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Provost Short Recognizes Outstanding Student Scholars April 12, 2016

Dear University of Houston Faculty, Staff, and Students:

Please join me in congratulating four University of Houston students who have been recognized for their research and dedication in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields. We are proud to congratulate Ricardo Sosa as a recipient of the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (NSFGRF). The NSFGRF program is a highly competitive and prestigious award open to undergraduate seniors and early graduate students pursuing a master's or doctoral degree in the social sciences, STEM, or STEM education fields. Sophia Ewens and Kyle Karinshak were named Honorable Mentions for the NSFGRF, and Tam Nguyen is an Honorable Mention for the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, which recognizes students for their outstanding undergraduate research accomplishments.

2016 NSFGRF Recipient - Ricardo Sosa

Ricardo Sosa is a senior chemical engineering major and has been conducting research under the mentorship of Dr. Jeffrey Rimer in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering since the fall semester of his freshman year. Ricardo's research investigates how organic modifiers, like peptides and proteins, inhibit or promote the growth of kidney stones. Ricardo is a co-author on two publications highlighting the findings of this work. Outside of the lab, Ricardo is extensively involved in the local community and serves as the co-chair of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) Outreach Committee (UH chapter). As co-chair, Ricardo coordinated several outreach events in which AIChE members spoke with local high school students about pursuing a college degree, particularly in the field of engineering. This fall, Ricardo will begin his graduate studies in chemical engineering at the University of Houston.

2016 NSFGRF Honorable Mention - Sophia Ewens
Sophia Ewens is a senior biochemical and biophysical sciences major and member of the Honors College. During her sophomore year, Sophia conducted research on functionalized gold-silver nano shells under the mentorship of Dr. T. Randall Lee in the Department of Chemistry. Sophia also conducted research under the guidance of Dr. Timothy Cooper in the Department of Biology and Biochemistry on genetic mutations and microbial evolution during the fall semester of her senior year. Sophia's long-term research goals center on environmental restoration and protection and are inspired by the summer research she conducted in the lab of Dr. Claudia Schmidt-Dannert at the University of Minnesota. That research focused on bacterial microcompartments and biofuel synthesis. In the spring of 2015, Sophia was recognized as a Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship Honorable Mention for her commitment to research and will begin pursuing a Ph.D. in microbiology at the University of California Berkeley this fall.

2016 NSFGRF Honorable Mention - Kyle Karinshak

Kyle Karinshak is a University of Houston chemical engineering graduate student and is completing his doctoral research on catalysts in the lab of Dr. William Epling in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. Kyle received his undergraduate degree from the University of Oklahoma in May 2015. As an undergraduate student, Kyle participated in several Research Experience for Undergraduate (REU) programs, including the University of Houston Innovation and Nanotechnology REU program. Kyle has also interned at NASA, where he worked to improve the thermal propagation safety of space suit batteries.

2016 Barry M. Goldwater Honorable Mention - Tam Nguyen

Tam Nguyen is a junior mechanical engineering major and member of the Honors College. Tam has been conducting research on the stretchability and ionic conductivity of porous solid polymer electrolytes under the mentorship of Dr. Haleh Ardebili since she transferred to the University of Houston (UH) in the fall of 2014. To broaden her research background, Tam participated in the 2015 UH Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program. As a SURF participant, Tam constructed a mathematical model on the initial-condition sensitivity of the chaos theory under the direction of Dr. Ralph Metcalfe. Tam is also a Provost's Undergraduate Research Scholarship recipient. Ultimately, Tam would like to pursue a research career devoted to the development of high power lithium-ion batteries to increase the utilization of electric vehicles and renewable energy.

I am proud to support the successes of our students, faculty, and staff. Please join me in congratulating these outstanding individuals.

Warm regards,

Paula Myrick Short