Anna Harris, a third-year chemical engineering major, has won an Undergraduate Student Travel Supplement to attend NAMS 2023, the North American Membrane Society’s annual meeting.

Harris is an undergraduate researcher working with associate professor of chemical engineering Geoff Geise, who also has a courtesy appointment in materials science and engineering. Geise’s research group specializes in the design of polymeric materials for membrane-based liquid separations and energy applications.

Harris earned the award to present a poster on her research project, “Analysis of Manufacturing Methods of Ion-Exchange Membranes for Desalination,” at the meeting.

Harris’ research focuses on the characterization of polymer membranes that can be used for water purification through electrodialysis — a process used to remove salt ions from water streams through alternating cation and anion exchange membranes. She is comparing the properties associated with membranes she creates in the lab and those made using an emerging electrospray technology in additive manufacturing by her collaborators at the University of Connecticut.

“We are hoping to show that the fine-tuning capabilities of electrospray technology allow for more material control, which leads to more efficient ion transport and increased membrane selectivity. This manufacturing method decreases material and energy costs to effectively manufacture more sustainable materials in an effort of green engineering,” said Harris, who is an A. James Clark Scholar.

The supplement award includes registration to the NAMS meeting, hotel room and reimbursement of up to $500 for travel expenses. Undergraduates are also matched with a graduate student host to ensure they can take full advantage of the technical, social and networking opportunities.