ThinkEnergy Fellows 2015-2016

Allison Cornelius

Allison Cornelius is a junior at Case Western Reserve University majoring in Chemical Engineering with a minor in Systems and Controls Engineering. She has long had a fascination with the complexity of energy systems from production and usage to environmental concerns and economic limitations, and she is excited to be able to explore the field as a ThinkEnergy Fellow this year. In addition to the ThinkEnergy fellowship, Allison will also be a Spark Clean Energy Fellow this year, part of a nationwide clean energy program through the Department of Energy.Outside of her academic pursuits, Allison is a member of the sorority Alpha Chi Omega and spends time reading, making and eating baked goods, and watching as much hockey as possible (as all good Minnesotans should).

Victoria Eldridge

Tori Eldridge graduated from Case Western Reserve University with a B.S. in Civil Engineering in May, 2015. She is now pursuing a Masters of Engineering and Management at CWRU. While interning at the Great Lakes Energy Institute during her undergraduate studies, she further developed her fascination with sustainable systems and the opportunities for change available through renewable energy. Tori works part-time at CHA, a Civil Engineering consulting firm in downtown Cleveland. She hopes to put her knowledge toward designing more sustainable structures and alternative energy infrastructure. Additionally, Tori is a teaching assistant for ENGR 395 Professional Communication and Practice for Engineers this semester. Outside of schoolwork she enjoys reading, playing guitar, and exploring Cleveland.

Elizabeth Freund

Elizabeth Freund graduated cum laude from Oregon State University with a B.S. in chemical engineering. During her undergraduate career she interned with NASA Glenn Research Center working on solid oxide fuel cell catalysts. She is currently a second year Ph.D. student who works in the Electrochemical Engineering and Energy Laboratory with Dr. Robert. Savinell and Dr. Jesse Wainright. Elizabeth works on chemical energy storage solutions for enabling the widespread deployment of renewable energy sources. Her current project is the development of a copper redox flow battery. She is a firm believer in enhancing energy technologies via research and business avenues for sustainable solutions to fortify the electric grid globally. In addition to research, Elizabeth was a captain of the Oregon State University Women’s rugby team which placed 9th in the nation. Furthermore, she is currently the secretary of ChEGSO (Chemical Engineering Graduate Student Organization) in which she coordinates and plans events for the chemical engineering graduate students.

Neil He

Neil He is a junior undergraduate student at Case Western Reserve University studying Chemical Engineering and Materials Science. He is deeply determined to use his coursework and research experience to make a difference in the fields of clean energy and energy storage. He sees storage technology as a critical obstacle to widespread implementation of clean energy systems and is confident that his unique research experiences, strong academic foundation, and eager entrepreneurial spirit serve him to take full advantage of the opportunities of the ThinkEnergy Fellowship. Neil’s most significant research endeavors thus far have been in the National Science Foundation-funded Research Experience for Undergraduates program at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, where he worked in Professor Joanna Aizenberg’s laboratory investigating new heat transfer phenomena on nano-engineered slippery surfaces. At his home institution, Neil works with the Student Sustainability Council to develop and promote initiatives to boost campus sustainability. In addition to these pursuits, Neil runs for the CWRU Track and Field team. He hails from the Boston area and yearns for the chance to hike the White Mountains.

Nickolas Johnson

Nickolas Johnson is a fourth-year Junior at Case Western Reserve University majoring in Electrical Engineering with a concentration in Control Systems. Nickolas worked as a co-op at Vermont Electric Power Company, Inc. (VELCO), the state’s electric transmission company, in the summer and fall of 2015. His responsibilities began in the field with Asset Maintenance and System Protection, and then rotated to more analytical work in the Electrical Engineering departments. This broad exposure within a transmission utility afforded insights into the criticality of safety, the system impacts driven by the exciting expansion of renewable generation, and how data and analytics are helping to transform the grid. This work sparked his passion to seek a career within the energy industry. Nickolas seeks to develop into a well-rounded engineer who earns an opportunity to contribute and make a difference. He enjoys creating new relationships in the community both individually and as a member of the Zeta Psi fraternity along with pursuing his other interests.

Jason Pickering

Jason C. Pickering is a 4th year junior pursuing his BS in Chemical Engineering with a minor in Business Management at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU). He joined the Department of Chemical Engineering during his freshman year after he began working under Prof Robert Savinell and Prof Jesse Wainright in the Electrochemical Engineering and Energy Laboratory (EEEL) at CWRU. While working in the laboratory on a grid-level energy storage battery, Jason became passionate about clean energy solutions. He assisted in developing an efficient all-iron flow battery with an initial 1 year grant from ARPA-E. As a result of his work with the lab team, EEEL received a larger, 2-year grant to continue developing this battery. To broaden his horizons, he obtained a 7 month co-op with the Lincoln Electric Company at their headquarters in Cleveland, OH working during the Summer and Fall of 2014. As a Consumables R&D Intern and a Manufacturing Processes Intern, Jason learned about research in industry and how a successful manufacturing company operates. As a result of this co-op, he obtained a Technical Sales Internship with Lincoln Electric during the summer of 2015 in Chicago, IL. This experience helped him to realize that he would like to pursue an engineering degree with a focus in business and management. Jason is interested in learning more about the business and policy side of clean energy. He would like to focus his career path on the commercialization of sustainable and renewable energy solutions. Jason is deeply involved with Sport Clubs on campus as he has held numerous positions on the CWRU Ice Hockey team including Vice President and Public and Alumni Relations Officer. He is currently working on developing a sustainable and stronger alumni network in the club. He was also the first committee chair of the Sport Club Marketing Committee. Jason was born in the small town of Grafton, OH where he grew up on a vegetable farm. He enjoys watching all professional and college sports and plays hockey and golf. He also enjoys sailing, art, skateboarding, snowboarding, working on his truck, and reading.

Thea Yagerlener

Thea M. Yagerlener is a candidate for a BS in Chemical Engineering with a Business Management minor from Case Western Reserve University. While at CWRU, Thea has earned Dean’s High Honors for six semesters and researched triboelectric charging with the Sankaran Lab for three semesters. She also has assisted teaching ENGR 225 with Dr. Sankaran for two semesters. Thea is committed to developing clean energy generation processes, and using public policy to help achieve green energy goals. In 2014, Thea developed an application of existing solar energy for use in greenhouses, and presented the technology in the Saint Gobain and Clean Energy Competitions. She also participated in the 2015 Cleveland Sustainability Summit. Thea is very involved in the Tau Beta Pi Honor Society, including reviving the Pi Mile Run. Thea enjoys camping and backpacking, especially in northern Michigan.

Elle Zadina

Elle Zadina is a sophomore Computer Science major at Case Western and a varsity soccer player with the Spartans. Craving a future in virtual reality and artificial intelligence, she hopes to pursue a master’s degree to compliment her BS degree. She spent this summer working on a major research project to determine how technology is impacting civil engineering with Walsh Construction, a 6000 person, global construction firm in operation for over 100 years. When she’s not working on computers or training for soccer, you can find Elle learning piano, kayaking, or playing with her dog, Seymour.

Xu-Qian Zheng

Xu–Qian Zheng graduated from Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics with a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering and Automation in 2013. He then joined Case School of Engineering at Case Western Reserve University and started working in Professor Philip Feng’s group in Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in January 2014. He received his M.S. degree in Electrical Engineering in May 2015 and continued working in Prof. Feng’s group after graduation. Now, he is a Ph.D. candidate in Electrical Engineering at Case. Xu–Qian’s research at Case focuses on utilizing piezoelectric materials, which is known as a type of material for energy harvesting, for device applications. In particular, he develops piezoelectric micro/nanoelectromechanical systems (M/NEMS) that holds promises for harvesting vibrational energy to power ultralow–power integrated circuits. In parallel to fundamental studies, he has also been actively working on an engineering project focusing on using piezoelectric energy harvesters to power wireless sensor nodes. Along with efforts in research, Xu–Qian also has been actively participating in commercialization of technologies for energy sustainability. He won the 2nd place of Clean Energy Challenge at Case in January 2015, and in April, he competed in Chicago as a member of the finalist team, CrystalE, in Clean Energy Challenge 2015. Xu–Qian has the long-term interest and ambition in solving the global energy challenges. Motivated by this passion, he is putting sustained effort on energy related fundamental research, engineering development, and entrepreneurial activities.