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Meet Energy Challenge Past Interns: 2012

Lily Adler, 2015, Chemistry


Project: Ice Sheet Variability 300 Million Years Ago as an Analog to Modern Climate Change
Organization/Location: Princeton Dept. of Geosciences, Princeton, NJ
Adviser: Adam Maloof, Associate Professor, Geosciences

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. As a part of this internship, I spent the summer hiking in Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, and Colorado. Not only did I get to see amazing parts of the American west, but I also learned how to collect data in the field. Having known nothing about geology, I learned a great deal about the basics of geology and began to make sense of the physical world around me. I learned how to see and identify fossils as well as many different types of rock formations. This internship expose me to not only geology, but also to a part of America that I had never seen before. While the internship did not necessarily persuade me to major in geology, it did show me that the more you know about the physical world, the more amazing and beautiful it becomes.


Vincent Bai, 2014, Chemical and Biological Engineering


Project: Development of Flow Through Electrodes for Vanadium Flow Batteries
Organization/Location
: Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
Adviser: Jay Benziger, Professor 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 and/or production when variable energy resources such as solar and wind are used. The goal of my project was to modify the standard diffusive flow regime used in most VRB designs to allow for convection of the electrolyte within the reaction chamber. We wanted to see if the modified design would increase battery efficiency and power output. Since this project was new to my research group, I was able to experience firsthand the amount of work necessary to start up a project. I spent part of my summer designing and constructing the batteries and gained valuable insight into the process of selecting and acquiring materials. By the end of the summer, we had promising data that demonstrated that the modified convective flow regime was more efficient. This internship solidified my desire to work in the energy industry, and I plan to continue working on this project during the school year.


Regina Cai, 2015, Operations Research and Financial Engineering


Project: Modeling Wind Speed Distributions
Organization/Location:
North China Electric Power University, China
Advisers: Eric Larson, Research Engineer, Princeton Environmental Institute. Lecturer in Chemical and Biological Engineering; Liu Yongqian, North China Electric Power

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. In one project, I devised multiple potential goodness-of-fit tests as variations on the least-squares method of curve fitting. While I recognized some limitations of my math and statistical skills, my interest in these subjects led me to learn about machine learning and MATLAB. I then incorporated my new knowledge and skills into my tests. I also analyzed supercycles in commodity prices, developing my economic research skills by finding relevant data online and putting it in the context of literature from textbooks and journals. I juxtaposed papers from academic and financial institutions to create a project plan with potential for future work at Princeton. Overall, I challenged myself by asking difficult questions, sifting through relevant resources, and finding new ways to tie ideas together.


Kathleen Cavanagh, 2014, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Kathleen Cavanagh, 2014

Project: Exploration of Dynamic Stall on Tubercled Airfoils
Organization/Location:
Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
Adviser: Alexander Smits, Professor, 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). Unfortunately VAWTs currently have a lower coefficient of power than HAWTs, meaning that VAWTs are less efficient at collecting the energy in the wind and turning it into electricity. This efficiency may be increased by reducing the dynamic stall on the VAWT’s blades. My research involved designing and building an apparatus to mimic the path of a blade in a VAWT. The blade within this apparatus is interchangeable, allowing for various blade geometries’ dynamic stall reductions to be tested. From these tests, a new blade geometry could be suggested to reduce the dynamic stall on VAWTs and improve their performance in order to make them a more viable source of renewable energy. This experience allowed me to see the practical applications of the theory I had learned within my classes. I learned about computer modeling and was exposed to the manufacturing process, which allowed me to take an idea from the conceptual to the physical realm.


Henry Chai, 2014, Operations Research and Financial Engineering


Project: SMART-ISO: An Intelligent Simulator for the PJM Power Grid
Organization/Location:
Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
Adviser: Warren Powell, Professor, 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. I performed extensive time series/regression analysis on the mined data and used machine learning tools to fill in gaps within the data. Through my research I learned about the coding language SQL as well as the general structure of the PJM interconnect. I also learned more generally about approximate dynamic programming techniques and electricity markets along the east coast. My work is relevant to PEI in that the research I did over the summer allowed the PENSA lab to run simulations on the entire grid, calculating local marginal prices of electricity. These simulations will also allow for exploration into the efficiency of certain operational plans of generation. More specifically, my intended future work in this area will explore the most efficient application of grid level storage throughout the PJM Interconnect.


Abraham Chaibi, 2014, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering


Organization/Location: Princeton Plasma Physics Lab, Princeton, New Jersey

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. By the end of the internship, I had completed the design and printed circuit board layout for the leak detector and had written an extensive report detailing the design process. This experience gave me the opportunity to develop my knowledge of programming numerical simulations in Matlab and to design and integrate complex electrical components effectively. Because of this summer research I will likely continue my study of nuclear fusion reactors through work at the Joint European Torus tokomak in the United Kingdom during my year abroad. I also hope to be able to combine this with my independent work and possibly continue working with PPPL for my senior thesis. The internship provided valuable insight into the independence required of graduate students and will definitely play a part in my post-graduation plans.


Richard Cheng, 2015, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering


Project: Synthesis, Characterization, and Devices Performance of Organic Photovoltaics Nanoarrays
Organization/Location:
Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
Adviser: Lynn Loo, Professor, Chemical and Biological 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. My goal was to characterize these nanowires and control their growth using a method called Physical Vapor Transport (PVT). Once I was able to control the nanowire growth, I incorporated them into an OPV device. Today’s OPVs typically combine an electron donor material and an electron acceptor material to create a device. I grew my nanowires as electron acceptors, and matched them with different electron donor materials to make different solar cell devices. While working on this project, I learned a lot about the properties and behavior of organic materials, as well as the prospects for the field of organic electronics. I hope to work further with photovoltaics through independent work, studying inorganic materials as well as organics.


Matthew Chu Cheong, 2013, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering


Project: Innovative Fusion Confinement Concepts
Organization/Location:
Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, Princeton, New Jersey
Adviser: Samuel Cohen, Director, Program in Plasma Science and Technology

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. Combined with a rotating magnetic field, it is hoped that this would allow for temperatures better suited for fusion. My first project this summer was to model the trajectory of energetic, charged particles, in order to study potential energy extraction methods. For this, I studied numerical algorithms and programming techniques. The second project was to work with separate modeling software, in order to understand controllable parameters under which desirable fusion conditions could be achieved. Here, I had to further study thermodynamics, and learned to work in a Unix environment. I saw how important patience, perseverance, and humility can be if one wants to be a successful researcher. Additionally, I gained insight into what it means to study “physics.” I hope that I can continue researching and continue to learn from these experiences.


Tiffany Cheung, 2015, Molecular Biology


Project: Effect of High CO2 on Photosynthesis and Growth in Marine Phytoplankton
Organization/Location:
Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
Advisers: François Morel, Professor, Geosciences; Jodi Young, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Geosciences; Xan Yu, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Geosciences

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. I grew the diatom, Thalassiosira weissflogii, in artificial seawater at various carbon dioxide conditions and studied its effect on the physiology of this diatom. I harvested the samples prior to nutrient repletion and used spectrophotometry, western blotting, and radioactive carbon-14 to quantify various proteins and its activities. The data I obtained so far calls for further research; and I will continue my project this year. As a prospective molecular biology major, my internship with the Morel lab gave me the incredible opportunity to work alongside graduate students and postdoctoral research associates, allowing me to gain insights into scientific research. In addition to incorporating what I have learned in my general science classes into my own research, I learned how to successfully plan, execute, and analyze a scientific research project on my own.


Stephen Cognetta, 2015, Chemical and Biological Engineering


Project: Development of Quantum Cascade Lasers for Atmospheric Carbon Isotope Ratio Detection
Organization/Location:
Princeton University, Princeton, NJ
Adviser: Claire Gmachl, Professor, Electrical 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. DFB QC lasers offer a reliable and efficient way to sense gases such as carbon dioxide or water vapor. To ensure specified detection of these gases, however, QC lasers must exhibit single-mode behavior (which means that the lasers target a specific wavenumber in the mid-infrared spectrum). This allows the laser to be used for environmental applications, such as detecting leakage from carbon sequestration. We tested a number of different DFB QC lasers to determine the operating conditions under which they exhibited single-mode behavior (parameters such as current and temperature). Throughout my internship, I learned how to use the equipment in the lab. In particular, I focused on operating the LIV (Light, current, voltage) setup and Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrometer, both were instrumental in characterizing lasers. The main portion of my research was directly involved with the graduate students and Professor Gmachl, which exposed me to both electrical engineering and the research field. I will definitely consider my experience when applying to graduate school.


Charlotte Conner, 2014, Geosciences


Project: Low-Carbon Transportation Fuels and Electricity from Coal and Biomass
Organization/Location:
Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
Adviser: Eric Larson, Research Engineer, Princeton Environmental Institute

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. Fischer-Tropsch synthesis can be low-carbon, carbon-neutral, or even negative-carbon by adding biomass as a percentage of the inputs and/or by using carbon capture and sequestration technology. As an intern, I was charged with the upkeep of the master Excel spreadsheet that housed the cost components, emissions information, and fuel and electricity outputs of each hypothetical facility. I wrote and interpreted the Visual Basic code that was used to determine the economic properties of the facilities. I also used the Greenhouse Gases, Regulated Emissions, and Energy Use in Transportation Model (GREET), created by the Argonne National Laboratory to update ESAG’s emissions data for different fuel creation and transportation scenarios. Not only did I learn a lot about synthetic fuel creation, I also improved my knowledge of Excel and programming skills. This internship increased my interest in the methods of making clean fossil fuels both environmentally and economically friendly.


Daniel Davies, 2014, Mechanical Engineering


Organization/Location: Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), Palo Alto, California

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. I carried out a large number of measurements on different solar cells. We looked at the degredation of the cells by examining the variation of their photo current after different amounts of exposure to either visible or UV light. During the internship I learned a tremendous amount about the research process. I was surrounded by a number of outstanding researchers who all had slightly different approaches. I learned how research can be used in a completely for-profit environment and how it can be used to help solve the world's energy problems. While not related to my major, this internship did teach me some great techniques and I gained a huge amount of confidence in the ability of the human mind to overcome obstacles.


John Davis, 2014, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering


Project: The PAGA-Princeton Wind Turbine Project: Designing and Building a Wind Turbine Power System
Organization/Location: Pan-African Global Academy, Ghana
Adviser: Carolyn Rouse, Professor, Anthropology African American Studies; Catherine Peters, Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, School of Engineering and Applied Science; Elie Bou-Zeid, Assistant Professor, Civil and Environmental 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, and worked with the local government to import the needed elements. We also designed part of a science curriculum for the school and helped teach a few classes. This internship gave me valuable technical knowledge about wind turbines. More importantly, I learned about working in developing countries and its related difficulties, which I had not anticipated. I plan on learning more about the economic development of growing countries and related challenges in my classes, which can hopefully supplement my experience in the field. In the future, I hope to be able to work on a similar project, using everything I learned this past summer.


Lauren Edelman, 2014, Chemical and Biological Engineering


Project: Industrial-Scale Energy Efficiency: Driving New Technologies and Cutting Carbon
Organization/Location
: Environmental Defense Fund, Austin, Texas
Adviser: Pamela Campos, Environmental Defense Fund

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. Throughout the summer I delved into 42 permits looking at fuel selection, energy efficiency technology, and evaluation of carbon capture and storage. I did a more detailed examination of natural gas power plants and cement manufacturing plants. After my analysis I shared my findings over phone conferences with the Environmental Protection Agency and other environmental non-governmental organizations (NGOs) so that the results of my research can be used to ensure the success of greenhouse gas regulation.
Working with the EDF reaffirmed my interest in environmental issues. Through this internship I also honed my research, communication, and presentation skills, and found a medium through which I can study scientific issues outside of a laboratory - something that may be an option for my future career.


Adam Fisch, 2015, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering


Project: Sustainability and Urban Engineering in the Face of Storm Surges
Organization/Location: Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
Advisers: Guy Nordenson, Professor, Architecture; Howard Stone, 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. A major component of my group's work focused on developing new protective and creative strategies for the city of Shanghai in China. As background, I learned about different innovative strategies that people have used around the world in places like Rotterdam, London, and New Orleans. My co-intern and I examined various characteristics of Shanghai, including its urban structure, local geography, flooding tendencies, and harbor bathymetry, and helped integrate some of what we found into an extensive GIS program database. I also integrated our research into general, informational presentations on aspects of storm surge risk and protection for a January, 2013 exhibition in Shanghai, to explain the concepts behind our group's project. In the future, I hope to continue to learn more about effective ways of predicting water flow during flooding, as well as finite-element analysis tools.


Chris Hamm, 2014, Environmental Engineering


Project: Deep Convective Transport of Air Pollutants and Their Impacts on Cirrus Cloud Formation
Organization/Location:
Princeton University, Salina, Kansas and Princeton, New Jersey
Adviser: Mark Zondlo, Assistant Professor, Civil and 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. Working in conjunction with NASA, the National Science Foundation and several other research groups, we obtained a wealth of data, tracking the chemistry of the inflow and outflow of deep convective storms to gain a better understanding of the role of convection in the chemistry of the lower stratosphere. I spent the rest of the summer in the lab at Princeton, working with data from the campaign and designing systems to calibrate our instrument. I came away from my experience with an understanding of the importance of scientific research in gauging the rate of climate change and the impact we have on our planet. I am going to keep working with Professor Zondlo throughout the year, and plan to use my experience this summer to start my junior independent research in the spring.


Booyeon Han, 2013, Chemistry


Project: Piezoelectric Nanoribbon Assemblies Printed onto Rubber for Highly Efficient, Flexible Energy Harvesting
Organization/Location:
Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
Adviser: Michael McAlpine, Assistant Professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

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. Future work will be directed to the possibilities of using microfluidic devices for the controlled synthesis of these nanowires with the biotemplates: alginate, phage, and peptides. In addition, the properties of lead zirconate titanate (PZT) nanowire films will be explored. The project that I started in the McAlpine Research Group has opened more options in the field of academics for me. I am now very seriously considering the possibilities of research at the graduate school level. My full experience and immersion in the laboratory setting was very helpful in guiding my values and thoughts on research that can be accomplished for the advancement of knowledge and technology - not just for academics but also for practical applications like energy harvesting.


Brian Huang, 2013, Computer Science


Project: A Novel Analysis of Early Warning Metrics for Tipping Points
Organization/Location:
Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
Adviser: Jorge Sarmiento, Professor, Geosciences

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. I initially planned to use Monte Carlo simulations to quantitatively measure the power of these early warning indicators using a previously created methodology, but partway through my internship, I reexamined this approach. In the end, after much reading and with my mentor's help, I designed a novel and more rigorous approach to analyzing the power of our early warning metrics. Among other things, this entailed finding and coding a model for the underlying mechanics of a generic abrupt climate shift, creating an algorithmic method for determining success in the metrics, and a means of comparing metrics despite uncertainty about the optimal combination of their parameters. My internship also gave me the opportunity to attend several interesting seminars and talks within AOS as well as at the NOAA-run Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory. This experience not only taught me about the current questions in the field of climate science, but also gave me the opportunity to participate in the effort to answer them.


Alexandra Kasdin, 2014, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology


Project: Climate Communications Internship at Climate Central
Organization/Location:
Climate Central, Princeton, NJ
Adviser: Michael Lemonick, Visiting Lecturer, Astrophysical Sciences and the Council on Science and Technology; Climate Central

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. My main responsibility at Climate Central was to produce content that informed the public about issues related to climate change for the organization’s website. Climate change is one of the most nuanced, confusing, far-reaching, and controversial issues in the environmental sector today. Not only did my work with Climate Central help communicate clear and unbiased information about climate change and energy to the general public but it also helped me gain a better understanding of climate change and its impacts. After this summer, I still want to continue on my path towards becoming a scientifically informed policymaker in the field of conservation biology. Furthermore, my internship confirmed for me the importance of environmental education in determining and progressing towards sustainable solutions.


Wendy Lang, 2013, Chemical and Biological Engineering


Project: Scientific Basis for Energy and Environmental Initiatives
Organization/Location
: Environmental Defense Fund, San Francisco, California
Adviser: Millie Chu Baird, Environmental Defense Fund

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. I conducted research and analyzed and synthesized information on environmental topics including methane leakage and monitoring, greenhouse gas inventories, deforestation emissions, climate model accuracy, low carbon fuel standards, and carbon capture and storage. This information was utilized in an array of specific program and team tasks as well as campaigns engaging the entire organization. I was also involved in developing preliminary frameworks for formulating, implementing, and evaluating metrics to be applied across different programs. Being able to participate in a wide range of initiatives allowed me not only to gain insights into the efforts and operations of a major non-profit organization, but also to strengthen my research skills and expand my knowledge of energy and environmental concerns and movements. This internship reaffirmed my interests in environmental studies and sustainable energy - areas which I am continuing to explore at Princeton and hope to continue in the future.


Collen Leng, 2014 Mechanical Engineering


Project: Development of Flow Through Electrodes for Vanadium Flow Batteries
Organization/Location:
Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
Adviser: Jay Benziger, Professor Chemical and Biological 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. The first design replicates the one that researchers and industries currently use. The second design originates from our research group and is radically different. Using the Pro/ENGINEER software, I designed the two batteries, and then we built and tested them. Having started this project from scratch, we spent many weeks researching, designing, constructing a battery cell/vanadium solution system, and restructuring the system for better operation. The data that we collected from charge and discharge tests show that our second design is significantly more efficient. However, we will need to make more adjustments and conduct more tests to better understand why our design has higher efficiency. My work on the vanadium flow battery has given me a better understanding of the design and improvement of a promising energy storage option. This research topic further increased my interest in exploring deeper into the field of energy storage.


Yanran Lu, 2014, Operations Research and Financial Engineering


Project: Modeling Crop Yields in Africa
Organization/Location:
Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
Adviser: David Medvigy, Assistant Professor, Geosciences

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. I wrote code in the programming language R to help make this data usable in APSIM, and simulated maize yields over 61 years and 9 one-degree squares in Nigeria. I used R to make linear models predicting the yields based on variables that I created, like “average rain in May” or “maximum radiation in June.” Although I had some success with this, the linear models could only explain half of the variation displayed in the yields, indicating that the consolidation of data into “growing season” or “monthly” statistics was insufficient; the day-to-day variations dictate the yield of maize. I then created my own weather files to see how monthly and daily variations in the meteorological variables affected the yield. My findings reinforced that daily variation is the most important variable, and that specifically daily variation in rainfall is important in attaining higher yields. Throughout this internship, I learned a lot about coding in R and thinking analytically, and was able to work closely with a professor for the first time.


Jessica Luo, 2015, Civil and Environmental Engineering


Project: Sustainability and Urban Engineering in the Face of Storm Surges
Organization/Location:
Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
Advisers: Guy Nordenson, Professor, Architecture; Howard Stone, Mechanical and Aerospace 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 storms. My internship this summer sought to apply these concepts to Shanghai. I learned about some of the physical concepts behind storm surge, researched the strategies that people have used to live with the water as well as their perceptions of the water, examined various characteristics of Shanghai, and helped build a GIS database. I also developed informational presentations for an upcoming exhibition to help explain the concepts behind our project to a general audience. In addition to refining my research skills, I gained insight on the ways that people have focused on addressing environmental challenges rather than getting caught up in political debates about the environment. I believe the knowledge and skills I gained during this internship will be applicable in anything I do and could influence my independent work in the future.


Miranda Marks, 2013, Chemical and Biological Engineering


Project: Developing a New SEAS Course on Energy-Water Nexus
Organization/Location:
Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
Adviser: Eric Larson, Research Engineer, Princeton Environmental Institute

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. This course, titled "The Energy-Water Nexus," is intended to teach students about the challenges surrounding the ever-increasing global consumption of energy and water, as well as the large overlap between these two areas. During this internship I researched current literature on global and regional energy and water challenges, alternative energy sources, desalination, and climate change; created problem sets that used engineering fundamentals to examine energy and water use in power plants; and learned and implemented the computer program Aspen Plus to simulate various power plant and desalination processes. I was able to gain an extensive background in the study of energy and water. This research ties directly to my senior thesis, in which I will use Aspen Plus to study water and energy use of an energy conversion plant.


Eskender McCoy, 2014, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology


Project: Tropical Forests as Carbon Sinks, Princeton University and Panama
Organization/Location: Princeton University, STRI, Princeton, NJ. Gamboa and Barro Colorado, Panama
Adviser: David Medvigy, Assistant Professor, Geosciences

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. While there I spent my time preparing and analyzing plant and dirt samples (collected during last summer’s growing season) to identify how many nutrients were absorbed and where they were allocated within the plant. I spent the second half of my summer at a field site in Panama, collecting and processing plants that had been planted earlier in the year. Over the course of this internship I was given insight as to the way researchers design experiments in order to assess the future impact of climate change. I also gained hands-on knowledge of how to set up and maintain an experimental field site. This internship has not only given me experience and knowledge that will be invaluable to future work that I will undertake within my major, it has also reinforced my interest in ecological conservation and climate change.


Ryan McNellis, 2015, Computer Science


Project: Simulated and Observed Trends in Climate Variability
Organization/Location:
Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
Adviser: David Medvigy, Assistant Professor, Geosciences

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. I used the mathematical model output to examine future trends in climate variability and to determine the role of CO2 concentrations in influencing trends in variability. Climate variability is an area of study which is often overlooked; strong positive/negative trends in variability can have significant consequences for the ecosystems of affected areas. I conducted my research using output from 15 global climate models that contributed to the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project 5 (CMIP5). This internship gave me the opportunity to experience what it would be like to have a career in the sciences. I have always been interested in applied math, and this project gave me a chance to see what the science side (as opposed to the financial/business side) of applied math is like. From this experience, I gained new skills in statistical analysis and in programming, especially working with the R programming language.


Emily Moder, 2013, Civil and Environmental Engineering


Project: North China Electric Power
Organization/Location:
North China Electric Power University, China
Advisers: Eric Larson, Research Engineer, Princeton Environmental Institute. Lecturer in Chemical and Biological Engineering; Liu Yongqian, North China Electric Power

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. To do this, I used several established wind speed distribution models and compared their outputs to data of various meteorological variables, to determine patterns as to when different models produced accurate results. Since I hope to work on developing and expanding the use of renewable energy both in the U.S. and abroad, this experience was incredibly valuable in both thinking about my plans after graduation and in giving me perpective on how renewable energy is seen in China. I was able to collaborate with students and faculty from different countries on a mission of mutual interest: wind energy. I also have a new appreciation for the importance of understanding the culture in which one works, and how people of different backgrounds can come together to work toward a common vision for a better future.


David Newill-Smith, 2014, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering


Project: The PAGA-Princeton Wind Turbine Project: Designing and Building a Wind Turbine Power System in Oshiyie, Ghana
Organization/Location:
Pan African Global Academy, Ghana
Advisers: Carolyn Rouse, Professor, Anthropology African American Studies; Catherine Peters, Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, School of Engineering and Applied Science; Elie Bou-Zeid, Assistant Professor, Civil and Environmental 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. Over the course of the internship, I had the opportunity to work closely with Ghanian electricians, masons, and other professionals working in renewable energy to design and start construction on a small wind turbine power system for PAGA. This entire process, filled with both successes and difficulties, gave me rare and invaluable insight into the logistics of building small, off-grid, renewable energy systems. Aside from the technical and logistical skills I learned, I gained a new perspective into international development work and formed incredibly rich relationships with the students and faculty of PAGA, renewable energy professionals, and other Ghanians I met. The experience shaped my plans for future involvement in international development. It allowed me to see what does and does not work in projects such as this, and how to build a social venture for accomplishing something positive in the world.


Carolina Nunez, 2013, Astrophysical Sciences


Project: The PAGA-Princeton Wind Turbine Project: Designing and Building a Wind Turbine Power System in Oshiyie, Ghana, Ghana
Organization/Location: Pan African Global Academy, Ghana
Adviser: Carolyn Rouse, Professor, Anthropology African American Studies; Catherine Peters, Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, School of Engineering and Applied Science; Elie Bou-Zeid, Assistant Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering

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. In alignment with this philosophy, our goals were to design and implement a wind turbine system on the school grounds to meet the energy demands of the school, and to develop a project-based curriculum for the second-year science program that would allow students to interact with the turbine. Despite the many challenges of the project, we successfully designed a wind turbine system and laid the foundation for its installation, including construction of the turbine's anchor system, trenches for electrical wiring, and a local shelter for batteries. Furthermore, we were able to interact with a network of Ghanaian sustainable energy professionals. We look forward to the turbine's imminent installation. In addition, we were able to begin development of the curriculum, identifying several projects that addressed Ghanaian academic standards. Overall, this internship provided me with true insight into the challenges of development work, and I hope to apply my experiences to future work.


Yuem Park, 2015 Geosciences


Project: Ice Sheet Variability 300 Million Years Ago as an Analog to Modern Climate Change
Organization/Location:
Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
Adviser: Adam Maloof, Associate Professor, Geosciences

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) that were relevant to our project, then drive to that location and hike and camp in the mountains or canyon, studying the rock and collecting samples. From this information we can infer climatic conditions and the sea level of the time when the rock was deposited. By understanding the climate of the past, we can be better equipped to approach the climatic challenges that face us today and those yet to be encountered. By being a direct contributor to such an important research project, I was fortunate enough to acquire innumerable field skills and knowledge about geology as a whole. This experience gave me an invaluable foundation upon which to build my studies in the Geoscience Department.


Ryan Peng, 2014, Operations Research and Financial Engineering


Project: A Stochastic Model for Energy Systems Pricing
Organization/Location:
Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
Advisers: Warren Powell, Professor, Operations Research and Financial Engineering; Ricardo Collado, Associate Professional Specialist, 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. In order to create such a model, I used my skills in applied math (linear programming and stochastic calculus) and computer science (MATLAB and related software) to develop an efficient program that would determine the amounts of energy that should be bought on each day. Through this project, I have sharpened my technical skills and learned much about energy policy and distribution. I had a great time working on this model, while learning from my advisors and talking to my colleagues who worked on other energy research projects at PENSA. With this experience in mind, I feel better prepared to perform original research for my senior thesis at Princeton.


Zhaonan Qu, 2015, Mathematics


Project: Actively Cooled, Actively Wetted Liquid Lithium Divertor Design
Organization/Location: Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, Princeton, NJ
Adviser: Robert Goldston, Professor, Astrophysical Sciences

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 on a project that aims to determine the cooling efficiencies of several different elements in fusion plasma, and explored their viability as alternatives to current elements to cool the plasma in the SOL. To this end, I performed MATLAB numerical simulations of one-dimensional cooling models utilizing data from Atomic Data and Analysis Structure to compare how lithium, beryllium, and carbon behave in terms of cooling efficiency. I discovered that carbon and nitrogen have very similar cooling efficiency-temperature curves, while those of lithium and beryllium bear striking resemblance to each other. Throughout the project, I gained valuable experience with MATLAB, and also acquired some knowledge of atomic physics and energy sciences. More importantly, I had a great experience at a major energy sciences research site that showed me what real research in that field is like.


Ruth Rosenthal, 2015, Chemical and Biological Engineering


Project: Long-Term Trends in Ocean Chlorophyll Concentrations in Relation to Global Climate Change
Organization/Location: Program in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences (AOS), Princeton University, Princeton, NJ
Adviser: Jorge Sarmiento, Professor, Geosciences

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. I utilized chlorophyll data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association’s National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC) and Johns Hopkins University’s Worldwide Ocean Optics Database (WOOD), ranging over 50- and 100-year time spans, to discern long-term trends in chlorophyll concentration. I also examined the reliability of chlorophyll measurements derived from Secchi depths against more precise in situ fluorometer measurements. I did the majority of my computational and mapping analysis in MATLAB, which allowed me to quickly analyze enormous data sets over long time scales and to easily map spatial trends. This research really stimulated my interest in applying my foundational science skills to specific oceanographic or environmental problems, and also showed me how useful computational tools such as MATLAB can be in scientific research.


Nicole Sato, 2014, Chemical and Biological Engineering


Project: Crystallization of Small Molecules for Organic Electronic Devices
Organization/Location: Princeton University, Loo Lab, USA
Adviser: Lynn Loo, Professor, 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? In order to research these questions, I learned how to perform several different spectroscopic techniques, which allowed me to study the properties of the different HBC structures. I also learned how to prepare, test and analyze transistors to measure the device performance. We were able to find several correlations between annealing methods, crystal structure and device performance. This internship allowed me to experience a university research environment; I now have a better understanding of the effort, frustration, but also the excitement, that comes along with any research project! This internship has provided me with experience for future academic research and has helped me decide which career path I will pursue.


Jessica Lynn Saylors, 2013, Chemical and Biological Engineering


Project: Crystallization of Small Molecules for Organic Electronic Devices
Organization/Location:
Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
Adviser: Lynn Loo, Professor, 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. The main focus of my project was to determine how changing the thickness of an HBC film that comprises an OFET would affect the device’s ability to conduct charge. I fabricated and tested many devices with thicknesses ranging from 40nm to 250nm, using equipment such as a thermal evaporator, optical microscope, and atomic force microscope in my work. As science often does, my project produced both interesting and reproducible results, as well as many more questions to be answered. Through this lab work I acquired laboratory skills, a taste of scientific research and its ups and downs, the thrill of discovery, and the frustration of mistakes and inconsistencies. I plan to use what I learned these past two summers as I expand upon this project as part of my senior thesis.


Levi Stanton, 2015, Civil and Environmental Engineering


Project: Development and Field Testing of an Open-Path 8 μm Quantum Cascade Laser Methane Sensor
Organization/Location:
Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
Adviser: Mark Zondlo, Assistant Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering

My internship with MIRTHE 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. Methane, a greenhouse gas that has 25 times the global warming potential of CO2 over a 100-year period, is being released from the permafrost and is contributing to global temperature increase, creating a positive feedback cycle that results in further melting of permafrost. After doing preliminary field deployments in the Princeton area, we brought the laser system to the Toolik Lake Field Station in the Alaskan Arctic. We successfully took measurements at total path distances up to 1.2 km and were able to maintain detection in severe weather conditions, including high winds, heavy rain, and even snow. This project greatly impacted my studies in the CEE department. I will be working in Professor Zondlo's lab this year, which creates an excellent opportunity for me to extend my research a second year, and apply it to my Junior Independent Project.


Andrew Stella, 2013, Chemical Engineering


Project: Using Carbonaceous Electrodes with High Viscosity Electrolytes for Stable Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells
Organization/Location:
Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
Adviser: Ilhan Aksay, Professor, Chemical and Biological 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. From an energy challenge viewpoint, the goal of my research was to help both decrease the cost and increase the lifetime of these devices through component engineering. With this motivation in mind my time was spent assembling cells, running electrochemical tests on those cells, analyzing data, and reading literature in order to guide my research steps. I spent the first half of my internship developing a procedure to make high efficiency baseline cells, and then moved to testing cells with carbonaceous counter electrodes (lower cost) and stable electrolytes (extended lifetime). The combination of components I used in a single cell was unprecedented, and thus the data I gathered and analyzed is uniquely useful in addressing this energy challenge. I plan to work in materials science and this experience taught me many techniques and skills essential to the discipline.


Chengyue Sun, 2013, Chemical and Biological Engineering

Chengyue Sun, 2013

Project: Photochemistry at Manganese Oxide Doped Zinc Oxide Surfaces for Production of Renewable Hydrogen
Organization/Location:
Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
Adviser: Bruce Koel, Professor, 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%. I synthesized nanoparticles via different routes, analyzed the products using surface science techniques and studied their performance using a three-electrode photoelectrochemical (PEC) cell. Through this interhsip I learned techniques on the synthesis of nanoparticles and on how to operate the machines used for surface science analysis. Working with Professor Koel's group has been a great experience.


Aleksandra Szczuka, 2014, Chemical and Biological Engineering


Project: Effect of High CO2 on Photosynthesis and Growth in Marine Phytoplankton
Organization/Location:
Department of Geosciences, Morel Lab, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
Advisers: François Morel, Professor, Geosciences; Jodi Young, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Geosciences; Xan Yu, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Geosciences

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. The activity of this enzyme depends on outside factors, and ultimately influences, for example, the cell’s growth rate. Being a metalloenzyme, carbonic anhydrase activity additionally depends on the concentration levels of metals such as zinc. During the summer, I isolated two forms of the enzyme, CdCA and TWCA1, grown at different metal concentrations, and attempted to measure the activity of each under different pH and temperature conditions. By attempting to isolate active protein several times, I gained insight into the quirks of environmental research and became aware of how to isolate, purify, and quantify protein. This internship introduced me to the many possibilities of environmental research, and put me on an academic and career path that will center around understanding humans’ effect on the environment.


Tyler Tamasi, 2015 Chemistry


Project: Rainwater Collection and Analysis in New Jersey
Organization/Location:
Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
Adviser: Daniel Sigman, Professor, Geosciences

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. From hauling plankton nets and taking water samples from the deep Sargasso Sea to measuring minute ammonium concentrations and filtering Bermuda air, I began to elucidate the interplay between pollution in New Jersey rainwater and its effects on Bermuda rain. I gained insight into many aspects of geochemistry by attending lectures by renowned scientists and collaborating with established researchers both in the field and at Princeton. My knowledge of the chemistry that governs global processes has grown exponentially over the course of this summer. As I am planning to major in chemistry, with the goal of impacting alternative energy technologies and environmental issues, being able to collaborate with individuals that understand so much of the earth’s chemical systems has created a framework of possibilities for my future research.


Evaline Tsai, 2015, Chemical and Biological Engineering


Project: Sustainable Concrete
Organization/Location:
Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
Adviser: George Scherer, Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering Amy Soli, Stony Brook Millstone Watershed

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), useful additives that provide frost resistance to concrete, to determine the different performances of the AEAs, and to understand how the amalgamation of these different compounds affected each other. I made AEA/fly ash samples for later Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) studies, used optical microscopy to see how AEAs interacted with calcium, and operated thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) to confirm the formation of air voids. This internship has allowed me to learn a lot more about the research process required in graduate school. Realizing the far-reaching effects each research project can have on saving the environment, I am determined to pursue certificates in Environmental Studies and/or Sustainable Energy at Princeton. I am now more excited than ever to continue conducting research during the coming summers.

Nick White, 2013, Math


Project: Characterization of the South Atlantic Ocean Circulation in Climate Models
Organization/Location: Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, Princeton, NJ
Adviser: Gabriel Vecchi, Lecturer, Geosciences

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, 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). The ocean and atmosphere are extremely complex systems, and even a small change in temperature at some point can affect the weather thousands of miles away. So even a small improvement in our understanding of the South Atlantic can be useful in climate science everywhere. We used GFDL computer models of the world's climate to conduct the research. This internship was a great introduction both to climate science and to life in government research organizations. I gained a deeper understanding of ocean mechanics and obtained additional data analysis skills.


Mengyi Xu, 2014, The Woodrow Wilson School


Project: The Diffusion of International Environmental Institutions
Organization/Location:
Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey
Adviser: Robert Keohane, Professor, 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. From this internship, I was able to acquire very critical analytical skills and gain familiarity with social science research strategies. I benefitted tremendously from reading literature across various disciplines such as philosophy, communications theories, climate change science, and uncertainty theories. This experience offered me valuable perspectives on how policy makers and scientists can and should collaborate on generating solutions to address complex global issues. It also convinced me that my interest in international affairs really lies at the intersection of health, environmental sustainability, intercultural communication, and international law.


Sheng Zhou, 2014 Chemistry


Project: Medical AIDS Outreach of Alabama GROW internship
Organization/Location:
Medical AIDS Outreach of Alabama, Inc., Montgomery, Alabama
Adviser: Adel Mahmoud, Professor, Molecular Biology and Public Policy, Woodrow Wilson School

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. We also worked on developing our relationship with MAO by interviewing different employees in the organization to understand the inner workings of a nonprofit. I worked largely with the education department and taught safe sex essentials in the community. This opportunity opened my eyes to the lack of healthcare for rural populations, and the importance of innovative technologies such as telemedicine. More importantly, it highlighted that healthcare is at the intersection of social understanding and scientific exploration. In the South, the problem lies not in HIV/AIDS drug discovery but within a myriad of social and policy problems largely arising from poverty and ignorance. I hope to apply these lessons to future work in health and medicine.