain additional economic and sustainable benefits.

Michael Brennan

Michael Brennan is a fourth-year Inorganic/Materials Chemistry major, working in the Masaru Kuno laboratory. His project, entitled Compositionally Insensitive Size-Dependent Stokes Shifts in CsPbX3 (X = Cl, Br, I) Nanocrystals, seeks to better understand the origin of a size-dependent Stokes shift, providing significant insight into the photophysics and electronic structure of all-inorganic/hybrid lead halide perovskite nanostructures and thin films for applications in solar cells.

Laura Merrill

Laura Merrill is a fourth-year chemical and biomolecular engineering major, working in the Jennifer Schaefer laboratory. Her project, entitled The Role of Morphology and Electrochemical Interface on the Electrodeposition/Dissolution Efficiency of Magnesium Batteries, studies magnesium electrodeposition for propelling magnesium battery technology to be a viable option for electrical vehicle or grid-scale energy storage solutions.

Samuel Perry

Samuel Perry is a third-year graduate student in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences, working in the Peter Burns laboratory. His project, entitled Intercalation of Uranyl Peroxide Nanoclusters into Synthetic Layered Double Hydroxide Clays, focuses on several aspects of uranium compounds, leading to useful applications in the nuclear fuel cycle during geologic disposal of used nuclear fuels and remediation of contaminated sites.

Qinnan Zhang

Qinnan Zhang is a fifth-year graduate student in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, working in the Ruilan Guo laboratory. Her project, entitled Toward a Better Understanding of Iptycene-based Polyimide Membranes: Structure, Microporosity and Gas Separation Performance, focuses on developing new microporous polymer membranes for energy efficient applications to address the permeability-selectivity tradeoff of current polymer gas separation membranes.

The Forgash Fellowship for Solar Energy Research 

The Forgash fellowship provides a $5,000 award to an undergraduate or graduate student who is interested in solar energy collection/conversion technologies through research and development. Funding for this fellowship is made possible through the generosity of John (’00) and Karla Forgash. Since the fellowship began in 2009, nine students have received awards totaling $22,500

Amal Sebastian

Amal Sebastian is a second-year graduate student in the Department of Physics, working in the Sylwia Ptasinska laboratory. His project, entitled Atmospheric Pressure Plasma: A Novel Tool for the Synthesis of Efficient Photocatalytic Materials, focuses on using a novel deposition method to engineer new functional materials that can be used to capture solar radiation.

ND Energy invites members of the Notre Dame community to extend their congratulations to these accomplished students who have been recognized for their outstanding academic achievements and aspirations to advance research in energy at Notre Dame.

ND Energy is a University Research Center whose mission is to build a better world by creating new energy technologies and systems and educating individuals to help solve the most critical energy challenges facing our world today. For more information, visit the ND Energy website at energy.nd.edu or contact Barbara Villarosa, Business and Communications Program Director, at bvillaro@nd.edu or 574-631-4776.