Student Fellowships in Energy-related Research announced for 2017

Author: Barbara Villarosa


ND Energy has announced the recipients of the prestigious fellowship awards in energy research for 2017. Students compete annually for The Vincent P. Slatt Fellowship for Undergraduate Research in Energy Systems and Processes, The Forgash Fellowship for Research in Solar Energy, and The Patrick and Jana Eilers Graduate Student Fellowship for Energy Related Research. Fellowships provide financial support to students who are interested in advancing energy research in new technologies and solutions and strengthening the global energy future through the development of policies and infrastructure to support new technologies. Students are selected based on their academic achievements, understanding of national and global energy issues and challenges, and their abilities to achieve their research goals.

According to Dr. Peter C. Burns, Massman Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering & Earth Sciences and Director of ND Energy, “These students represent the increasing interest in energy research and the desire to find long-term solutions to the growing energy needs world-wide. We are proud to have them working with our faculty on some of the most pressing energy challenges facing us today. We appreciate their work and look forward to their findings.”

Recipients of The Vincent P. Slatt Fellowship for Undergraduate Research in Energy Systems and Processes are:

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    Santiago Calderon Novoa, Chemical Engineering major, “Study on the Catalytic Conversion of Methane and Carbon Dioxide into Hydrogen Gas using Ni-SiO2 Catalysts, and its Impact on the Energy Field” (faculty advisor Dr. Eduardo Wolf)

  • Lukas Cepkauskas, Chemical Engineering major, “Segmented Copolymers of Triptycene-containing Hydrophobic Oligomers for Increased Mechanical Stability and Proton Conduction” (faculty advisor Dr. Ruilan Guo)

  • Luis Fernandez, Mechanical Engineering major, “Mapping Wind Flows in Perdigão” (faculty advisor Dr. Harindra Fernando)

  • Sheridan Foy, Chemical Engineering major, “Gas Solubility of Nonvolatile Separation Solvents” (faculty advisor, Dr. Edward Maginn)

  • Annelise Gill-Wiehl, Environmental Engineering major, “Sustainability of ISSB Efficient Ugandan Cookstove including Thermoelectric Generators to Biogas Development Pathway” (faculty advisor Dr. Abigail Mechtenberg)

  • John Higham, Chemical Engineering major, Energy Studies minor, “Throughput and Permeability Effects of PT-Spraying High Performance Copolymer Membranes for Water Treatment Applications” (faculty advisors Dr. William Phillip and Dr. David Go)

  • Elisabeth Kerns, Chemistry-Business major, Energy Studies minor, “Perovskite Halide Exchange for Better Solar Cells” (faculty advisor Dr. Prashant Kamat)

  • Brady McLaughlin, Physics in Medicine major, Energy Studies minor, “[Re]-Evaluating the Cost of Electricity due to Death at Hospitals with Unreliable Energy Systems-VSL/E Metric” (faculty advisor Dr. Abigail Mechtenberg

  • Hannah Naguib, Chemistry major, “Synthesis of Hyperbranched Polymers with Post-Functionalization Specificity” (faculty advisor Dr. Haifeng Gao)

  • John Salvadore, Mechanical Engineering major, Energy Studies minor, “Perdigao Wind Energy Field Study” (faculty advisor Dr. Harindra Fernando)

  • Miles Wood, Business Analytics and Applied & Computational Mathematics & Statistics major, “Empowering Ugandans to Power Uganda: Exploring the Social Return on Investment (SROI) of the Business of Energy in Uganda” (faculty advisor Dr. Abigail Mechtenberg)

  • Anthony Zappia, Mechanical Engineering major, “Plasmonic Enhancement of Solar-thermal Water Desalination in a Functionalized Au-SiO2 Shell-core Nanoparticle-loaded Porous Membrane” (faculty advisor Dr. Tengfei Luo)

  • Aristotle Zervoudakis, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering major, “Modeling Phase Behavior of Complex Coacervates to Engineer Smart, Responsive Materials” (faculty advisor Dr. Jonathan Whitmer)

The recipient of The Forgash Fellowship for Research in Solar Energy is:

  • Margaret Tucker, Civil & Environmental Engineering & Earth Sciences major, “Polymer-Templated, Quantum Dot Rainbow Solar Cells” (faculty advisor Dr. Ian Lightcap)

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Recipients of The Patrick and Jana Eilers Graduate Student Fellowship for Energy Related Research are:

  • Hanyu Ma, Civil & Environmental Engineering & Earth Sciences, “Size Effect on Ruthenium Nanoparticle-Catalyzed Hydrogen Generation from Hydrazine Borane” (faculty advisors Dr. Peter Burns and Dr. Chongzheng Na)

  • Randal Marks, Civil & Environmental Engineering & Earth Sciences, “Selective conversion of nitrate to ammonia using earth-abundant hydrogenation catalysts” (faculty advisor Dr. Kyle Doudrick)

  • Triet Nguyen-Beck, Chemistry and Biochemistry, “Rationalizing the Size-dependent Stoke Shifts in Cesium Lead Bromide Perovskite Nanocrystals” (faculty advisor Dr. John Parkhill)

  • Jize Zhang, Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, “A Comprehensive Computational Framework for Layout Optimization of Wave Energy Converters that Addresses Large Dimensional Arrays, Causal Control and Uncertain Wave Environments” (faculty advisor Dr. Alexandros Taflanidis)

Fellowships in energy research are made possible through the generosity of Notre Dame alumni and their families. The Vincent P. Slatt Endowment for Undergraduate Research in Energy Systems and Processes was established in 2006 by Christopher (ND ’80) and Jeanine Slatt in honor of Vincent P. Slatt, Notre Dame Class of 1943; The Forgash Fellowship for Research in Solar Energy was established in 2009 by John (ND ‘00) and Karla Forgash; and The Patrick and Jana Eilers Graduate Student Fellowship for Energy Related Research was established in 2012 by Patrick (ND ‘90) and Jana Eilers. Other endowments contributing to the Eilers Fellowship are the Fitzpatrick Endowment for Excellence for the Center for Energy, established in 2008 by Edward Fitzpatrick, Jr. (ND ‘54), and the Michael A. O’Sullivan Endowment for Excellence in Energy Research, established in 2014 by Michael A. O’Sullivan (ND ’82).

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 or contact Barbara Villarosa, Business and Communications Program Director, at or 574-631-4776.

Originally published by Barbara Villarosa at on April 20, 2017.