I spent my childhood between El Paso and Sugar Land (both in Texas). During this time, I was exposed to many diverse backgrounds and ideas. I became involved in marching band, environmental advocacy, programming competitions, academic decathlon, salsa dancing, and philosophy groups. This experience led me to attend The University of Texas at Austin (UT) with its strong chemistry and chemical engineering programs, and great personal growth opportunities.
In college, I focused on mastering course material, conducting environmental research, and expanding my broader understanding of the world. Along with the required chemical engineering curriculum, I took extra classes in chemistry kinetics, environmental engineering, and large process data analysis. During summer 2014, I studied the effect of a recent EPA regulation (NSPS Ja) on the refinery flare system at the Flint Hills Corpus Christi refinery. Research during undergrad involved two experimental projects. During fall 2013, I helped develop a technique to immobilize enzymes in self-assembled capsules. Another four semesters and a summer were devoted to looking at carcinogen formation in amine based carbon capture, which turned into my honor’s thesis (available here). From 2011-2013, I worked as a resident assistant to gain experience mentoring students and to help them navigate successfully through life. I spent half my senior year at National University of Singapore to further broaden exposure to various ideas, behaviors, and values.
I decided to obtain a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from MIT because I found that I really enjoyed research from undergrad and MIT offered many opportunities for both research and personal exploration. My project (started February 2015) relates automatic generation of reaction networks to atmospheric organic oxidation. I hope to improve the tools that atmospheric scientists can use to understand experimental chamber experiments while contributing to the broader knowledge of literature. This project will also give me an opportunity to expand my experimental undergrad base with computational and programming expertise. In addition to research, classes, and the many other required hoops of a Ph.D. program, I hope to expose myself to how research interacts with public policy, industrial R&D environments, consulting, and entrepreneurship to make an informed decision of where to go after my defense. (Last Updated April 2015)