IME graduate students Whitney Fowler and Phil Rauscher and IME undergraduate student Claire Liu were recently named recipients of the 2018 National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP).
The program recruits high-potential, early-career scientists and engineers and supports their graduate research training in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. Launched in 1952 shortly after Congress established NSF, GRFP represents the nation's oldest continuous investment in the U.S. STEM workforce. For the 2018 competition, NSF received over 12,000 applications, and made 2,000 award offers.
Whitney Fowler received her B.E. in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering from Vanderbilt University in Spring 2015. After working for a year for a non-profit organization, she came to the University of Chicago to work toward her Ph.D. in the Institute for Molecular Engineering. She returned to academia wanting to do research directed toward real-world applications and problems, specifically that of the global clean water crisis. Under the co-advisement of Prof. Matthew Tirrell and Prof. Juan de Pablo, Whitney is currently working on designing materials to selectively isolate and recycle phosphate from aqueous solutions, utilizing both experimental and computational techniques.
Phil Rauscher grew up outside of Boston, MA and received his bachelor's degree in Physics from Emory University in 2013, where he investigated the physical aging of nano-confined polymer glasses in the presence of rubbery interfaces. He then spent several years as a consultant in the Cloud Services group at IBM. He joined IME as a graduate student in 2016 and is now co-advised by Professors Stuart Rowan and Juan de Pablo. Phil's research focuses on simulation and physical characterization of polyrotaxanes.
Claire Liu is a fourth-year undergraduate student in Professor Paul Nealey's group, double majoring in molecular engineering and chemistry. She serves as a co-President of Benzene, UChicago's undergraduate chemistry society, and also has a deep appreciation for 19th century Italian opera, having studied Verdi's Aida under Maestro Riccardo Muti in Ravenna, Italy. After graduation, she will be pursuing her graduate degree in Chemical Engineering under Professor John Rogers at Northwestern University.