2021-2023 Trainee Cohort

Jamael Ajah – jajah@udel.edu

UD Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Jamael is from Ebonyi State, in the South-Eastern part of Nigeria. He obtained his bachelor’s in Chemical Engineering from the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka in 2017, and his masters in Materials Science and Engineering, from the African University of Science and Technology, Abuja Nigeria in 2021. Currently, he is a Ph.D. student in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, in the Epps group, where he’s focused on the valorization of lignocellulose biomass using novel techniques. Jamael joined the NRT program to expand his knowledge in applying process modeling, techno-economic analysis, and life-cycle assessment in valorizing biomass. The NRT traineeship has also given him the opportunity to network and interact with professionals cutting across industry and academia. Outside the lab, Jamael likes meeting new people, cooking, and listening to music.

Julian Brown – jobrown17@students.desu.edu

DSU Chemistry

Julian Brown is a second-year master student at Delaware State University in the Applied Chemistry program. His current research is in drug discovery, he is looking at cannabinoids as an alternative for SSRIs used to treat anxiety disorders and depression. His hobbies are reading, and listening to music. When he finish his masters, he wants to go into industry working in biochemical research and development; eventually transitioning into lab management and outreach.

Sean Farrington – sfarr@udel.edu

UD Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Sean is from Sandwich, Massachusetts, and attended The University of Massachusetts Amherst for his B.S. in chemical engineering. As an undergraduate, Sean researched with a professor on the production of the nanomaterial graphene. Sean was an R&D intern with Ocean Spray studying heat transfer improvements for the drying process of cranberries. These experiences set a foundation for excitement in academic research where he is now advised by Antony Beris and Norm Wagner in The Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at The University of Delaware. Sean studies the flow and deformation of human blood which is known as hemorheology. Sean is developing a data-driven model to connect physiological components of blood to the mechanical properties. Sean joined the NRT because the cross-disciplinary goals of the program will assist his own research where he is trying to intersect biology, rheology, and data-science. Outside of research, Sean spends his free time working on his motorcycle, cooking, and growing garlic.

Kayla Hepler – khepler@udel.edu

UD Materials Science and Engineering

Kayla is from Cleveland, Ohio and did her undergraduate studies at The Ohio State University in Materials Science & Engineering with a research focus in additive manufacturing of titanium. During her undergrad she had the opportunity to work with data science and computing within her research project while also gaining exposure to soft materials in her course work and knew she would relish the opportunity to combine the two in grad school. Additionally, she was very active in a humanitarian engineering scholars community that was passionate about combining engineering knowledge with community outreach. Thus, her current research project focused on creating next generation tactile aids using materials chemistry in combination with the NRT’s goals was a natural fit leading her to the University of Delaware. In her free time she enjoys sailing, running, and exploring new coffee shops!

Destiny King – dking14@students.desu.edu

DSU Chemistry

Being in a military family, Destiny grew up across America. She began her education at Delaware State University by enrolling in the Early College High School. After graduating, she finished her Bachelor’s in Biological Sciences, focusing on medical research. She gained a love for Biochemistry during her undergraduate years and felt that having a solid background in chemical processes would help to understand biological systems. After she decided to pursue her Master’s, she chose to major in Chemistry. The NRT fellowship’s interdisciplinary approach is exactly what Destiny was looking for as the next step in her education.  At first, she was interested in using chemistry to solve biological problems, but NRT’s curriculum opened doors to machine learning and computing science. Combining these technologies with biology can save years in pharmaceutical and medical research and improve many lives. Destiny full-heartedly believes that joining NRT was one of the best decisions she made on her journey to become a Biochemist.

George Kramarenko – gkram@udel.edu

UD Biomedical Engineering

George grew up in Bucks County, PA and went to Temple University for his bachelor’s and master’s in Bioengineering. Currently, he is a biomedical engineering PhD student at the University of Delaware, and is a member of the Day Lab, which develops innovative nanomaterials that enable high precision therapy of cancer and other diseases. He chose biomedical engineering because he believe this field is best able to bridge the gap between engineering and his love for science with the goal of improving the lives of others. The NRT program interested him because he wanted to learn more about computing and data science and how these fields can be applied for future drug discovery and material innovation. George believes that this NRT traineeship best allows him to gain valuable technical and interpersonal skills in areas that will make him a more well-rounded biomedical engineer.

Stephen Kronenberger – skronen@udel.edu

UD Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Stephen is from Akron, Ohio, and completed his B.S. in chemical engineering at the Rochester Institute of Technology. During his undergrad, he had internships at SolEpoxy and Appvion, working on research projects to develop new products and improve product quality for epoxy molding compounds and paper coatings, respectively. Stephen is currently a PhD student in the University of Delaware Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department, where he is member of the Jayaraman lab and works on computational studies on the structure of polymer networks. The NRT program will help him implement data science and machine learning techniques into his research. Outside of research, Stephen enjoys running, rock climbing, and cooking.

Peter Odion Osazuwa – posazuwa@udel.edu

UD Materials Science and Engineering

Peter grew up in Warri, Nigeria and has a BS in Biochemistry from Delta State University. He also holds an MS in Analytical Chemistry from the University of Tartu, Estonia, and an MS (Tech) in Analytical Chemistry from Åbo Akademi University, Finland. He is fascinated with organic semiconductors and currently develops novel polymeric materials for bioelectronic applications. Via the NRT program, Peter will acquire further skills in data science and machine learning which will be used to develop polymers with improved properties for a wide range of applications. In his free time, he enjoys watching/playing soccer and hiking!

Alison Shapiro – ajshap@udel.edu 

UD Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Alison is from Pittsburgh, PA and did her undergraduate studies at Johns Hopkins University. She graduated in 2020 with a degree in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and a minor in Global Environmental Change and Sustainability and then worked at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) on the synthesis of sustainable polymers. Currently, she is a Chemical Engineering PhD student and a member of the Epps group, where her research focuses on the synthesis and characterization of polymers from lignocellulosic biomass.  Alison is passionate about developing sustainable materials, a complex challenge that requires the integration of computational and experimental methods. The NRT traineeship will allow her to develop the cross disciplinary skills necessary to collaborate successfully with other professionals to find such solutions throughout her career. Outside the lab, Alison enjoys swimming, climbing, hiking, and reading.

Ai Nin Yang – ainin@udel.edu

UD Chemistry & Biochemistry

Ai-Nin Yang, a graduate student in Chemistry, got her B.A. in Chemistry from National Taiwan Normal University in 2020. Her undergrad research work is based on electroactive MOFs as counter electrodes for DSSCs. She is now working on bottlebrush polymers with certain functions for organic electronics. She is a foodie.