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Meet Climate and Energy Challenge Past Interns: 2014


Baik Ej, 2016
Civil and Environmental Engineering
Methane is a potent greenhouse gas that is contributing to global warming, a fact which underlines the importance of monitoring methane leakage sources around the world. Abandoned oil and gas wells are a significant source of methane that has not been explored before. For this internship, I was responsible for looking at the geologic formations of the abandoned oil and gas wells we measured. read more >>



Scott Bechler, 2017
Geosciences
The focus of my project this summer was to determine the environmental effects that a new solar material, organometal (lead) halide perovskites, could have if it was used commercially. This solar material has seen rapid increases in efficiency, but it is still unstable compared with its counterparts, silicon based solar panels, which are currently in use today. read more >>



Conleigh Byers, 2015
Civil and Environmental Engineering
I spent the summer in the Energy Transformation Group at the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Energy Resources, which leads government efforts to promote international energy security. My placement was in the Office of Electricity and Energy Efficiency, which works globally to transition power systems to more sustainable fuels and technologies and achieve sustainable and global access to electricity. read more >>



Joan Cannon, 2015
Geosciences
My PEI summer internship in the Sigman Lab focused on developing a method for measuring the carbon isotopic ratios of organic matter trapped in planktonic foraminifera fossils from a tropical Atlantic sediment core using a mass spectrometer. Our goals were to better understand the carbon cycle over the past 800,000 years and to investigate how biological and chemical changes in the ocean affected past atmospheric carbon concentrations. read more >>



Elliot Chang , 2016
Environmental Engineering
My PEI summer internship in the Sigman Lab focused on developing a method for measuring the carbon isotopic ratios of organic matter trapped in planktonic foraminifera fossils from a tropical Atlantic sediment core using a mass spectrometer. Our goals were to better understand the carbon cycle over the past 800,000 years and to investigate how biological and chemical changes in the ocean affected past atmospheric carbon concentrations. read more >>



Emily Chen, 2017
Geological Engineering
In contrast to the Arctic sea ice, which has been decreasing, the Antarctic sea ice has been growing at a small but significant rate in the past decades. My PEI summer internship aimed to understand the mechanisms that are driving the sea ice growth around Antarctica. read more >>



Tiffany Cheung, 2015
Geosciences
In contrast to the Arctic sea ice, which has been decreasing, the Antarctic sea ice has been growing at a small but significant rate in the past decades. My PEI summer internship aimed to understand the mechanisms that are driving the sea ice growth around Antarctica. read more >>



Carol Chiu, 2016
Chemical and Biological Engineering
For my PEI internship this summer, I focused on two projects in the Geosciences Department. My first project was to study nitrogen fixation occurring in microbial samples taken from Sippewissett Marsh in Massachusetts and the Everglades in Florida. I measured the N2 fixation rate in these samples using the acetylene reduction assay (ARA). read more >>



Bristee Das, 2016
Chemical and Biological Engineering
This summer, I worked on a research project optimizing the performance of organic field effect transistors (OFETs). The field effect transistor is a major component of modern electronics and circuitry. In particular, the OFET is a type of field effect transistor made up of a polymer or organic small molecule. read more >>



Allen Fang, 2017
Math
As a research assistant studying the New Jersey Pine Barrens, I used and modified the Ecosystem Demography 2 model to analyze how periodic gypsy moth defoliation affects the ability of the Pine Barrens to act as a carbon sink. The New Jersey Pine Barrens is a unique environment where pines and oaks are the dominant tree species. In an undisturbed environment, oaks thrive better than pines. read more >>



Jesse Goodman, 2017
Computer Science
Protein-loaded microspheres have recently gained influence through promising applications such as drug delivery and tissue engineering. However, it has always been challenging to control the release rate of the loaded protein(s). This summer, I worked to understand how certain fabrication parameters affect the release profiles of these microspheres. read more >>



Abby Grosskopf, 2017
Chemical and Biological Engineering
My internship with the Loo Group exposed me to the world of materials science and organic electronics. This summer I worked with Triethylsilylethynyl anthradithiophene (TES ADT), a solution-processable organic semiconductor. Thin films of TES ADT spherulites, a type of crystal, have lots of exciting applications such as solar cells, and organic thin film transistors. read more >>



Stacey Huang, 2016
Electrical Engineering
There is a continuing need for sensitive and durable gas sensors for use in fields such as environmental monitoring and regulation of emissions. Quartz-Enhanced Photoacoustic Spectroscopy (QEPAS) is a flexible technique that takes advantage of a quartz tuning fork to sense pressure changes induced by modulated laser light in a gas sample. read more >>



Elijah Kolmes, 2015
Physics
The primary goal of my internship at PPPL was to study fast ion slowing-down rates in a background plasma. I used software called LSP to simulate fast ions slowing down under the conditions that might be found in a field-reversed configuration (FRC) device. FRCs are a potential alternative to the mainline approach to magnetic confinement, with a couple of significant advantages. read more >>



Nicholas Lavrov, 2015
Chemical and Biological Engineering
With the increasing costs of fossil fuels and the continual introduction of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, providing clean, renewable energy has become an intense area of research. One alternative fuel source is hydrogen gas obtained from water splitting. In order for hydrogen fuel to become a viable fuel source, however, efficient means of water splitting must be developed. read more >>



Jonathan Lin, 2017
Computer Science
This summer, I collaborated with Keith Rodgers of the Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences department in calculating the effects of human-induced changes on marine organisms and ocean ecosystems. Specifically, we used the trends and noise of the ESM2M model to calculate when ocean acidification, ocean warming, ocean de-oxygenation, and biological changes would emerge and become measurable. read more >>



Daniel Ma, 2017
Operations Research and Financial Engineering
Although methane emissions from abandoned oil and gas (AOG) wells constitute a significant percentage of total U.S. methane emissions, few attempts have been made to accurately quantify these emissions. Working with a team of other students, I took methane samples from AOG wells in western Pennsylvania. In order to accurately estimate methane emissions, we designed, constructed, and prepared containers to collect and store these gas samples. read more >>



Ryan McNellis, 2015
Operations Research and Financial Engineering
This past summer, I worked as a research intern in the Computational Stochastic Optimization and Learning (CASTLE) lab based in the Operations Research and Financial Eningeering (ORFE) department at Princeton University. My first project involved estimating the effect of high levels of wind and solar energy on the transmission grid. read more >>



Alana Miller, 2015
Civil and Environmental Engineering
The goal of this project was to better understand the methane fluxes from abandoned oil and gas wells. Since the orders of magnitude of methane emissions vary so much from well to well, it is important to gain more insight into the dynamics of these emissions to effectively target the high emitting wells for immediate remediation efforts (i.e. proper plugging). read more >>



Jacob Miller, 2015
Chemical and Biological Engineering
Turning agricultural waste products or energy crops like switchgrass (both which are characterized as biomass, inedible plant matter) into fuel provides humanity a renewable, plentiful source of energy to replace fossil fuel usage in a variety of applications. One critical area in need of innovation is biomass conversion to transportation fuels. read more >>



Rachel Myers, 2015
Physics
While nuclear fusion is a promising future source of energy, many challenges still exist with regard to its implementation. One concern is the need to effectively control the heat and particle flux leaving the fusion plasma, since it can potentially damage plasma-facing components. read more >>



Derek Ou, 2015
Mathematics
Diatoms are responsible for 20% of carbon fixation via photosynthesis globally,and are therefore an important contributor to the carbon cycle. However, their physiology, unlike that of plants, is not well understood. read more >>



Kevin Pardinas, 2016
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Fusion energy has the possibility to change the world; it can provide a clean, safe, and nearly limitless source of energy. I spent my summer at PPPL, one of the world's leading research institutions in the field of fusion energy. At PPPL, I studied the secondary electron emission (SEE) properties of materials used in plasma reactions. read more >>



Austin Pruitt , 2017
Mechanical Engineering
This summer I initiated research into the concept of evolutionary dynamics and how they can be used to modify microorganisms such as algae. Through this research we hope to create algae that is hardier and is able to produce high levels of biofuels through photosynthesis. read more >>



Sarah Sacco, 2016
Chemical and Biological Engineering
This summer I worked on a project concerning the environmental behavior of indium, a trace metal used in high-tech applications. I studied the relationship between indium and a common iron oxide, ferrihydrite, which are both found in natural waters. Indium usage has seen a boom in the last few years due to the high-tech nature of its applications in solar cells, touch screens, LCDs, and semiconductors. read more >>



Kasturi Shah, 2016
Physics
The goal of my summer internship was to investigate the evolution of Himalayan glaciers under changing climate conditions. Using raw data from automated weather stations in the Himalayas as well as climate model output from the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL), I investigated the correlation between temperature and precipitation. read more >>



Emily Shuldiner, 2016
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
This summer I worked in the Medvigy Geosciences Group, editing the Ecosystem Demography (ED2) atmospheric model to incorporate the effects of selective insect herbivory in Panamanian rainforests, observed by Suchana Costa in her 2014 senior thesis. This thesis noted that insects consume nitrogen-fixing plants at a rate approximately three times that with which they consume non-fixers. read more >>



Levi Stanton, 2015
Civil and Environmental Engineering
Air pollutant models tend to be accurate when looking at a large-scale area, but when one compares data from near a source to what the model predicts for that area, a great discrepancy can be seen. Understanding pollutants near the source is extremely crucial, as a higher-than-accounted-for concentration of pollutants could cause local ecosystem damage and unsafe air quality. read more >>



Rebecca Terrett, 2016
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Coral bleaching, the phenomenon of corals turning white under stress, is a well-studied area of coral pigmentation. Yet little else is known about the connection between coral pigments and environmental conditions. Preliminary work in this field suggests that the relationship is not fixed; in fact there appear to be season-dependent trends. read more >>



Aditya Trivedi, 2016
Physics
This summer, I developed a web-based tool to predict wind energy generation and its potential. Using publicly available data from the National Weather Service and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, I created an interface that allows a user to specify a location as well as a distance from that location to search for wind farms. read more >>



Matthew Walsh, 2015
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
This summer, I investigated the shielding requirements for a future small-scale fusion reactor, the PFRC-4, currently being developed by Samuel Cohen at PPPL. The reactor will burn Deuterium-Helium-3 with a power density of about one megawatt per meter of reactor length. It will serve as a propulsion system for space missions to other planets. read more >>



Olivia Watson, 2015
Chemistry
As a member of the photoelectrocatalysis (PEC) team in the Koel research lab, I helped with the characterization of various plasma-treated metal surfaces in the pursuit to identify a catalytic surface that would improve the efficiency of the water splitting reaction. read more >>



Jack Zhou, 2015
Woodrow Wilson School
This summer I interned in the Sigman Lab at Princeton University where I worked on the nutrient cycle between corals and their photosynthetic symbionts and how it changes in a warming world. One of the most salient signs of global warming is coral bleaching, the phenomena where corals eject their symbionts in response to a change in temperature. read more >>