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Engineering | Grand Challenge Scholars Program (GCSP)

Meet the Spring 2018 Graduating Class of the Grand Challenge Scholars Program

Interested in learning more about GCSP? Click on each name to learn more about each Scholar, how they completed the various components and requirements of the program, and what being a Grand Challenge Scholar means to them!

Ji Sue Han

Major: Chemical Engineering

Theme: Health

“The purpose of the proposed (Flexible Load System) research is to improve the current models of the tactile sensor by experimenting on the conductive materials and collecting as much data as possible to interpret the data to set a basis for further experiments. By looking into both conductive foam, electrochemical alternatives encapsulated in an insulator, other possible alternatives, the experiment will allow for making a decision on the most sensitive conductor”

To see Sue’s accomplishments in the program please view her GCSP portfolio here.

Nathaniel Shantz

Major: Software Engineering

Theme: Tools of Scientific Discovery

“…It is because of these experiences that, while incredibly difficult at times, I can honestly say I loved this program. It was incredibly valuable to me and gave me memories I will always cherish. If I could do it all over and only participate in one program for fun, it would definitely be this program.”

To see Nathaniel’s accomplishments in the program please view his GCSP portfolio here.

Kiana Ghazouli

Major: Computer Science

Theme: Education

“The Grand Challenge Scholars program helped me develop my interests and skill sets in an interdisciplinary way that most engineering students do not get. It helped me make connections with faculty at ASU and push myself out of my comfort zone. My experience has also increased my technical knowledge, leadership, and confidence. I look forward to working on the Grand Challenges throughout the course of my career.”

To see Kiana’s accomplishments in the program please view her GCSP portfolio here.

Kathie Lundberg

Major: Electrical Engineering

Theme: Tools of Scientific Discovery

“The service learning component provided me with practical experience working as an engineer in a project-based environment. In my first project–AZ Small Dog Rescue–I learned about the importance of communication and time-management in getting a project completed on time. In my second project–Clark Park Bark Park–I learned about the importance of obtaining feedback from the end users in order to efficiently improve a design.”

Katelyn Schroll

Major: Human Systems Engineering

Theme: Health

“I have gotten involved in a lot of health related research at ASU including working in a fall risk prevention lab as part of a Research Experience for Undergrads (REU) my sophomore year. I also had the chance to work with Dr. Nancy Cooke and Dr. Erin Chiou on a FURI project in the Spring of 2017. For my FURI project I conducted a literature analysis in which from it created a healthcare framework for women in the military specifically identifying gaps within mental and reproductive healthcare.”

Jorge Roldan

Major: Computer Science

Theme: Education

“The experience was a great opportunity to actually work through the engineering design process with a team full of other engineers. It was also a good introduction to what the professional world will be like since we had a client we had to communicate with and various deadlines. I learned the importance of communicating clearly with the client in order to understand their vision so our design can satisfy their needs and constraints.”

To see Jorge’s accomplishments in the program please view his GCSP portfolio here.

Ethan Marschall

Major: Biomedical Engineering

Theme: Health

“An interesting paradigm shift took hold of me through the program, which is that everything is much more connected and transferrable than I would have expected.”

To see Ethan’s accomplishments in the program please view his GCSP portfolio here.

Amanda Thart

Major: Electrical Engineering

Theme: Security

“One of my favorite things about GCSP, is how the program encourages students to get involved with research early. I came to college know that I wanted to get involved with research, so when I found an interesting security-related computer science project, I was quick to get a position in the lab. This research experience gave me an opportunity to learn skills that I would not gain from my classes. It also gave me insight in what work in that field would look like.”

To see Amanda’s accomplishments in the program please view her GCSP portfolio here.

Framarz Alam

Major: Biomedical Engineering

Theme: Health

“In my research experience, I participated in the Fulton Undergraduate Research Initiative to pursue a project under the guidance of Dr. Barbara Smith to develop a portable and affordable ultrasound probe for cardiovascular applications to help diagnose heart disease in the developing world where certain parts are quickly adopting a sedentary lifestyle with a diet high in processed fats.”

Alyssa Nazareno

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Theme: Energy

“I am grateful to all of the people involved in supporting me to be a Grand Challenge Scholar. This opportunity has helped me grow as an engineer as well as a considerate and hard-working person. Reflecting on my experiences, I have seen improvement on my attitudes and approaches when facing new problems, and I look forward to continuous development as I gain experience in the Energy field.”

Akhila Murella

Major: Computer Science

Theme: Health

“GCSP has been a fantastic growing experience, both intellectually and socially. I have met some of my closest friends through the program who have simliar interests as me. The lessons I learned here are lessons I will continue to take with me throughout my career. ”

To see Akhila’s accomplishments in the program please view her GCSP portfolio here.

2017 GCSP Graduates

Saumya Gupta

Major: Chemical Engineering

Theme: Health

“Upon acceptance into the Grand Challenge Scholars Program, I knew I wanted to focus my efforts towards advancements in the medical industry. For this reason, my work in the Grand Challenge Scholars Program Theme was towards health.”

To see Saumya’s accomplishments in the program please view her GCSP portfolio here.

Kaleigh Johnson

Major: Chemical Engineering

Theme: Sustainability

“This program has been an amazing experience for me, as it has helped me to go beyond my engineering degree and become an extremely well-rounded, and well-qualified engineer. I have utilized the resources available to me through the program to gain funding for my research, secure scholarships, and travel to the U.K. to learn about Climate Change.”

To see Kaleigh’s accomplishments in the program please view her GCSP portfolio here.

Angel Armenta

Major: Chemical Engineering

Theme: Sustainability

“Through GCSP I gained experience in interdisciplinary studies involving sustainability in both geographical and social sciences, conducted research in providing desalination solutions for underdeveloped regions, gained understanding of the importance of geopolitics and its influence on climate, learned and practiced entrepreneurial skills to turn a sustainability idea into a full-fledged business, and participated in engineering service learning through the Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS) program at ASU.”

To see Angel’s accomplishments in the program please view her GCSP portfolio here.

Maria Jose Quezada Valladares

Major: Biomedical Engineering

Theme: TBA

“The Grand Challenge Scholar Program was an excellent way to put all my work into one place. Volunteering and doing outreach through the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, doing research in neurorehabilitation area, having a global, interdisciplinary and entrepreneurship mind set have all come together in this program.”

To see Maria’s accomplishments in the program please view her GCSP portfolio here.

Douglas Elson

Major: Biomedical Engineering

Theme: Energy

“GCSP taught me how to be not only a better engineer but a better person.”

To see Douglas’s accomplishments in the program please view her GCSP portfolio here.

Rebecca Mercer

Major: Biomedical Engineering

Theme: Sustainability

“The GCSP has allowed me to grow as a student and to learn how to creatively and critically solve problems. This program has given me a supportive community of people who are passionate about finding solutions to engineering challenges.”

To see Rebecca’s accomplishments in the program please view her GCSP portfolio here.

Courtney Van Bussum

Major: Biomedical Engineering

Theme: Health

“During my time as a Grand Challenge Scholar, I focused on the specific grand challenge theme of health, since it aligned closely with my interests in medicine.”

To see Courtney’s accomplishments in the program please view her GCSP portfolio here.

Dominic Podzemny

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Theme: Energy

“Energy is a facet of my everyday life, academics and hopefully future career. My degree concentration is in Energy and Environment as well as having a certificate in sustainability. I chose this path because I see environmental and energy concerns as a fundamental issue to overcome within the next generation.”

To see Dominic’s accomplishments in the program please view her GCSP portfolio here.

Shaun Wootten

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Theme: Health

“GCSP has enlightened me in what it means to be an engineer and how to find solutions to societal problems. I pursued the grand challenge theme of health with the challenge of engineering better medicines.”

To see Shaun’s accomplishments in the program please view her GCSP portfolio here.

Raquel Camarena

Major: Industrial Engineering

Theme: TBA

“The Grand Challenge Scholars Program has allowed me to study and research in different areas that I had never thought of if I was not in this program. I know in the future I want to positively impact individual’s lives whether it be through national security, personal health, cyber security, sustainability, or even through the development of technological advancements.”

To see Raquel’s accomplishments in the program please view her GCSP portfolio here.

Marisol Luna Aguero

Major: Industrial Engineering

Theme: Sustainability

“The Grand Challenge Scholars Program has provided me with opportunities to take my degree past the engineering mindset. It has challenged me to look at problems from social, political, and sustainable points of views. Through the program, I was encouraged to do research and join organizations that have become major parts of my undergraduate experience.”

To see Marisol’s accomplishments in the program please view her GCSP portfolio here.

2016 GCSP Graduates

Nicole Esquivel

Major: Computer Science

Theme: Securing cyberspace

Though Nicole entered her freshman year of college with minimal knowledge of computer science, she knew that she wanted to make the internet a safer place. “I have never completely trusted placing my private information on the Internet, but as technology advances, people need to be able to trust that putting their private information on cyberspace will be secure, people need to be able to trust that the technology defending their country and their way of life will not be compromised by people with the worst intentions.” She hopes to use the knowledge she has gained and her passion for the subject to make the online world a safer and better place.

Research Experience

Nicole participated in the Fulton Undergraduate Research Initiative (FURI) program where she worked under Dr. Ahn to evaluate the security and performance of the security features of a new web protocol, HTTP 2.0.

Interdisciplinary

STS 364: National Security & International Terrorism

FSE 194: Perspectives on Grand Challenges for Engineering

Entrepreneurship

MGT 290: My Life Venture

FSE 301: Entrepreneurship for Engineers

Global Dimension

POS 467: International Security and Conflict

STS 332: Global Issues in Science and Technology

Service Learning

Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS): Worked on the Whiffey project and the Boys & Girls in STEM project.

Karime Jocelyn Rosas Gomez

Major: Chemical Engineering

Theme: Health

As Karime ventured into her theme of health, she came to realize the grand challenges involving health and how interdisciplinary components–global economy, societal, and political issues–relate to current health problems. She challenged herself by joining Dr. Nikkah’s Tissue Engineering lab even though she did not have much of a background in biology. However, through research and dedication for the subject, she was able to learn all that she needed to in order to succeed.

Research Experience

Karime worked in Dr. Nikkah’s Tissue Engineering lab and focused on working towards designing a bioreactor for cardiac cell stimulation.

Interdisciplinary

FSE 194: Perspectives on Grand Challenges for Engineering

ASB 462: Medical Anthropology: Culture & Health

Entrepreneurship

FSE 301: Entrepreneurship for Engineers

IEE 220: Business & Industrial Engineering

Global Dimension

GPH 314: Global Change

ASB 100: Introduction to Global Health

Service Learning

Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS): Worked on the Kenya Roof project

Project C.U.R.E.

Emily Herring

emilyherringMajor: Biomedical Engineering

Theme: Health

As Emily witnessed her grandmother afflicted by dementia, she knew that she needed to pursue a career in healthcare to ensure that no one would have to go through what her grandmother did. This passion led to her interest in Biomedical Engineering. She quickly found that the biomedical field was applicable in various interdisciplinary contexts and real-world issues. She conducted research focusing on the grand challenges of reverse-engineering the brain and advancing personalized learning, and founded the startup Adaptive Designs LLC.

Research Experience

Emily worked in Dr. Jennie Si’s lab where she investigated how high order cognitive functions take place in a rat’s cortical neural network for performing tasks, such as driving, that require attention and control at the same time.

Interdisciplinary

FSE 194: Perspectives on Grand Challenges for Engineering

SOC 334: Technology & Society

Entrepreneurship

FSE 301: Entrepreneurship for Engineers

Edson Student Entrepreneur Initiative: Adaptive Designs

Global Dimension

COM 263: Elements of Intercultural Communication

GPH 314: Global Change

Service Learning

E2 Camp Counselor

Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS): Worked on the Scottsdale Training and Rehabilitation Service (STARS) project.

Morgan Kelley

Major: Chemical Engineering

Theme: Sustainability

“Participating in the Grand Challenges program has given me perspective on many of the scientific developments in the world. It has allowed me a lens through which I can view the bigger picture.” Throughout her college experience, Morgan has developed her passions and become more educated in the broader aspects of engineering. She pursued a theme of sustainability because she aspires to make the needs of the present attainable without compromising the needs of the future. She not only learned how to be a sustainable citizen of the world, but she also learned how to practice sustainability in her professional life and future career. Her work involving complex sustainability problems and her research and intern experience have prepared her to live a life as a responsible and sustainable engineer.

Research Experience

Morgan focused on the uptake and release of surfactants into and from ionic microgel networks.The removal of surfactants not only reduces waste in an oil spill but also protects fish and other aquatic animals from chemical damage. Microgels also have other applications in oil-retention as well as removal of heavy metals and other toxins from water.

Interdisciplinary

FSE 194: Perspectives on Grand Challenges for Engineering

POS 394: Introduction to Science & Technology Policy

Entrepreneurship

FSE 301: Entrepreneurship for Engineers

Dell Social Innovation Challenge

Global Dimension

GPH 314: Global Change

GPH 210: Society & Environment

Service Learning

Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS): Worked on the Fiji Lights project.

Julia King

Major: Chemical Engineering

Theme: Sustainability

It is easy to get lost in the minor details of obtaining an engineering degree and consequentially lose sight of the bigger picture. For Julia, engineering is nothing if you do not apply your skills and knowledge to benefit society. Julia has always had a passion for the subject of providing access to clean water, so it only made sense for her to pursue a theme in sustainability. She believes that there is much work to be done in the field of energy efficiency and water conservation. After involving herself in research throughout her college experience, she plans on continuing to research and find solutions to the world’s sustainability problems. “I love research and believe that taking an active stance on your personal learning is one of the most proactive ways to further collective human knowledge with the idea that with more knowledge humankind can work on creating a more sustainable world.”

Research Experience

Julia worked with Dr. Mary Laura Lind on the production of a reverse osmosis molecular sieve inclusion mixed matrix membrane for potable water recovery.

Interdisciplinary 

FSE 194: Perspectives on Grand Challenges of Engineering

PUP 301: Introduction to Urban Planning

Entrepreneurship

FSE 301: Entrepreneurship for Engineers

IEE 220: Business & Industrial Engineering

Global Dimension

GPH 210: Society & Environment

GPH 314: Global Change

Service Learning

Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS): Worked on the House of Refugee project and Kenyan Mango Peeler project

Hara Kumar

harakumarMajor: Mechanical Engineering Management

Theme: Energy

From a young age, Hara realized the importance of energy in our lives and the importance of conserving our energy consumption. He took to living a life dedicated to conserving energy as he recognizes that working to conserve your personal energy consumption is the single most important that an individual can positively benefit the environment. He chose a major in Engineering Management because he “reasoned that being able to influence policy decisions and affect standards would be the best way to maximize [his] contribution to any field.”

Research Experience

Hara participated in the Fulton Undergraduate Research Initiative (FURI) program where he worked with Energize Phoenix.

Interdisciplinary

FSE 194: Perspective of the Grand Challenges of Engineering

European Eurasian Energy Policy: study abroad in Finland

Entrepreneurship

Demola: study abroad in Finland

FSE 301: Entrepreneurship for Engineers

Global Dimension

Interacting Interculturally: study abroad in Finland

Global Risk & Environmental Security: study abroad in Finland

Service Learning

Engineers without Borders: Worked as the Shonto Program Manager where he prioritized and formalized infrasturcutre projects into a partnership between the Shonto capter of the Navajo nation and the SU chapter of Engineers without Borders.

Sami Mian

Major: Computer Systems Engineering

Theme: Energy

Sami entered the Grand Challenge Scholars conflicted between two themes, security and energy, and ultimately chose to focus on energy. He came to realize that a major need in computer engineering is improving efficiency by using less energy. By learning to conserve energy, we can also conserve our resources. As our society becomes more dependent on electronic devices and computers, the need to conserve energy is more important than ever. He recognizes the problems arising with fossil fuels, pollution, and diminishing resources and plans to “help lower the requirements and usage of energy, as well as help encourage research into cleaner energy sources.”

Research Experience

Sami participated in the Fulton Undergraduate Research Initiative (FURI) program where he worked with Dr. Martin Reisslein and his Wireless Video Sensor Network Project Group (WVSNP). He focused on developing and testing a way to transmit high-bandwidth data over large distances using a low-powered solution.

Interdisciplinary

FSE 150: Grand Challenges for Engineering

SOC 334: Society & Technology

Entrepreneurship

FSE 301: Entrepreneurship & Value Creation

Changemaker Innovation Challenge

Global Dimension

COM 263: Elements of Intercultural Communications

Sustainability & Development: study abroad in China

Service Learning

Fulton Ambassadors: Representative of the Fulton School for incoming students

Arizona First Lego League tournaments: Judged and organized the tournaments both at ASU and in the community.

Tony Nguyen

Major: Chemical Engineering

Theme: Sustainability

When Tony became aware of his Vietnamese culture, the poor health its citizens are in and the contaminated water supply, he knew that he needed to use his knowledge in engineering to improve the area’s conditions. He chose a theme in sustainability because he plans to conserve today’s resources for our use and needs in the future. Tony recognizes that engineers are real heroes as engineers have the resources, skills, and knowledge to improve the world. By taking courses focused on interdisciplinary aspects of engineering, he gained a broader knowledge of the world and its numerous problems and how these broad aspects relate to his central goal of sustainability. For Tony, a quote that exemplifies his engineering and college experience is one from Albert Einstein: “We can’t expect to solve a problem using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”

Research Experience

Tony volunteered in Dr. Mary Laura Lind’s lab where he worked on the development of mixed matrix membranes.

Interdisciplinary

FSE 194: Perspectives on Grand Challenges of Engineering

POS 394: Introduction to Science & Technology Policy

Entrepreneurship

FSE 301: Entrepreneurship for Engineers

IEE 220: Business & Industrial Engineering

Global Dimension

STS 332: Global Issues in Science & Technology

COM 263: Elements of Intercultural Communication

Service Learning

Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS): Worked on the House of Refugee project

Fulton Ambassadors: Representative of the Fulton School for incoming students, and served as the Recruitment Director.

Dallas Sigrist

Self PictureMajor: Chemical Engineering

Theme: Security

Dallas’ interest in surveillance systems, weapons, and aircraft prompted him to pursue a theme in security. Though he had an interest in other themes–including health, energy, and sustainability–security seemed most logical and applicable to his passions and major in Chemical Engineering. The Grand Challenge Scholars Program allowed him to have a more interdisciplinary academic experience. He learned about various business principles and intellectual property in his entrepreneurship courses, and he learned about how security relates to wars in his global courses.

Research Experience

Dallas worked in Dr. Jeremy Lin’s lab, focusing on the investigation of the diffusion rates of hexane through a specific Zeolitic Imidazolate Framework, ZIF-68. In short, this project works towards removing toxic organic vapors in the case of a chemical warfare.

Interdisciplinary 

FSE 194: Perspectives on Grand Challenges for Engineering

PHI 320/BIO 312: Bioethics

Entrepreneurship

FSE 301: Entrepreneurship for Engineers

IEE 220: Business & Industrial Engineering

Global Dimension

POS 467: International Security & Conflict

STS 332: Global Issues in Science & Technology

Service Learning

Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS): Created an organization called Students Encouraging Returning Veterans in Education (SERVE), then joined a project called Keeping Phoenix Beautiful (KPB).

Swetha Swaminathan

Major: Biomedical Engineering

Theme: Health

To Swetha, “the perfect engineer is just like the perfect Starbucks drink: a creative problem-solver who is capable of working tirelessly to ensure success.” As a biomedical engineer, it seemed only fiiting for Swetha to choose a theme in health. Her desire to improve healthcare for the world encouraged her to search for ways she could increase her knowledge and experience to enable her to do just that. An interest in cancer research, drug delivery systems, and autoimmune diseases drove her to research the grand challenge of engineering better medicines. Her research and experience opened her eyes to the everyday applications of biomedical engineering, and she hopes to work to integrate the study of biomedical engineering into elementary education. “I was eager to learn how I could do my part, and this program truly showed me how biomedical engineering was the segway to success, a way to inspire others while continually inspiring myself.”

Research Experience

Swetha aligned her research experience with her Honors thesis and focused on the themes of health and education in a project entitled Build-a-Hero: Enhancing Biomedical Engineering as a Socially Relevant Discipline. This is a weeklong after-school experience for elementary-aged students where they will learn about and understand biomedical engineering through hands-on activities.

Interdisciplinary 

FSE 194: Perspectives for Grand Challenges on Engineering

ASB 462: Medical Anthropology: Culture & Health

Entrepreneurship

FSE 301: Entrepreneurship & Value Creation

MGT 290: My Life Venture

Global Dimension

MIC 314: HIV/AIDS: Science, Behavior, & Society

Visualization & Simulation study abroad program: Tokyo, Japan

Service Learning

ASU PreK-12 internship program: This internship involved communicating the importance and relevance of engineering to elementary, middle school, and high school students.

Mentored at the Fulton summer engineering camp: Participated as a student ambassador and mentor at the water science camp at the Kyrene School District.