Texas ChE is welcoming four incoming Ph.D. students to the department’s first-ever Summer Research Experience. The students will spend a total of eight weeks between two actively recruiting chemical engineering labs, rotating once after the first four weeks.

“The SRE welcomes incoming students who may not have previously had the opportunity to work in a research lab,” said Nate Lynd, associate professor and graduate recruitment chair, “it gives them an immediate immersive experience into benchwork within our faculty’s existing labs.”

Chair and Professor Delia Milliron offers, "Our hope is that these research experiences serve as an effective on-ramp to the program by helping students identify what they want in a research group and advisor in the run-up to the research matching process in the fall semester." 

The inaugural cohort, all traveling into Austin ahead of their fall admission, shared what they’re most excited about.

2024 Texas ChE SRE Aaysh Bendre

2024 Texas ChESRE Collin Farrell


Hometown: Pune, India

Undergrad: Vishwakarma Institute of Technology

Master's: University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA


"Looking forward to gain research experience that can help me decide on my research topic for my Ph.D. program."


Hometown: Nashville, TN

Undergrad: University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN


"I am really most excited to get a chance to work in two of my top choice labs before classes start and get first-hand experience of their research and culture." 


2024 Texas ChE SRE Paola Mendez

2024 Texas ChE SRE Daniel Raser


Hometown: Mayagüez, Puerto Rico

Undergrad: University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez


"This summer I look forward to getting to know the city of Austin, my cohort, and the ChE labs at UT. Hook em!!"


Hometown: Mountain Lakes, NJ

Undergrad: Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ


"I want to use this opportunity to expose myself to research at UT and potential advisors. I am excited to do this before classes start so I can immerse myself fully in research." 


Seven labs are participating in the rotation. Milliron’s group offers an opportunity for incoming researchers to experience nanomaterials chemistry first-hand and, “to learn strategies for crafting experiments that can teach us something new about what governs properties like the ability to store energy in a battery or to concentrate light for optical switching.” In the Lynd Laboratory students will focus on materials design and efforts that create and utilize new functional and reactive polyether materials and block polymers. Other participating labs are The Belardi Lab whose interdisciplinary researchers aim to better diagnose and treat disease, Rosales Research Group who engineers biomimetic and polymeric materials for applications in human health, and Truskett Research Group who look at self-assembly at the nanoscale, dynamics of confined liquids, and structural arrest of complex fluids.

Assistant Professor Kent Zheng who joined the department in 2023 said, "When I was a graduate student, summer was always the most productive period when I could be laser-focused on research projects. My team is looking forward to welcoming new graduate students to experience exciting original research that could advance sustainable electrochemical energy storage technology."

We’ll catch up with all of them after their summer experience in our “Expectation vs. Reality” follow-up.