Undergraduate students receive 2020 Slatt Awards to advance energy research

Author: Barbara Villarosa

Slatt 2020 Scholars

ND Energy has awarded four undergraduate students at the University of Notre Dame Vincent P. Slatt Fellowships for Undergraduate Research in Energy Systems and Processes in 2020. These students are recognized for their academic achievements and abilities to collaborate with ND Energy affiliated faculty on research projects that support one or more of ND Energy’s research focus areas.

“We are extremely grateful for the generosity of the Slatt family who have made this fellowship possible since 2006,” said Peter C. Burns, Henry J. Massman Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering & Earth Sciences and director of ND Energy. “It is pleasing to see so many students interested in learning about energy both in the classroom and in our laboratories.”

Current recipients and their research projects are highlighted below:


Slatt Andrew Chen Small

Yi-Chung (Andrew) Chen is a junior majoring in aerospace and mechanical engineering. His project, “Determining the Effect of Microfibers for Drag Reduction in Fluid Flows,” focuses on designing patterns for microfibers/hydrophobic and hydrophilic coatings for drag reduction in fluid flows to increase efficiencies in flow systems. This will be done in collaboration with Hirotaka Sakaue, associate professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering, and his research group.

Slatt Daniel Palmer Small

Daniel Palmer is a junior majoring in physics. His project, “Studying Conduction of Nematic Liquid Crystals,” focuses on using computational techniques to measure and understand electrical conduction of specific phases of liquid crystals, which could lead to new developments in photovoltaics and display technology. This will be done in collaboration with Jonathan Whitmer, assistant professor chemical and biomolecular engineering, and his research group.

Slatt Kimberly Riordan Small

Kimberly Riordan is a junior majoring in chemistry. Her project, “Synthesis and Electrochemical Studies of T-shaped Sulfur Radicals,” focuses on synthesizing a different sulfur-based radical species by adding more electron-withdrawing groups to increase stabilization for the use of lithium-sulfur battery technology. This will be done in collaboration with Emily Tsui, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry, and her research group.

Slatt Andrew Smith Small

Andrew Smith is a junior majoring in chemistry and biochemistry. His project, “Preparation and Analysis of Photoswitchable Ionic Liquids,” focuses on developing and optimizing a modular method to access highly substituted azopyrazolium cations for applications in ionic liquids, which can be used to limit the environmental impact of coolants for absorption-cooling systems. This will be done in collaboration with Brandon Ashfeld, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, and his research group.

At the conclusion of the fellowship year, students are requested to submit a final report, summarizing their research progress and results, and other scholarly outcomes. Students are also encouraged to present their research projects during University-sponsored events to showcase undergraduate research throughout the year.

Since the program began, ND Energy has awarded 142 students totaling $633,151 in support of undergraduate research at Notre Dame.  Students may continue to apply for Slatt fellowships for their summer and fall research projects through February 28, 2020. 

About ND Energy:

ND Energy is a University Research Center whose mission is to build a better world by creating new energy technologies and systems and educating individuals to help solve the most critical energy challenges facing our world today. For more information, visit the ND Energy website at energy.nd.edu or contact Barbara Villarosa, Business and Communications Program Director, at bvillaro@nd.edu or 574-631-4776.

Originally published by Barbara Villarosa at energy.nd.edu on January 29, 2020.