​Travel Opportunities Provide New Insight for Students

Ohio State’s Office of Energy and Environment offers financial assistance to Ohio State students to attend or participate in conferences or seminars related to energy, the environment or sustainability, as well as to conduct research in sustainability issues.

During the 2015-2016 academic year, students traveled across the country, where they gave presentations, networked with professionals in their fields and gained new knowledge in their areas of study.

Annce Kadri and Conor Long

Two Ohio State students presented their research on the cost/benefit analysis of solar technology on college campuses at the MIT Energy Conference in Cambridge, Mass., March 3-7.

Annce Kadri and Conor Long attended diverse panels and seminars focused on the future of renewable energy. They also networked with professionals to gain insight in the energy field.

After attending the conference, Kadri says he wants to attend next year as well.

“I couldn’t have picked a better conference,” says Kadri. “I hope to use what I learned and apply it to my career.”

Kadri and Long published an article in the Journal of Science and Policy Governance, Aug. 2015, volume 7, issue 1.

Long, studying environment, economy, development and sustainability, and Kadri, studying environmental science, are both graduating seniors and plan to pursue careers in energy.

Kadri and Long at MIT Energy conference.


Sam Luther

Sam Luther, a senior welding engineering student, spent his spring break mentoring high school students on the future of energy March 18-26 at the Engineering a Green Future Expo in Reykjanes, Iceland.

Students were split into 15 teams to find sustainable solutions to meet energy needs in the future. At the end of the expo, Luther’s team was one of two chosen to display their solution on at the Nobel Museum in Switzerland.

Luther’s experience really opened his eyes to the future of energy.

“We have to work harder to reduce our environmental impact,” says Luther. “Iceland supplies electricity with renewable energy, but that doesn’t solve every problem.”

Luther starts his doctoral program in the fall at Ohio State and plans to continue in the field of sustainability and energy.

Luther mentored two teams on the future of energy.


Kelsey Shaler

Kelsey Shaler, a fifth-year mechanical engineering doctoral candidate, presented her research on wake effects on downstream wind turbines at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) SciTech Forum and Exposition.

Thousands of participants gathered at the annual conference, held Jan. 3-14 in San Diego, for networking, subconferences and presentations. Wind energy, which Shaler says is a less-focused field at Ohio State, was a major sub-conference topic at the conference, so Shaler was able to make new connections with her research and gain feedback on her work.

“Traveling is the most important thing you can do as a researcher,” says Shaler. “A lot of times you can find collaboration opportunities, which will strengthen your research and career.”

Shaler passed her candidacy in April and will publish her research in a journal or peer-reviewed article.

Balaji Ponnu Devanarayanan

Civil engineering doctoral candidate Balaji Ponnu Devanarayanan presented his research at the Transportation Research Board annual meeting in Washington, D.C., Jan 9-13.

The meeting, which attracted about 600 participants, encompassed a range of transportation modes. His presentation in the Transportation, Operation and Safety seminar highlighted his research on the impacts of adjacent lane vehicles, focusing on speed-spacing and car following. Throughout the conference he networked with university groups and even reconnected with his master’s advisor from India.

Ponnu Devanarayanan presented his research at the Transportation Research Board annual meeting.

He has published his research in Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Dec. 2015 Volume 82. He plans to submit his work to another journal in the coming months.

“I found my research from traveling,” says Balaji. “People had this theory on adjacent lane vehicles and speed spacing established, but no one had evidence to support it; that’s where I came in.”

Jonathan Ogland-Hand and Kelsey Hunter

Jonathan Ogland-Hand, environmental science doctoral student, and Kelsey Hunter, environmental engineering and water resources master’s candidate, attended the CO2 Summit II: Technologies and Opportunities Conference in Santa Ana Pueblo, N.M., this past April.

Hunter presented her master’s research on the co-optimization of enhanced water recovery and CO2 sequestration at the conference, where she was even awarded best poster for her presentation.

Ogland-Hand presented his research that deals with CO2 once it has been captured. Following his presentation, he was approached by a Stanford University postdoctoral student as well as an AECOM employee who were interested in potential future collaborations.

“I really appreciated the opportunity to network with other researchers in the field of CO2 capture and storage,” says Ogland-Hand. 

Julia Deitz and Pran Krishna Paul

Julia Deitz, currently pursuing a doctorate in materials science and engineering, attended the 43rd IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference in Portland, Ore., June 5-10 along with Pran Krishna Paul, graduate research associate in the Electronic Materials and Devices Laboratory.

The conference, where scientists and researchers came from around the globe, shared research related to photovoltaics (solar cells). At the five-day event, Krishna Paul gave a talk about his research along with presenting his poster. Krishna Paul’s research entails CIGS solar cells, which are thin-film solar cells used to convert sunlight into electric power, and focuses on the characterization of trap levels within these photovoltaic devices.

Krishna Paul presented his poster at the 43rd IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference.

In addition to learning from other peers and experts in the field, Deitz presented her research and findings on using electron microscopy to study photovoltaic materials at the atomic scale. She also had several interactions for potential collaborations with leading experts in her field. Deitz says, “This was definitely the biggest benefit to attending the conference.”

Shaun Fontanella

Shaun Fontanella, a graduate research assistant and doctoral candidate in geography, attended the University Consortium for Geographic Information Science 2016 Symposium in Scottsdale, Ariz., this past May.

The intent of the conference was to network, collaborate and engage with professors and researchers about Fontanella’s own ongoing projects, which include a 3-D Campus Viewer and the mapping of urban rural poverty. Among the people Fontanella spoke with were professors at Arizona State University, in hopes of taking his system and reproducing it in other academic places. 

Minghui Chen

Mingui Chen, doctoral student in nuclear engineering, attended the Advances in Thermal Hydraulics 2016 conference in New Orleans June 12-16. Chen presented a paper on design and dynamic modeling of a high-temperature printed circuit heat exchanger for next-generation nuclear plants. Many scholars in attendance showed significant interest in the dynamic modeling of Chen’s research, and he continues to work on development of next-generation nuclear plants. 

Learn more about funding support available for student research, scholarship, travel and projects related to energy, environment and sustainability.