Press Releases

Three Engineering Students Honored by
National Honor Society

DATE: JUNE 21, 2010

Beltsar, Divel, and Pomerenke receive scholarships from Tau Beta Pi.

Tau Beta Pi Olga Beltsar and Laura Divel, juniors in the University of Notre Dame’s Department of Civil Engineering and Geological Sciences, along with Mark Pomerenke, a junior in the Department of Electrical Engineering, have been awarded scholarships for the 2010-11 academic year from Tau Beta Pi, the engineering honor society.

Tau Beta Pi scholarships are presented to junior members of the society on a competitive basis of high scholarship, campus leadership, service and the promise of future contributions to the engineering profession. A total of 102 students received scholarships this year.

Beltsar, currently in Budapest as part of her summer internship with the Mott MacDonald firm, will return to the University this fall as a student research assistant studying the seismic design of buildings. A member of the Notre Dame Chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers, she has served as a co-chair for the University’s steel bridge competition for the 2009 Great Lakes Conference and participated in the concrete canoe competition. In addition, she is a trained fitness instructor for fitness classes at Notre Dame Recsports and has participated as a volunteer for the University’s Appalachia Service Learning Seminar and Expanding Your Horizons Program for middle school girls interested in math and science. Beltsar is from Pleasanton, Calif.

Divel is serving in her second engineering internship with Bechtel Corporation, where she has been working on the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project. Last summer, she spent her break as part of the company’s Design-Build Permit group, and this summer she is working with the Civil Engineering group. A native of Rockville, Md., Divel also serves as an undergraduate research assistant for Ahsan Kareem, the Robert M. Moran Professor of Civil Engineering and Geological Sciences, in the NatHaz Laboratory. A committee chair of both SWE-ND and McGlinn Hall Council, she is a member of the Notre Dame Equestrian Team and the American Society of Civil Engineers and has also served as a volunteer for the Appalachia Service Learning Seminar.

Pomerenke, an Eagle Scout from Springfield, Mo., is working as an intern for GE Energy in the Renewable Division this summer, where he serves as wind training lab projects coordinator. He has two other internships and a semester of laboratory research in the Department of Electrical Engineering as a student research assistant under his belt. This fall, when he returns to the University, he will be working with Professor Peter Bauer on hybrid and electric vehicles. Pomerenke also participates in interhall sports and has served as dorm athletic commissioner and social commissioner.

Tau Beta Pi is the world’s largest engineering society. Membership represents the highest honor to be obtained by an engineering student and is awarded on the basis of high scholarship and exemplary character.

Bookmark and Share
Bohn Named 2010 Redwood Award Winner

DATE: JUNE 8, 2010

The Royal Society of Chemistry has Named Paul W. Bohn the recipient of the 2010 Redwood Award.

Bohn, PaulPaul W. Bohn, Arthur J. Schmitt Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, director of the Advanced Diagnostics and Therapeutics (AD&T) initiative, and concurrent professor of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Notre Dame, has been named the recipient of the 2010 Theophilus Redwood Award by the Royal Society of Chemistry.

The award is presented annually to a leading analytical scientist who is an outstanding communicator. Sponsored by the Analytical Chemistry Trust Fund, it is named in honor of Redwood, who was a founding member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain and president of the Society of Public Analysts. He also was the first president of The Society for Analytical Chemistry, which later merged with the Chemical Society.

Bohn was cited specifically “for the breadth and impact of his contribution to analytical science in the areas of microfluidics and nanoscale chemical sensing.” His research interests encompass molecular transport on the nanoscale, chemical sensors and molecular approaches to nanotechnology, including but not limited to handheld devices for personalized health care and environmental monitoring applications (lab-on-a-chip).

A member of the American Chemical Society (ACS) and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Bohn has received numerous awards, including the 2006 Research Team Award from the U.S. Army Construction Engineering Research Laboratory; the 2005 Bomem-Michelson Award from the Coblentz Society, presented to scientists who have advanced the techniques of vibrational, molecular, Raman or electronic spectroscopy in memory of Professor A.A. Michelson, developer of the Michelson interferometer; the 2004 Spectroscopy Society of Pittsburgh Award, which recognizes outstanding contributions in the field of spectroscopy; and the Spectrochemical Analysis Award from the ACS.

A 1977 Notre Dame graduate, Bohn received his doctorate in chemistry from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He has been a member of the Notre Dame faculty since 2006.

Bookmark and Share
Brennecke Receives $2.5 Million Energy Research Grant

DATE: MAY 28, 2010

The ARPA-E grant supports the Notre Dame Energy Center’s continued study of carbon dioxide capture.

Joan BrenneckeJoan M. Brennecke, Keating-Crawford Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Notre Dame, is the recipient of a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) grant for research that could fundamentally change the way the country uses and produces energy.

Brennecke received the $2.5-million grant through the department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) to study how solid compounds will turn into an ionic liquid when they react with CO2 and turn back into a solid when the CO2 is released. Ionic liquids require less energy than today’s approaches to capturing CO2.

In 2004, as part of a project sponsored by the DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory, a research team led by Brennecke and Edward J. Maginn, a Notre Dame professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, demonstrated that ionic liquids have the potential to efficiently capture CO2 from the flue gas of coal-fired plants. Ionic liquids, they believe, are a potentially pivotal component of an integrated system that can safely and economically sequester combustion-generated CO2, thereby mitigating its impact on climate change.

Internationally known for her research in the development of solvents, specifically supercritical fluids and ionic liquids, Brennecke’s research interests include supercritical fluid technology, ionic liquids, thermodynamics, environmentally benign chemical processing, and carbon dioxide separation, storage and usage.

Joan Brennecke receives Lawrence Award from Energy Secretary Steven ChuThroughout her career, Brennecke has received numerous awards for her research, as well as for her contributions in the classroom. Most recently, she was chosen to receive the Ernest Orlando Lawrence Award from the DOE.

She also was selected as the 2008 Julius Stieglitz Lecturer Award by the American Chemical Society (ACS). She also has received the 2007 John M. Prausnitz Award for outstanding achievement in applied chemical thermodynamics from the Conference on Properties and Phase Equilibria for Product and Process Design, the Professional Progress Award from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) and the 2001 Ipatieff Prize from the ACS in recognition of her high-pressure studies of the local structure of supercritical fluid solutions and the effect of this local structure on the rates of homogeneous reactions. In 1991, the National Science Foundation honored her with the Presidential Young Investigator Award.

A member of AIChE, the ACS and the American Society for Engineering Education, Brennecke is past chair of the Council for Chemical Research and currently serves on the editorial board of the journal Green Chemistry.

A graduate of the University of Texas, Brennecke received her master’s and doctoral degrees in chemical engineering from the University of Illinois. She has served as a Notre Dame faculty member since 1989.

Bookmark and Share