Composite image of Sugandha Verma, Carlos Weiler and Sanha Kim

In 2018, a generous supporter of UVA chemical engineering created three fellowships in honor of former professors Elmer Gaden, John Gainer and Donald Kirwan to fund the first year of Ph.D. study for nine exceptional students. The gift came in response to a School-wide Graduate Fellows Initiative to ensure funding for all promising candidates — and its impact is clear. In the program’s three years, “GGK” fellows have co-authored five papers (with more in review) and eight presentations, mentored 11 undergraduate researchers and completed six teaching assistantships.

Here’s a brief look at what the 2020-2021 fellows are working on:

  • Gaden Fellow Sugandha Verma (M.S. in chemical engineering, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur) works with assistant professor Chris Paolucci’s catalysis modeling group. Verma’s research aims to determine the formation reaction mechanism of nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas, which forms as a by-product in diesel engine aftertreatment systems.
  • Gainer Fellow Carlos Weiler (B.S. in chemical and environmental engineering, University of Arizona) is investigating the performance of catalytic materials in professor William S. Epling’s Environmental Catalysis Lab. The team’s goal is to reduce greenhouse gases in diesel vehicle emissions.
  • Kirwan Fellow Sanha Kim (B.S. in chemical and biomolecular engineering, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign) is modeling the population expansion of the bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa in settings such as the cystic fibrotic lung. Kim works in professor Roseanne M. Ford’s lab.

Read more about the Gaden, Gainer and Kirwan fellowships here