2022-2024 Trainee Cohort

Erik Anderson – ejanders@udel.edu

UD Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Erik is from Montgomery County, PA. He attended the University of Delaware in 2013 and began his career as an engineer working for the DuPont company in their Process Safety and Fire Protection group and subsequently transitioned to process development in the oil and gas and electronics materials sectors. During his time at DuPont he completed a Master’s Degree in Chemical Engineering from the North Carolina State University where he became charmed with molecular modeling and scientific computing. After leaving DuPont, Erik had a year-long tenure as a senior process engineer at a pharmaceutical company before deciding to pursue his PhD in chemical engineering at UD. His research focuses on the computational prediction of structure-property relationships in soft materials. His research aims focus on the application of physics and data-driven models for the prediction of transport properties of materials encapsulated in biocompatible vesicles, optical response of organic nanoparticles, and rheology in polymer solutions. Erik believes strongly that the NRT program will be able to help him marry his industrial experience with advanced computational tools for materials design and discovery.

Shweta Burgula – shwetab@udel.edu

UD Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Shweta is a graduate student interested in computational methods applied to soft matter. During her undergraduate studies at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, she worked in Professor Helen Zha’s lab to observe the impact of silk fibroin polymer design on the mechanical properties of the self-assembled structure through molecular dynamics simulations. The experience of working on computational research in an experimental group gave her an appreciation of the importance of effective communication and collaboration. Shweta is currently co-advised by Professor Arthi Jayaraman and Professor April Kloxin. Her current research is to establish a design-structure-property relationship for collagen-like peptides using molecular dynamics simulations and machine learning to expedite the research and development of new collagen-based therapeutics (such as tissue engineering and wound dressings). Through the NRT program, Shweta hopes to gain exposure to experimental research techniques and designs, which she will incorporate into her own research. As an aspiring professor, Shweta will apply the skills she learned to facilitate new collaborations with experimental groups. Outside of research, Shweta enjoys crocheting, participating in outreach, and teaching.

Jamie Holmes – jholmes20@students.desu.edu

DSU Chemistry

Jamie was born in Washington, DC, and currently resides in Kent County, DE. Jamie has a B.S. degree in Chemistry and a Master’s in Teaching with a concentration in Science Education. Jamie’s professional experience includes high school chemistry teacher and pharmaceutical and medical device sales. She is currently a 3rd-year Applied Chemistry Ph.D. student at Delaware State University. She is performing advanced research in the Delaware State Water Analysis Group (DSWAG) under Dr. Kimberly Milligan, conducting a computational review of the Effect of Cannabinoid Acids on COVID-19. Additionally, Jamie serves as the Recitation and CUREs Hemp Initiative Lab instructor for General Chemistry students. Upon graduation, Jamie would like to pursue a career as a Medical Science Liaison in the Pharmaceutical Industry. Jamie’s hobbies are singing, reading, and serving with her husband in ministry. She is a wife of twenty-four years, a mother of two adult children, an author, a Women’s Empowerment speaker, a small group founder, and a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Kelsey Koutsoukos – kkoutsou@udel.edu

UD Materials Science & Engineering

Kelsey (he/him/his) is a graduate student in Materials Science and Engineering. He received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Before starting his graduate studies, Kelsey spent 10 months at Merck as an intern, working on optimization of a photoredox catalyzed reaction of bicyclo[1.1.1]pentyl products and developing a new methodology for late-stage functionalization of non-canonical amino acids.  At UD, Kelsey joined the lab of Dr. Laure Kayser, and is now designing precise polymeric materials for mixed ionic-electronic conduction. In the NRT program, he is excited to learn molecular modeling and simulations in order to streamline access to these materials. Outside of work, Kelsey enjoys lifting weights, traveling, learning languages, reading queer lit, and chilling with his dog, Pike!

Justin Labombard – justlab@udel.edu

UD Electrical & Computer Engineering

Justin is from Magnolia, Delaware, and got his B. S. in Electrical Engineering at the University of Delaware. During his undergraduate years, he worked under one of his current advisors, Dr. Brockmeier, to research sparse approximation algorithms on ECOG waveforms. This research fostered his interest in data science and signal processing. His advisors are Dr. Barner and Dr. Brockmeier in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department. His current research focuses on regret-based bayesian optimization, which includes the price of data collection as a factor in classification problems. Justin joined the NRT traineeship to gain experience working with people outside of his field. He believes the NRT program will help him to gain new skills and improve his abilities. Outside of research, Justin enjoys automating tasks with code, designing circuits, and playing with his dogs.

Juliana Nam – jnam@udel.edu

UD Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Juliana is from Bayside, NY, and completed her bachelors in Chemical Engineering at Cornell University. During her undergrad, she was an undergraduate researcher in the Yang Lab working on Orthogonally Engineered Biointerfaces and Enzymatic Membrane Reactions. Currently, she is a Ph.D. student in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering in the Bayles lab, where she focuses on advective assembly with aspects of machine learning and biomaterials. In her free time, Juliana enjoys cooking, watching movies, reading, and working out.

Ana Maria Mosquera Rodriquez – anamaria@udel.edu

UD Materials Science & Engineering

Ana Maria Mosquera Rodriquez is from Colombia, where she obtained her bachelor’s in Chemical Engineering from The Industrial University of Santander (UIS). She completed her master’s degree at AGH- University of Science and Technology in Krakow.Poland, thanks to a polish scholarship. Currently, she is a Ph.D. student in Materials Science and Engineering in the Kiick group. Her research topic is to investigate the phase separation and self-assembly of resilin-like polypeptides (RLPs) in nanostructures and hydrogels to impart thermal responsiveness and controlled nano/micro-structures that can improve hydrogel mechanical properties. The NRT MIDAS program will allow her to interact with professionals in the industry and academia. In her free time, she loves reading action books, biking, and cooking.

Jay Shah – jayshah@udel.edu

UD Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Jay is from Mumbai, India, and received his B.Tech. in chemical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Gandhinagar. Throughout his undergraduate studies, he gained research experience in a wide range of fields, including experimental work in nanoparticle synthesis, computational approaches for assessing thermodynamic and mechanical parameters, and the development of machine-learning models capable of detecting anomalies. Jay is a Ph.D. student in the University of Delaware’s Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, where he works in the Jayaraman lab on computational studies of polysulfamide structure. He will be able to incorporate data science and machine learning techniques into his research via the NRT program. Aside from contemplating ways to create a more sustainable future, he enjoys playing the piano and table tennis, as well as reading about topics that interest him, such as entrepreneurship or philosophy (a new hobby), to gain a broader perspective on the world around us.

Tasia Walker – tswalker@desu.edu

DSU Chemistry

Tasia Walker is a Ph.D. Student in the Chemistry department at Delaware State University. She currently is in the research group of Dr. Qiquan Wang where she conducts research on wastewater treatment. During her time at Delaware State University she was able to serve as Corresponding Officer and then to Vice President of NOBCChE. Her future aspirations include, starting her own testing laboratory to service Southern New Jersey and surrounding areas. She is an avid traveler and she loves spending time with her family.