Two Engineering Grad Students Named ARCS Scholars

Maryam Asghari and Melissa ThoneOct. 23, 2018 - Two Samueli School graduate students, Maryam Asghari and Melissa Thone, are recipients of the ARCS (Achievement Rewards for College Scientists) Foundation Scholar Awards. The two are among 10 UC Irvine students to win the fellowship award – $10,000 over two years – which recognizes the most academically superior doctoral students exhibiting outstanding promise as scientists, researchers and leaders.

Asghari, a fourth-year graduate student in mechanical and aerospace engineering, works with UCI’s Advanced Power & Energy Program. She became interested in using clean renewable energy sources for power generation when as an undergraduate, she worked on a project to improve the quality of exhaust in a conventional power plant. Her current research focuses on integrating highly efficient, zero-emission solid-oxide fuel cell technologies with cooling and dehumidification systems for data centers.  

“I believe hydrogen and fuel cell technology will shape the future of energy,” Asghari said. “It’s a privilege to be a member of a foundation that is dedicated to advancing science and technology.”

Thone, a fourth-year chemical and biomolecular engineering grad student, is researching novel production methods of cellular particles called extracellular vesicles (EVs) for personalized therapeutics. One example is the development of a cancer vaccine. “Our preliminary studies have demonstrated efficacy with minimal side effects,” said Thone. “I believe that the future of effective drug delivery requires a personalized approach, and I hope that our design will translate to provide a proactive option in our worldwide battle against cancer.”

Both students are also NSF Graduate Research Fellows and are grateful for the recognition and support. “It is an honor to be selected as an ARCS scholar and to represent both my school and my program,” said Thone. “I look forward to being a member of this community of inspiring women.”

– Lori Brandt

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