The Carnegie Mellon Chemical Engineering department recently held its 6th Annual John Berg Undergraduate Research Symposium Poster Session. The event invited undergraduates who had conducted research during the 2020-2021 academic year or the 2021 Summer semester to present a poster on their work.
Participants gained the experience of explaining their research to a panel of judges, made up of Chemical Engineering graduate students, who selected Ketong Chen and Benjamin Pavlat as the symposium’s winners. Along with earning the designation of Berg Scholars, the department will provide travel and conference expenses for Chen and Pavlat to attend the AIChE Annual Student Conference in Boston on November 5-8, where they will have the opportunity to participate in the conference’s Undergraduate Student Poster Competition.
Interested in Machine Learning, Ketong Chen joined Assistant Professor Zachary Ulissi’s research group as a freshman. Her poster details the work behind the Open Catalyst Project, a research collaboration between Ulissi’s group and Facebook Artificial Intelligence Research, that is using artificial intelligence to accelerate the discovery of new catalysts for use in renewable energy storage.
“I cherish my opportunity to work with Professor Ulissi, and the experience I’ve gained has been crucial to my growth as a researcher,” said Chen.
“The Berg Symposium is a great opportunity for student researchers to come together and share their results. During the symposium, I saw many brilliant posters and got the chance to hear about all the hard work that went into my fellow classmates’ research.”
“It’s an honor to be named as one of the Berg Scholars and am excited about the amazing opportunity to represent CMU at the AIChE conference in Boston.”
Upon graduation, Chen plans to pursue a Machine-Learning related master’s degree.
After joining Chevron Professor Robert Tilton’s group, Benjamin Pavlat began working with Ph.D. student Angela Yang on her research “Numerical Simulation of Diffusiophoresis in a Microfluidic Flow Cell.” The project looks to understand how different concentration gradients of salt interact and move colloids within a solution. Pavlat worked to help model and simulate the interactions, providing vital information to Yang’s project.
“Over the summer it was just me, Angela and Professor Tilton, so I wasn’t on a team of interns and just handed busy work to do, I had the opportunity to gain hands on experience and really contribute to the research,” said Pavlat.
“It’s really amazing that undergraduate students are given such great research opportunities at Carnegie Mellon. Conducting research is a lot different than doing work for class. [It’s] really open-ended, so you learn how to investigate and design good experiments.”
Pavlat is enrolled in a fifth-year master’s program in CMU’s Chemical Engineering department and will pursue a career in pharmaceutical or materials manufacturing following graduation.