Undergraduate Student Profiles

About Our Students

Our students represent 8 different colleges and universities across North Carolina. They are majoring in a STEM field, have completed 1-2 years of college coursework, and will have completed The Sustainable Bioeconomy and Biomass Conversion Processes courses by Summer 2019. They share an interest in plant-based, renewable bioproducts, the bioeconomy, and pursuing careers in related fields.

 

Current Participants

Sarah Abdallah

  • Current institution: Wake Tech Community College
  • Major/Program of study: Biomedical engineering
  • Career and/or graduate school goals: Become a biomedical engineer
  • “I have always had an interest in all sustainable products such as renewable energy, and all topics revolving around biology. I hope to use this opportunity to create a bridge between Biology and my pursuing major of Engineering.”

 

Madeline Baldelli

  • Current institution: University of North Carolina at Wilmington
  • Major/Program of study: Environmental Science, concentration in Environmental Conservation
  • Career and/or graduate school goals: I am interested in sustainability and renewable resources. I will also be attending graduate school.
  • “I am especially eager to learn of real world applications in the development of sustainable bioenergy and bioproducts, their role in future consumer and business use, and how I can be a part of the solutions in protecting and conserving our environment.

 

Allison Buys

  • Current institution: Meredith College
  • Major/Program of study: Environmental Sustainability
  • Career and/or graduate school goals: US Forestry Service or working in alternative fuels.
  • “I always wanted to be a part of the massive change that would take place to help save our planet. I’m looking forward to a hands-on approach in the field and making a difference, but also helping the public make more sustainable options, such as choosing biofuels over traditional fossil fuels.”

 

Samantha Collazo

  • Current institution: Wake Tech Community College
  • Major/Program of study: Biology
  • Career and/or graduate school goals: Biological Engineer
  • “The challenge of clean, renewable, and sustainable resources is one that must be tackled with hard work and passion. I will continue to educate and work with others towards a cleaner future, and I would enjoy being part of a team to advance clean, renewable, and sustainable resources.”

 

Firass Fayyad

  • Current institution: North Carolina Central University
  • Major/Program of study: Bachelors of Pharmaceutical Science
  • Career and/or graduate school goals: Biochemist
  • “I have always wanted to do something bigger than myself in a way to benefit society, and the goal of this program, to transition from a fossil‐fuel‐based economy to a global bio‐economy, allows my interest in biology and engineering to collide.”

 

Amy McGaughy

  • Current institution: Meredith College
  • Major/Program of study: Chemistry
  • Career and/or graduate school goals:
  • “My passion for the environment motivates me to preserve our home planet to be efficient and sustainable. Challenging myself to move the classroom outside to get hands on experience and knowledge excites me to participate in this program.”

 

Kito McKenzie

  • Current institution: Wake Tech Community College
  • Major/Program of study: Associate in Science
  • Career and/or graduate school goals: Applied researcher at a biopharmaceutical company
  • “The value of a sustainable bioeconomy is a renewable and sustainable source of basic materials that can persist for generations and improve the current quality of life and that of those in the future. I want to contribute to the quality of life by developing more efficient methods of utilizing available biological resources.”

 

Ashley Miller

  • Current institution: East Carolina University
  • Major/Program of study: Bachelor of Science in Engineering with a concentration in Environmental Engineering
  • Career and/or graduate school goals: Interested in a Masters degree and pursuing a career in developing clean energy
  • “My main goal is to utilize my love of math and science and to apply it to my love of nature by helping develop sustainable, renewable energy.

 

Ali Mitchell

  • Current institution: North Carolina State University
  • Major/Program of study: Animal Science
  • Career and/or graduate school goals: Veterinary School
  • “I believe that this is an amazing opportunity to explore the world of biology in a practical way. Applying biology to create bioproducts that could reuse the waste produced by living organisms seems like an amazing step forward for society and I would love to be apart of it.”

 

Francis Ngugi

  • Current institution: Wake Tech Community College
  • Major/Program of study: Biopharmaceutical Technology
  • Career and/or graduate school goals:
  • “I believe in coming up with solutions for current and future generations, especially within the energy sector. It is this interest to bring a sustainable change in people’s lives that makes me very interested in this program.”

 

Tyler Owens

  • Current institution: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Major/Program of study: Biology
  • Career and/or graduate school goals: Phd/MD program to become a physician, continue genetics research, and found a company which will create renewable and sustainable, genetically modified organic products
  • “I wholeheartedly believe that genetic modification will change humanity more than we can possibly imagine. I would like utilize the incredible and natural power that lies inside DNA and use it to create a sustainable bio-economy. But more than anything, I want to inspire the world to innovate, because humans are just getting started.”

 

Ashley Pegram

  • Current institution: Meredith College
  • Major/Program of study: Chemistry/Environmental Engineering
  • Career and/or graduate school goals: Enter a field related to pollution control – preferably air or water pollution
  • “It is crucial to discover a way to live sustainably to promote the wellbeing of the human race. The knowledge and experience I will gain from this program will allow me to have a deeper understanding of the bioeconomy, bioenergy, and biomass conversion processes, thus allowing me to make a substantially larger impact.”

 

Annabelle Taylor

  • Current institution: North Carolina State University
  • Major/Program of study: Plant Biology
  • Career and/or graduate school goals: My career goal involves working in plant biotechnology for purposes relating to the curing of common plant pathogens, sustainability of food production and foresting, or preservation of plant species.
  • “The biomaterial industry has the capability to change how we relate to and impact our environment and I wish to be at the forefront of these changes. I am excited to apply this opportunity into future research that pushes us towards a more sustainable and inventive future.”

 

Erica Young

  • Current institution: Wake Tech Community College
  • Major/Program of study: Chemical Engineering
  • Career and/or graduate school goals: Bioenergy/Fuel production from renewable resources
  • ” I hope to be a part of creating a sustainable future for humanity by refining current green technology or creating new ways to use and reuse renewable resources. I am excited to strengthen my foundations in chemistry, biology and math and I will use any knowledge I gain or connections I make from this experience to create actual change in the world.”

 

 

Past Participants

Parker Ard

  • Current institution: University of North Carolina Wilmington
  • Major/Program of study: Chemistry
  • Career and/or graduate school goals: PhD in chemistry, focusing on environmental chemistry
  • “I am passionate about sustaining the planet’s resources and am particularly intrigued by the concept of the bioeconomy, which seems to move beyond the limitations of simple recycling into a more comprehensive model of cyclical sustainability.

 

Michelle Asuquo

  • Current institution: Shaw University
  • Major/Program of study: Chemistry
  • Career and/or graduate school goals: Advanced degree in science
  • “This opportunity will allow me to give back to my native land, because renewable applications are being widely used in Nigeria. I would love to learn more in the field of renewable, sustainable resources so that I can investigate methods to studying inexpensive biomass into valuable bioproducts and bioenergy that could be the next innovative project in Nigeria.”

 

Ibrahim Barry

  • Current institution: Wake Tech Community College
  • Major/Program of study: Associate in Science
  • Career and/or graduate school goals: Attend graduate school
  • “I’ve always been interested in benefiting the population and improving our standard of living and without a doubt, bioproducts plays a vital part. My interest in sanitation (personal care and household sanitizing products) plays a vivid role in motivating me to consider the bioeconomic product field as a career.”

 

Tyra Onley

  • Current institution: Saint Augustine’s University
  • Major/Program of study: Biology
  • Career and/or graduate school goals: Enroll in a PhD program
  • “I am interested in discovery research (drug discovery and industrial compound discovery), using instrumentation to detect compounds and synthesize compounds, and this program will bridge my understanding of biochemistry, engineering and product development.”

 

Ka’shawn Robertson

  • Current institution: Saint Augustine’s University
  • Major/Program of study: Chemistry
  • Career and/or graduate school goals: Chemical Science PhD program and obtain a position as a Senior Research Chemist
  • “I participated in the 2017 NSF Engineering Research Center for Biorenewable Chemicals REU program, focused on characterizing lipid hydrocarbon species that can be used for bioenergy applications and understanding how maize respond to environmental stresses. I find plant bioenergy research very interesting since it can provide opportunities to explore different types of research in chemistry.”

 

Alianna Wyer

  • Current institution: Shaw University
  • Major/Program of study: Biology
  • Career and/or graduate school goals: Biochemist
  • “This opportunity will provide me with awareness of today’s society and the ability to apply knowledge to the modernized doings in the STEM field and work toward advancing science and technologies to convert biomass into useful products.”