Graduate Students

Yun-Yang Lee

PhD Candidate

Lee earned his B.S. and M.S. in Chemical Engineering in 2016 from National Tsing-Hua University, Taiwan. After his graduation, he continued his training at the University of Tokyo, Japan for a year (2017-2018). His past research involved monomer/polymer synthesis, polymer physics, physical chemistry, and battery techniques (fuel cell & LIB). As a PhD student, his research interests focus on the synthesis and characterization of functionalized ILs and PILs, and their applications on LiBs as well as CO2 capture. When not in lab, he enjoys jogging, mountain climbing, cooking, and playing Chinese musical instrument.  

Drace Penley

PhD Student

Drace earned his B.S. and M.S. in Chemical Engineering in 2019 from the Ohio State University. There, his research focus was in carbon capture using Metal-Organic Frameworks (MOFs). He helped develop a charge assignment method for atoms in newly discovered MOFs using atom connectivity. As a Ph.D. student, his research interests focus on understanding the solvation structure and transport mechanism of solute ions in multicomponent ionic liquids. Outside of the lab, he enjoys playing water polo and cooking.

William Dean

PhD Student

William earned his B.Ch.E in Chemical Engineering and Chemistry from the University of Minnesota in the spring of 2018. After graduation he worked as a researcher, studying polymer membranes, polymer solutions and polymer microfibers. As a PhD student, his research interests lie in studying and characterizing deep eutectic solvents in the context of energy storage applications. When not in lab, William enjoys running, weightlifting and cooking.

Aidan Klemm

PhD Student

Aidan received B.S. in Chemical Engineering in 2020 from CWRU. He has been a member of the Energy Lab since 2018 where he worked on various aspects of ionic liquids and ionic liquid based membranes for CO2 separations. He started his PhD in the Fall of 2020. His thesis is focused on novel solvents and separation mechanisms for CO2 direct air capture (DAC). His other involvements include being a staff member at the CWRU LGBT Center and singing in the Case Concert Choir.

Ruth Dikki

PhD student

Ruth earned her bachelor's degree in Chemical Engineering in 2019 from Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria, after which she served for a year at the National Teacher's Institute in Nigeria. Her past research involved the use of Matlab for pipeline studies. As a PhD student, her research interest focuses on developing materials for the direct air capture of CO2. Outside the lab, Ruth enjoys watching cartoons, and writing.

Sanduni Wijesooriya

PhD student

Sanduni received her BS in Chemistry in 2020 from the University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka. Her undergraduate research was on the determination of radical scavenging mechanisms of epicatechin molecules using computational methodologies. As a Ph.D. student, she will be focusing on the electrochemical reduction of CO2 to fuels. In her leisure time, she enjoys reading, watching movies, and playing cricket.

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Post-doctoral Researchers

Raziyeh (Melina) Ghahremani

Melina earnedher BS and MS degrees in Chemical Engineering. She had research experience in developing and characterizing mixed matrix membrane adsorbents fordye removal before joining the PhD program in Ohio University in the Fall of 2020 where she workedas a research assistant at the Center for Electrochemical Engineering Research(CEER). There, she developed several non-precious electrocatalysts fordepolymerization of waste lignin to renewable industrial chemicals. She also synthesized non-noblemetal-based electrocatalysts for oxygen reduction and oxygen evolutionreactions to improve the efficiency of water electrolyzers and alkaline fuelcells. As a postdoctoral researcher at the Energy Lab, her research interestsfocus on studying and characterizing deep eutectic solvents for energy storagesystems. Outside of the lab, she enjoys swimming, going to the gym,and cooking.

Kavin Pachuta

Kevin was born and raised in Farmington Hills, Michigan.After spending four years completing coursework and playing collegiate soccerat John Carroll University, Kevin graduated with a B.S. in chemistry in 2016. Kevinthen earned an M.S. and Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering at CWRU in2018 and 2021 researching the exfoliation of layered oxides. In his free time,Kevin continues to play soccer but also enjoys playing the guitar and bakinghis ridiculously good bread.

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Undergraduate Researchers

Asya Orhan

Undergraduate Researcher

Asya is a junior Chemical Engineering student at CWRU. She has research interests in energy
storage and ionic liquids. When not in lab, she enjoys cooking or baking for her friends, traveling and doing anything outdoors.

Hazel Gerber

Undergraduate Researcher

Hazel is a second year chemical engineering student at CWRU. Her research interest is in ionic liquids for energy storage devices. Outside of research, she enjoys swimming, hiking, and going to the gym.

Harrison Liu

Undergraduate Researcher

Harrison is a second-year chemical engineering student at CWRU. His research interest is in the application of ionic liquids in energy storage devices. Outside of the lab, Harrison enjoys skiing, hiking, and playing the bass guitar.

Art Interns

Hannah Barkman

Hannah is a Junior Biomedical Art major at the Cleveland Institute of Art. She has partnered with researchers at the Cleveland Botanical Garden and the Cleveland Museum of Natural History's Anthropology Lab in her studies. In 2022, she will earn her BFA and start her career in Medical Illustration. Hannah is a new member to the energy lab, and her work includes making visual aids and graphics for electrochemical storage concepts. When not creating scientific illustrations, Hannah is a choreographer for both Geneva College Musical Theatre Camp and Hopewell High School's musical program in her hometown of Pittsburgh, PA. 

Emily Durst

Emily is currently a junior at the Cleveland Institute of Art studying a Bachelors in Biomedical Art. Prior to CIA, she attended Kent State University for 3 years studying zoology before transferring. During her time in Kent she interned and worked at conservation centers, veterinary offices, and animal sanctuaries, working with both endangered and domesticated species. Now she partners with researchers and curators at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and Cleveland Botanical Gardens for her studies. In her free time she runs a creative platform for young artists to meet, exchange new ideas, find mentors, and network with one another. Emily is a new member to the Energy Lab, and her work includes making graphics and visual representations of concepts in electrochemical storage.

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Past Members


Jeffrey Klein, PhD 2021, Postdoc at Los Alamos National Laboratory

Qianwen (Vivian) Huang, PhD  2019, Engineer at Silicon Valley Startup 

Suchitra Selvaraj, MS  2018, Researcher at Ecolectro, Inc.

Ningjin (Karen) Xu, MS 2018, Currently a PhD student at University of California Riverside

Brian Chen, MS 2020

Henry Squire, MS 2020, Currently a PhD student at University of California Berkeley

Hongchao Mao, Postdoc 2019-20

Undergraduate Researchers

Max Pennington (2019-20)

Caleb Wilt (2018-19) 

Dylan Klaiber (2019)  

Evio Panichi (2018 summer)

Guillermo F Gonzalez (2018)  

Jinyi Zhang (2018 summer)

Neil Chavan (2017-18)

Phoebe Huang (2017 -18)

Nicholas Asher Day (2017) 

REU Students

Victoria Zubizarreta (2019), University of Pittsburgh

Reagan Hairston(2018), Mississippi State University

ViAnn Thuy Pham (2017), University of Arizona

Kyle Terraciano (2017), University of Connecticut(co-advised with Prof. Daniel Lacks)

Art Interns

AlexanderStojkov (2018 – 19)

Joseph Williams (2017 – 19)

Ian Filo (2017)

Thomas Thornton (2016-17)

Using Format