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Undergraduate Students

  Emma Willet

I’m a senior Chemical Engineering major. My research interests include studying renewable alternatives to petroleum, specifically waste plastics and biomass. I also enjoy working as a chemistry tutor at the Quantitative Center when I am not in lab. In the future, I hope to continue my research interests in graduate school.

  Katherine Saltzgiver

Katie is a senior working in the Valla lab on biochar production and application. She has studied abroad at the National University of Singapore during spring semester 2017 and traveled to four other countries in Southeast Asia. She is  playing saxophone in the marching band at UConn for three years

  Evan Augustine
  Jason  Hall

Jason is an undergraduate senior in the Valla Lab, and is expected to graduate in May 2018. He is currently studying Chemical Engineering at the University of Connecticut. Jason is currently working with other graduate and undergraduate researchers to develop a better understanding of conversion of biomass to fuels through pyrolysis, and will be writing his Honors Thesis on his work in this area. Jason can most often be found on the courts of the Student Recreation Facility playing pickup basketball.


More information on Jason’s other experience and accomplishments can be found on his LinkedIn:

  Bailey Gannett

Bailey is a senior in the Honors Program conducting research on the Preparation of Carbite Based Materials, set to graduate in May 2018. This past summer, Bailey interned at Rogers Corporation and worked in the footwear and impact segment of their Elastomeric Materials Division. Outside of her coursework, Bailey is heavily focused on community involvement here at UConn. She is heavily involved in HuskyTHON to support Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, and serves on the executive board of Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity. She also is working with the owners of Paragon Fitwear to launch their first ever Campus Program here at UConn to spread brand philosophy and awareness.

  Brian Goldstein

Brian is a junior in the University of Connecticut Honors Program studying chemical engineering and is expected to graduate in May 2019. Brian began working in the Valla Lab over the summer of 2017 and has been working on hydrodeoxygenation of lignocellulosic biomass with fellow graduate and undergraduate researchers. Brian is a cadet in the UConn Army ROTC program where he will commission as a second lieutenant in May 2019, as well as an active member of the UConn Men’s Rugby team.

….all the best to those who graduated:

 Paapa Obeng LinkedIn pic (3) Pappa Obeng (class of 2017)

Paapa was heavily involved with the Engineering Diversity and Outreach Office which organize programs including BRIDGE, Engineering Your Future (EYF) etc. He is also the Vice-President of the UConn chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE). His hobbies include watching soccer, reading autobiographies and cycling. He is now in MA working in nanomaterials company!


Colin Gerrity & Jacob Struble (Class of 2017)

Colin has been working with Jake Struble on their IDEA Grant funded project to develop a process to defuloridate water in Ethiopia using naturally occruring zeolites in a dynamic process.

Chris Martino Christopher Martino (Class of 2016)

Chris initiated our studies on the desulfurization of diesel! Thank you Chris and good luck!

Nga Nga Nguyan (Class of 2016)

Nga won two awards (2nd & 3rd place) on the undergraduate poster competition of AICHE Meeting 2015 for her work on the “Investigation of Mesoporous Y-Zeolites on Adsorptive Desulfurization of Model-Diesel Fuels”! Congrats Nga and good luck!

Laura Laura Wilcox (Class of 2016)

She won an award (2nd place) on the udergraduate poster competition of AICHE Meeting 2015 for her work on the “Development of Hierarchical Pore Structure MFI Zeolites for Biomass Catalytic Fast Pyrolysis”! 

Now she in Purdue pursuing a PhD in Chemical Engineering. Congratulations and all the best!