Graduate Students

Lauren Clarke

Graduate Student, ChemE
lclarke@mit.edu

Lauren received her B.S. and M.S., both in Chemical Engineering, from the University of North Dakota in 2016 and 2018, respectively. Her master’s research was performed under Dr. Gautham Krishnamoorthy, where she focused on improving the performance of the CFD code MFiX by incorporating high-performance preconditioners and solvers. She was also a four-year member of the Division-I Women’s Volleyball team, and was selected to the CoSIDA Academic All-America third-team. Lauren is currently studying the effects of electrode design on the performance of CO2 electrolysis systems.

Alexis (AJ) Fenton

Graduate Student, ChemE
afenton@mit.edu
CV | LinkedIn

Before working in the Brushett group, AJ received his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Rice University (2016). During his undergraduate career, he participated in two REUs at Rutgers University and University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). At Rutgers, he conducted Monte Carlo simulations of water adsorption onto graphene and carbon nanotubes. While he was at UAB, AJ studied vanadium (V) anodes for solid oxide fuel cells. This work at UAB inspired him to conduct renewable energy research in graduate school. AJ is currently studying the behavior of active species in both aqueous and nonaqueous flow batteries.

Weiran (Sasha) Gao

Graduate Student, ChemE
wgao2@mit.edu

Sasha received her B.S. in Chemical engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in 2017, and her M.S. in Chemical engineering from WPI in 2018. For both her undergraduate and Master’s theses, she researched in the lab of Professor Ron Grimm at WPI focusing on the surface chemistry of perovskite materials. She enjoys playing piano, skiing, snowboarding and cooking. Her current research focuses on the development of convection enhanced electrochemical energy storage.

Katharine Greco

Graduate Student, ChemE
kvgreco@mit.edu
LinkedIn

Katharine received her B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2016. As an undergraduate, Katharine worked with Paul Dauenhaur to investigate substrates for biomass pyrolysis. She also participated in Research Experience for Undergraduates (REUs) at UConn (2014), where she studied atomic layer deposition for solar energy applications in Brian Willis’s group, and MIT (2015), where she synthesized and characterized core/shell nanoparticles in the Will Tisdale lab. For her honors thesis, Katharine used molecular dynamics simulations to study hydrogen fuel cell membranes in Scott Auerbach’s group. In the Brushett group, Katharine is currently studying transport in flow battery electrodes. She is supported by a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.

McLain Leonard

Graduate Student, ChemE
mclainl@mit.edu
CV | LinkedIn
McLain received his B.S. in Chemical Engineering and Minor in Economics from Montana State University in 2015. He enjoys hiking, snowboarding, rock climbing, music, and travel. His undergraduate research focused on the high-temperature corrosion of metallic solid oxide fuel cell interconnect materials and developing thin film coatings to improve their durability. He gained industrial experience through internships at The Boeing Company and IM Flash Technologies, LLC. He is currently working on catalyst development for carbon dioxide electrolysis.

 

 

Bertrand Neyhouse

Graduate Student, ChemE
neyhouse@mit.edu
LinkedIn
Bertrand received his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio in 2018. He spent three years working in the Center for Electrochemical Engineering Research (CEER) under the direction of Dr. Gerardine Botte and studied a variety of electrochemical wastewater treatment methods including ammonia and urea electrolysis. In addition to his work at CEER, he spent a year working under Dr. Travis White evaluating homogeneous rhenium electrocatalysts for CO2 reduction. Following graduation, Bertrand worked as a DOE SULI intern at Idaho National Laboratory, studying the electrochemical recovery of metals from electronics under Dr. Tedd Lister and Dr. Luis Diaz. In the Brushett group, Bertrand will be pursuing research in nonaqueous active materials and membranes for redox flow batteries. He is supported by a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.

Michael Orella

Graduate Student, ChemE
morella@mit.edu
CVLinkedIn
Michael received his B.ChE. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Delaware in 2014. As an undergraduate, he researched in the lab of Professor Dion Vlachos as a part of the Catalysis Center for Energy Innovation, one of the DOE Energy Frontier Research Centers. The topic of his honors senior thesis was the characterization of humins, unknown side products formed in the conversion of simple sugars derived from cellulose to 5-hydroxymethylfurfural. In addition to his work with the Vlachos group, Michael led the final trip to Cameroon for the University of Delaware chapter of Engineers Without Borders to aid in providing communities access to potable water sources.  As a co-advised student with the Brushett and Román groups at MIT, Michael’s research interests lie in electrocatalytic systems that can be used for upgrading of lignocellulosic biomass.
 
 

Kara Rodby

Graduate Student, ChemE
krodby@mit.edu

 

Kara received her B.S. in Environmental Engineering from Northwestern University in 2017. Kara’s undergraduate thesis at Northwestern focused on microbial uptake of mercury in aquatic systems. Her hobbies include fitness, running, and reality TV. Her research focus includes the study of financially attractive redox chemistries for application to flow and semi-flow energy storage systems and their economic assessment.

Kevin M. Tenny

Graduate Student, ChemE
kmtenny@mit.edu
LinkedIn

 

Kevin received his B.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Kansas in 2017. As an undergraduate, he worked in the fields of biochemistry, tissue engineering, materials science, and electrochemistry. He enjoys reading, playing piano, and the outdoors. Kevin is co-advised by Professor Yet-Ming Chiang (DMSE) and is working on improving sulfur-iodide flow battery performance. He is supported by a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.

Charles Tai-Chieh Wan

Graduate Student, ChemE
ctwan@mit.edu
LinkedIn

 

Charles received his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Cornell University (2017).  His research in Prof. Lynden Archer’s group at Cornell focused on stabilizing the interphases of the lithium-oxygen battery for enhanced cycling and capacity. In addition to his work in the Archer group, he interned at ExxonMobil’s Research and Engineering Company in the Catalyst Technology Division, studying the role of catalyst extrudate geometry on performance.  He has also conducted research in Prof. McCloskey’s lab as a summer 2015 U.C. Berkeley Amgen Scholar, investigating the impact of lithium nitrate in N,N-dimethylacetamide as an electrolyte in lithium-oxygen batteries. Co-advised by Prof. Brushett and Prof. Yet-Ming Chiang, Charles is currently pursuing a long-duration sulfur-iodine redox flow battery as a platform for integrating renewable energy sources. He is supported by a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.