Undergraduate Research Program

2019 MEMC Students


Megan Bui

Institution: Bellevue College
Faculty Mentor: Scott Dunham, Electrical Engineering

Megan Bui is a rising junior transferring into the Electrical and Computer Engineering department at the University of Washington in Fall of 2019. At UW, Megan plans to pursue a dual concentration in Sustainable Power Systems and Power Electronics and Drive. During the academic year, Megan is a Department of Energy Intern at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. She works with the Power Systems and Electricity Infrastructure Team to make America’s Power Grid more reliable and resilient. Specifically, Megan has contributed technical and research work on grid software like MCOR (Microgrid Component Optimization for Resiliency; a microgrid sizing tool) and GridPIQ (a grid project impact quantifier). Currently, Megan is an REU MEM-C student mentored by Dr. Scott Dunham and graduate student David Sommer. She is tasked with developing and using a convolutional neural network to analyze crystal lattice structures of perovskites and determine the total energy of the atomic configuration. This research would be a proof of concept for a solution to the Density Functional Theorem and the Many-Body Schrödinger equation as well as add to the growing body of material science research on characterization using machine learning. Megan’s purpose is to implement the clean future of tomorrow. She plans to build and popularize fuel efficiency and integrate renewable energy into the power grid of major cities. As a child, Megan spent her childhood imagining the future; as an electrical engineer, she will create it.

Kaitlyn Fong

Institution: Carnegie Mellon University
Faculty Mentor: Kai-Me Fu, Electrical & Computer Engineering

Kaitlyn is a rising junior at Carnegie Mellon University studying physics and visual arts. This summer, she is working with professor Kai-Mei Fu to investigate defects within Zinc Oxide Nanosheets using photoluminescence. This process could lead to a faster alternative method in locating these defects enabling researchers to further examine defect characteristics. Kaitlyn is passionate about experimental physics and exploring theoretical work within the physical world. Outside of lab, Kaitlyn enjoys video production, sketching, climbing, and running. In the future she hopes to work within industry and merge her two passions between the sciences and the arts.

Alejandro Franco

Institution: Lee College
Faculty Mentor: Vincent Holmberg, Chemical Engineering

Alejandro Franco is a rather sociable person that enjoys meeting new people and getting to know them.  He enjoys making connections with individuals and traveling with the hopes of seeing and experiencing new adventures. Alejandro enjoys the challenges of conducting research, of encountering problems that may arise from experiments and attempting to understand the results and data presented by experiments.  He currently aspires to pursue graduate school but is uncertain of what he would like to pursue specifically and hopes that this internship at UW will set him down a path that he was not even aware may be an interest of his.

Chantalle Krajewska

Institution: University College London
Faculty Mentor: Daniel Gamelin, Chemistry

Chantalle is a rising senior at University College London, pursuing an integrated Master’s in Inorganic/Materials Chemistry and Atomic Physics. She is currently involved in research regarding highly luminescent perovskite nanocrystals with strong potential for future use in photovoltaics, and is specifically targeting the question whether lead‐free perovskites can compete with the lead‐based analogues in terms of luminescence and hence power conversion efficiency. She hopes to potentially continue this route during graduate school.

Sawyer Lichon

Institution: Pacific Lutheran University
Faculty Mentor: David Cobden, Physics

Sawyer is a rising junior at Pacific Lutheran University studying physics and has an Associate of Science degree from Tacoma Community College.  This summer he is working in Dr. David Cobden’s Nanoscale Physics lab to study interactions of atomically thin layers of materials and the properties they exhibit while in the presence of a potential difference.  While at Tacoma Community College, he conducted independent astrophysics research on binary star systems, and presented a poster presentation of his work at the 233rd meeting of the American Astronomical Society and the 2019 UW undergraduate research symposium.  Sawyer fired howitzers in the active army for six years and worked in communications for the Washington Army National Guard for three years, for a combined time in service of nine years.  In his free time, Sawyer enjoys photography, mountain climbing, dirt biking, rebuilding motorcycles, boating, philosophy, and spending time with his wife and 3-year-old daughter.  Sawyer intends on pursing a doctorate in Theoretical Physics and science communication.

Christopher Mechling

Institution: Bellevue College
Faculty Mentor: Daniel Gamelin, Chemistry

Chris is a rising junior at Bellevue College studying for chemical engineering. Before attending college he served eight years as an infantryman in the army. This summer he’s working with the Gamelin research group at the University of Washington exploring ways to utilize plasmonic nanoparticles. Chris hopes to pursue a career in the aerospace industry working to develop new materials.  In his free time, Chris enjoys reading, travelling, and playing with small dogs.

Emmanuel Valencia

Institution: Whatcom Community College
Faculty Mentor: Scott Dunham, Electrical Engineering

Emmanuel recently graduated from Whatcom Community College and is currently a junior at the University of Arizona majoring in mechanical engineering. Emmanuel grew an interest in materials in the summer of 2018 when he participated in a research experience working for Western Washington’s chemistry department and the Advanced Material Science and Engineering Center (AMSEC). There Emmanuel helped develop a cleaner method of desulfurizing diesel and learned that he could contribute with the skills he has learned in the classroom. He is now working with Dr. Scott Dunham doing material characterization in samples that could be potentially be used in improving photovoltaic cells. With his education, Emmanuel hopes to continue to contribute to cleaner energies and materials. Before pursuing higher education, he served six years in the US Navy as naval air crewman.  Emmanuel states he is a “proud a first generation student, as well as, a first generation sailor”. Outside the realm of academia, Emmanuel really enjoys learning and experiences related to improving health and fitness and overall wellness.