Four ChemE students among 2020 Husky 100
May 4, 2020
Two undergraduates and two graduate students in ChemE have been selected for the 2020 Husky 100 cohort.
The Husky 100 recognizes students from across all three UW campuses who connect their experiences in and out of the classroom, engage with their communities, work to become leaders, and embrace innovation and creativity in the face of challenges.
Representing ChemE in the 2020 Husky 100 are:
- Sarah Alamdari
- Andrea Joseph
- Hugo Ferreira Pontes
- Georges Motchoffo Simo
Sarah is a 4th year PhD student in ChemE, conducting research at the intersection of data science and molecular science in professor Jim Pfaendtner’s group. An NSF Graduate Research Fellow, she uses computer simulations to study the structure, dynamics, and reactivity of biomolecules at interfaces or in extreme environments. Sarah’s work leveraging the university’s supercomputer Hyak was recently highlighted by UW IT, and her March 2020 paper investigating fouling mechanisms of medical implants was featured on the cover of the journal Molecular Systems Design & Engineering.
Outside of the lab, Sarah dedicates her time to outreach activities aimed at increasing diversity and access in STEM. One of her more meaningful experiences has been working with underserved communities through the afterschool program Techbridge; in 2018, Sarah was recognized as one of their standout mentors. She has also served as president of the UW Research Computing Club, using the platform to increase opportunities for undergraduate involvement and to develop outreach activities around virtual reality, supercomputing, and data science. After earning her PhD, she hopes to continue her academic career at an R1 university.
Andrea is a 4th year PhD student in professor Elizabeth Nance’s lab, where she works on the delivery of nanotherapeutics for treating brain disease. She has emerged as a leader not only in the lab group, having mentored undergraduate and high school students, but also in student organizations.
Andrea empowered women in the field as Vice President of Women in Chemical Engineering and revamped ChemE student recruitment as President of the Association of Chemical Engineering (ACES) graduate students. Recently, she’s taken a role on the Faculty Council on Women in Academia to provide a graduate student voice for women's issues — increased transparency with promotion and hiring, renewed focus on sexual harassment prevention, and the construction of wellness rooms in new buildings — at the university level. She has authored multiple peer-reviewed papers, presented at international conferences, and received an NIH F31 research fellowship.
“[Andrea] does not limit her efforts to just things she knows or has previously had experience with — she’s fearless,” says professor Nance. “She takes on roles where there is nuance, uncertainty, responsibility and accountability.“
Hugo Ferreira Pontes
A senior in ChemE, Hugo has distinguished himself in both research and service. Since joining professor Elizabeth Nance’s lab in February 2018, he has studied polymer nanoparticle interaction with the blood-brain barrier, and multiple particle tracking as a tool for understanding extracellular matrix structure in the brain. Hugo has received a CoMotion Fellowship and the Washington Research Foundation Fellowship (twice). He represented the state of Washington at the Posters on the Hill event in Washington, DC, where he presented research to members of Congress. (Read more about his experience here.)
Hugo’s interest in medicine has led him to service projects, as well. He worked with professor Lilo Pozzo to install small-scale solar power systems in rural Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria so that residents could power their medical devices and refrigerate medications. He has also volunteered at the Gay Men’s Health Collective in the Berkeley Free Clinic in California.
In the fall, Hugo will pursue a PhD through the NIH Oxford-Cambridge Scholars program in biomedical sciences. He’ll spend two years at NIH and two years at Oxford or Cambridge in the UK, performing self-directed research.
Georges Motchoffo Simo
Georges, a senior double major in ChemE and biochemistry, is an accomplished undergraduate researcher who is using his chemical engineering training to propel him into a career in medicine. Georges joined professor Elizabeth Nance’s lab at the start of his junior year, conducting research on nanoparticle transport and toxicity in the brain. He has presented at a national conference and was selected to participate in the Future Leaders in Chemical Engineering research symposium at NC State. He has received a Mary Gates Research Scholarship, the Class of 1954 Scholarship, and the Spence Scholarship. He currently serves as the UW AIChE chapter president.
Upon graduation, Georges will participate in the summer INSIGHT Pediatric Injury Prevention Training program at Harborview, followed by the two-year Cell Therapy Rotational Program at Celgene. Following that, he plans to apply to MD/PhD programs with the goal of practicing neurosurgery, researching drug delivery to tumors, and working with Doctors without Borders.