SPE Foundation Scholarship Awarded to Grad Student

Aug. 20, 2019 - Samueli School graduate student Arezoo Avid has won a prestigious SPE Foundation Polymer Modifier & Additives Division $2,000 scholarship award. Generally, up to three prizes are awarded per year.

Avid is a first-year doctoral student working in the National Fuel Cell Research Center (NFCRC) under the guidance of Iryna Zenyuk, assistant professor in chemical and biomolecular engineering. Her current research involves improving the performance of clean energy technologies.

Rapid depletion of fossil fuels, greenhouse gas production and growing environmental concerns have made the effective utilization of energy a critical issue. Proton exchange membrane fuel cells (PEMFC) is a promising clean energy solution. PEMFC utilizes a polymer electrolyte membrane for ion exchange purposes, converting chemical energy directly into electrical energy. The technology has potential in the transportation sector due to its high efficiency and environmental benefits, but an affordable catalyst system is a key component. Avid is working to enhance catalysts for the oxygen reduction reaction in the system in order to make it more affordable.

“I appreciate the support from the Polymer Modifier and Additives Division in providing the scholarship, and I am honored to receive this award from the SPE Foundation,” said Avid. “I am grateful to my adviser, Professor Zenyuk, for her continuous support, encouragement and for helping me throughout my journey.”

The SPE Foundation offers numerous scholarships to students who have demonstrated or expressed an interest in the plastics industry, and are majoring in or taking courses beneficial to a career in the industry.

– Lori Brandt

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