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Meet Climate & Energy Challenge Past Interns: 2012

Lily Adler, 2015
The goal of my PEI summer internship was to study rocks and other geological features in order to understand the climate of Earth’s ancient history and in turn, to better understand future climate change. By collecting and studying rocks that preserved oxygen isotopes deposited 300 million years ago, we can better understand the extent of global glaciation from that time period. read more >>

Vincent Bai, 2014
Chemical and biological engineering
I worked with the Benziger Reaction Engineering Group to study flow regimes through electrodes of vanadium redox flow batteries (VRBs). VRBs are being researched as potential energy storage systems that can reduce the negative effects of surges in consumption. read more >>

Regina Cai, 2015
Operations Research and Financial Engineering
In Beijing this summer, I sought to gain a holistic understanding of China’s energy production and consumption from an academic viewpoint. I mapped out two mathematics- and statistics-based projects, while networking and leveraging my work to seek out opportunities at Tsinghua University that would allow me to explore and pursue my academic interests in applied mathematics and economics. read more >>

Kathleen Cavanagh, 2014

Kathleen Cavanagh, 2014
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
This summer, I worked in Professor Smits’ lab in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department studying Vertical Axis Wind Turbines (VAWT), which offer a promising alternative to the more commonly seen Horizontal Axis Wind Turbine (HAWT). read more >>

Henry Chai, 2014
Operations Research and Financial Engineering
For my summer internship working in the Princeton Laboratory for Energy Systems Analysis (PENSA), I researched the functioning of the Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey Interconnection portion of the electricity grid (known as PJM interconnect). More specifically, I mined and processed data concerning the generation of and demand for electricity along the interconnect. read more >>

Abraham Chaibi, 2014
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
My internship at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory involved the development of nuclear fusion as an alternative energy source. I worked with Dr.’s Goldston and Jaworski in two fields: modeling lithium flow in the plasma sheath of a tokomak, and designing the circuitry for a liquid lithium leak detector. read more >>

Richard Cheng, 2015
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
My internship with the Loo Group exposed me to research in the field of organic photovoltaics (OPV) and gave me insight into today’s solar technology. I worked with Luisa Whittaker, a postdoc, growing nanowires using different organic materials, which are supposedly cheaper than the inorganic materials used in the solar industry today. read more >>

Matthew Chu Cheong, 2013
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Fusion has often been considered the "holy grail" of alternative energy, In that it would provide large amounts of energy with minimal waste products. By utilizing a certain type of magnetic field, fusion reactors can be built on a smaller, easier-to-construct scale. This sort of field would allow for a simpler reactor, along with “closed” field lines that provide for superior containment. read more >>

Tiffany Cheung, 2015
Molecular Biology
Regardless of the cause of global warming, the related increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide is not only affecting land life but also marine life, via alterations in the carbonate chemistry of seawater. This summer I conducted research at Princeton in a geoscience lab led by Francois Morel, studying the effects of high carbon dioxide on photosynthesis and growth in marine phytoplankton. read more >>

Stephen Cognetta, 2015
Chemical and Biological Engineering
This summer I interned at the Center for Mid-InfraRed Technologies for Health and the Environment (MIRTHE) in Princeton, where I worked with Professor Claire Gmachl and her team to identify characteristics about lasers. I helped with developing quantum cascade laser technology, specifically Distributed Feedback Quantum Cascade (DFB QC) lasers. read more >>

Charlotte Conner, 2014
This summer I was an intern for the Energy Systems Analysis Group (ESAG), a research unit of the Princeton Environmental Institute. I worked primarily on their project on possible energy conversion facilities that use the Fischer-Tropsch process to create synthetic fuel and electricity from coal and biomass. read more >>

Daniel Davies, 2014
Mechanical Engineering
In my internship, I helped a physicist, Bob Street, to research organic solar cells. During the eight weeks I was there, we focused on the degradation of the solar cells due to illumination from both UV and visible light. We focused on organic solar cells because their low cost of mass production and the flexibility of the cells.  read more >>

John Davis, 2014
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
The goal of our project was to design and install a wind turbine at a secondary school founded by a Princeton professor, Carolyn Rouse. The purpose of the wind turbine was to: provide a stable source of energy for the school, serve as a research platform for the students, and promote education about sustainable energy in the school and the community. To achieve these ends, we designed the system, assisted in its construction, ordered the necessary parts. read more >>

Lauren Edelman, 2014
Chemical and Biological Engineering
For my internship with the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) I investigated permitted greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act's Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) program, which was recently launched to regulate greenhouse gases. My project was to assess the effectiveness of the early stages of the PSD program. read more >>

Adam Fisch, 2015
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
A common problem coastal cities face is storm surge created by passing typhoons or hurricanes. During my summer internship with the Nordenson/Stone Collaborative Research Group, I studied parts of the physical dynamics behind storm surge and how surges form. Part of my work also focused on researching how climate change will affect hurricane patterns in the future in terms of magnitude and frequency. read more >>

Chris Hamm, 2014
Environmental Engineering
As a part of the Zondlo Group, I worked in the lab and in the field to accurately measure ice supersaturation and cirrus cloud formation in the lower stratosphere. I traveled to Salina, Kansas to take part in the Deep Convective Clouds and Chemistry (DC3) Campaign to help maintain our water vapor detecting instrument, the VCSEL hygrometer, as it was flown over the western U.S. read more >>

Booyeon Han, 2013
My summer research project focused on the exploration of more efficient and environmentally friendly methods for the synthesis of piezoelectric nanowires. These nanowires have many applications, including but not limited to electronics, sensing, energy conversion, and cellular biology. I honed in on the success of piezoelectric nanowires with various biotemplates. read more >>

Brian Huang, 2013
Computer Science
This summer, I conducted research in the Program in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (AOS) at Princeton's Forrestal Campus. The main goal of my research was to contribute to the search for reliable early warning metrics for abrupt climate change. A few studies have analyzed early warning signals by testing them on paleoclimate records which record abrupt climate shifts in the distant past, and although the metrics seem promising, their development is still at an exploratory level. read more >>

Alexandra Kasdin, 2014
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Climate Central is a small non-profit, non-advocacy research and journalism organization that focuses on climate change. Because Climate Central is such a small organization, my internship afforded me exposure to many aspects of a non-profit, from development to publicity and communications. read more >>

Wendy Lang, 2013
Chemical and Biological Engineering
This summer I interned with the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), where I worked with the Office of Chief Scientist on a variety of projects aimed at ensuring that EDF’s positions and efforts are based on the best available scientific information. read more >>

Collen Leng, 2014
Mechanical Engineering
Renewable energy cannot provide us with reliable power unless we can store the energy from its intermittent sources. The vanadium redox flow battery is a promising technology; however, its efficiency is low, and the battery components are expensive. To address this, I worked with another Princeton undergraduate to create and test two vanadium battery designs.  read more >>

Yanran Lu, 2014
Operations Research and Financial Engineering
This summer, I worked with Professor David Medvigy in the Geosciences Department at Princeton. I attempted to determine how to predict maize yields in tropical Africa using the Agricultural Production Systems Simulator (APSIM), a crop simulator that helps predict the yield of different crops using weather data. read more >>

Jessica Luo, 2015
Civil and Environmental Engineering
In recent years, we have seen stronger, more frequent tropical storms devastate coastal communities. While we cannot prevent these storms from occurring, what can we do to mitigate the consequences of water once it surges into the city? Professor Guy Nordenson’s book “On the Water: Palisade Bay” explores possible engineering and design solutions that could be used to protect New York City from the effects of more >>

Miranda Marks, 2013
Chemical and Biological Engineering
This summer I worked with Professor Eric Larson (Princeton Environmental Institute) and Professor Sankaran Sundaresan (Chemical and Biological Engineering) to develop a new Chemical and Biological Engineering (CBE) course to be offered in fall 2012. read more >>

McCoy Eskender

Eskender McCoy, 2014
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
As an intern in a Princeton Environmental Institute research laboratory, I worked to identify the effect that future carbon dioxide levels will have on the health and growth of both nitrogen fixing and non-nitrogen fixing tropical trees. Half of the summer I was working in a lab on the Princeton University campus. read more >>

Ryan McNellis, 2015
Computer Science (BSE)
During my internship with PIRANHA (the Princeton Institute for Rainforests and the Amazon including their Nutrients, Hydrology, and the Atmosphere) in the Geosciences department of Princeton University, I examined the accuracy of mathematical models in predicting trends in climate variability over time, focusing specifically on daily scale surface solar radiation variability. read more >>

Emily Moder, 2013
Civil and Environmental Engineering
This summer I worked in a graduate student lab at the North China Electric Power University in Beijing. My research was focused on improving understanding of wind speed distributions in order to increase the ability of wind farms to predict their energy output. read more >>

David Newill-Smith, 2014
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
My internship this summer at Pan African Global Academy (PAGA) high school in Oshiyie, Ghana was an incredible introduction into the logistics of designing and building off-grid renewable energy systems and the world of International Development. read more >>

Nunez Carolina

Carolina Nunez, 2013
Astrophysical Sciences
During my PEI summer internship, I worked at the Pan African Global Academy (PAGA) in Oshiyie, Ghana, along with two fellow PEI interns. PAGA was established by Professor Rouse, whose aim was to build an environmentally, socially and financially sustainable high school. read more >>

Yuem Park, 2015
Over the summer, in the states of Utah, Wyoming, Colorado and Nevada, I acted as a field assistant to a PhD student in the Princeton Geosciences Department. We would study a geological map or another pertinent research paper, identify where we would most likely be able to examine rock outcrop of the specific age (the late Paleozoic Age, about 300 million years ago) and type (sedimentary carbonates). read more >>

Ryan Peng, 2014
Operations Research and Financial Engineering
This past summer, I worked in the Princeton Laboratory for Energy Systems Analysis (PENSA) to develop a computer model for optimizing purchases of energy contracts in order to meet random customer demands. The primary goal was to maximize profits, while minimizing exposure to risks that are inherently present with this type of random demand. This is an important and fundamental challenge that energy distribution companies face every day. read more >>

Zhaonan Qu, 2015
Fusion energy is among one of the several promising new energy resources. However, a major technical issue remains unsolved for fusion energy reactors: Temperature in the Scrape-Off Layer (SOL, the part of the plasma immediately in contact with reactor walls) remains hard to control, which could lead to major disruptions that break a sustainable fusion reaction. This summer I worked at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory. read more >>

Ruth Rosenthal, 2015
Chemical and Biological Engineering
This summer, I worked in Princeton's Program in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (AOS) researching long-term trends in ocean chlorophyll data and differing methodologies for examining such trends. Chlorophyll data provides the best tool for scientists to estimate the concentration of phytoplankton in a given area of the ocean. Since phytoplankton form the basis of ocean food webs, it is important to see if their numbers are changing over time, especially since they may be affected by climate change. read more >>

Nicole Sato, 2014
Chemical and Biological Engineering
This summer, I studied the relationship between crystal structure and device performance in organic field effect transistors. I investigated a small carbon molecule, contorted hexabenzocoronene (HBC), and a few of its fluorinated derivatives for use in organic electronics. My project included two main questions: 1) How do different methods of annealing influence the crystal structure? and 2) how does the crystal structure affect the device performance? read more >>

Jessica Lynn Saylors, 2013
Chemical and Biological Engineering
This was my second summer working in Professor Lynn Loo’s research group fabricating organic field effect transistors (OFETs) from an organic molecule called contorted hexabenzocoronene (HBC). I used OFETs, a type of switch that forms the basic building blocks of organic electronic devices, to examine the electronic properties of HBC. read more >>

Levi Stanton, 2015
Civil and Environmental Engineering
My internship with the Center for Mid-InfraRed Technologies for Health and the Environment focused on the development of an 8-micron mid-infrared quantum cascade laser system for the sensing of methane. This sensor will ultimately serve as a field-deployed system in Toolik Lake, Alaska where permafrost thaw is releasing large amounts of methane. read more >>

Andrew Stella, 2013
Chemical Engineering
It is commonly cited by solar power advocates that the rate of energy incident on Earth's surface from the sun outpaces our global consumption by several orders of magnitude. So why then aren't solar panels ubiquitous? One reason is cost. The subject of my internship with the Ceramic Materials Lab, the dye-sensitized solar cell, is a relatively young and promising solution. read more >>

Chengyue Sun, 2013

Chengyue Sun, 2013
Chemical and Biological Engineering
This summer I conducted research in Professor Koel's group on the photocatalysis of water using manganese oxide doped zinc oxide nanoparticles as a co-catalyst. This project has the potential to provide new and more effective catalysts for the synthesis of hydrogen gas. Previous experiments were conducted on the topic, but only with a low manganese oxide content of about 5% to 10%; I investigated the effect of increasing the manganese oxide content to 50%. read more >>

Aleksandra Szczuka, 2014
Chemical and Biological Engineering
The goal of my internship at the Morel lab was to determine the effect of pH and temperature changes on the activity of the enzyme carbonic anhydrase. Carbonic anhydrase catalyzes the inter-conversion of carbon dioxide and bicarbonate, helping adjust the level of carbon dioxide within a cell. read more >>

Tyler Tamasi, 2015
As an intern with the Sigman Group in the Geosciences department at Princeton University, I focused on collecting and analyzing the nitrogen species (primarily NH4+) in New Jersey rainwater and compared my results with data collected from Bermuda rainwater. During my summer experience, I took part in two research cruises from Bermuda and used a plethora of field techniques to better understand the chemistry of air and sea. read more >>

Evaline Tsai, 2015
Chemical and Biological Engineering
Because the production of cement contributes to the release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, there is a need to find replacements for cement used in concrete manufacturing. This summer, I studied the interactions between fly ash, a promising secondary cementitious material (SCM), and air entraining agents (AEAs)... read more >>

Nick White, 2013
I spent the summer working with Dr. Rym Msadek at the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL), a part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The main goal of my project was to characterize the circulation in the South Atlantic Ocean, a region which is not well understood in oceanography. We also did some analysis of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (the "conveyer belt" that is depicted in diagrams of world oceanic circulation. read more >>

Mengyi Xu, 2014
The Woodrow Wilson School
I had the wonderful opportunity to work closely with Professor Keohane on a project that focused on "The Ethics of Communicating Uncertainty in Climate Change." I was mainly charged with conducting literature reviews and finding relevant materials on the topic that would help the professor and his two co-authors gain a firmer understanding of the complexities of the issue. read more >>

Sheng Zhou, 2014
My summer internship was an extension of my involvement with a student-run nonprofit, GlobeMed at Princeton University. My project was part of the GrassRoots Onsite Work (GROW) Internship program of GlobeMed at Princeton’s partnership with Medical AIDS Outreach (MAO). I worked with Amy Li ’14 to conduct a survey of Alabama college students on their perceptions of HIV/AIDS and testing. read more >>