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Engineering | Undergraduate Research

Sofia Herrera, Travel Grant

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Sofia Herrera, Travel Grant

Recently, chemical engineer and Barrett Honors student Sofia Herrera had the opportunity to attend the North American Membrane Society Conference in Boston. Although the conference was a small one, a variety of students, professors, and industry leaders – all dedicated to membrane applications – were in attendance.

Sofia attended the conference in order to present her research entitled “Solution-Cast Membranes for Wastewater Recovery: A New Chemical-Resistant Nanocomposite Design.” Her project was done under the mentorship of Dr. Mary Laura Lind and focused on the creation of a new resilient membrane that could be used to tap new water sources.

She was excited to receive feedback and learn about other applications for her research.

In addition to the poster session, Sofia was also able to attend many oral sessions and workshops in order to broaden not only her research, but her professional network as well. The conference hosted to speakers from a wide range of institutions, including industry, graduate schools and national laboratories. These speakers spoke to attendees about their personal experiences, the pros and cons of their jobs, and options for after graduate school.

“From what I learned from the presentations, I can now say that I hope to work in product development as a project manager ,” said Sofia.

Her time spent networking was Sofia’s favorite part of the conference. At the NAMS signature event, Lunch with Legends, she was able to have lunch with some extremely influential engineers, including a few from W.L. Gore, and even give them her resume.

She reported, “It was a great opportunity that opened so many doors.”

After speaking with many professionals, Sofia decided she wanted to stick with her research and hopefully present again next year with a fully completed membrane design. After that, she plans to continue with school to get her masters degree in either chemical or systems engineering.

Overall, Sofia’s experience at the North American Membrane Society Conference was influential, and helped her realize more of her academic and career goals.

Going to a conference? Have research-related travel needs? Apply for the Undergraduate Research Travel Grant!

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