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 Team

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Samantha McBride

William K. Gemmill Term Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering

Professor McBride received her PhD in Mechanical Engineering from MIT, her MS in Chemical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and a BS in Environmental Engineering from the University of Nevada, Reno. Prior to joining UPenn as an assistant professor in 2024, she worked at Princeton University as a Presidential Postdoctoral fellow under Professor Howard Stone. Her research interests lie at the intersection of water chemistry, transport phenomena, and interfacial engineering. She is passionate about water and sustainability and maintains involvement in sustainability, advocacy, and education projects outside of her research. Her other interests include microgravity research, water technologies for long-term human spaceflight, patterning phenomena and using art for science communications. She is the recipient of the American Physical Society Division of Fluid Dynamics Milton van Dyke Award, the American Society for Gravitational and Space Research Orr-Reynolds Distinguished Service Award, the Meredith Kamm Memorial Award for excellence in graduate studies, and a Mistletoe Research Fellowship.

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Felwa Alarwan

Master's, Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics

Felwa is a second-year MEAM Master’s student, holding a B.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering from Alfaisal University in Riyadh. During her undergraduate studies, Felwa interned at Bechtel Corporation, Saudi Aramco, and the Saudi Industrial Development Fund. She also led Alfaisal University’s Shell Eco Marathon team, tutored several courses in Physics and Mathematics, and served as the leader of the Academics team in the Engineering Student Association. Being the only female in her Mechanical Engineering batch inspired Felwa to become one of the founding board members of the first Saudi Women Engineers Society. Additionally, she holds the position of Vice President at Wathba, a Saudi youth community that enables and matches youth with qualified mentors. Felwa worked at NEOM, managing water projects for two years and is currently on a scholarship to pursue graduate studies in the technological advancements of renewable energy and water sustainability. Her interests in education, sustainability, and science drive her to pursue interdisciplinary research opportunities generally, and in fluid mechanics specifically, at UPenn.

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Rehan Kumar

Master's, Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics

Rehan Kumar is a master's student in Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics at the University of Pennsylvania. His academic excellence and commitment to innovation have earned him highest honors in his undergraduate studies, and he continues to drive progress in the field of mechanical engineering. With his strong background in thermal systems and heat transfer equipment design, Rehan developed a novel water cum air-cooled condenser for tropical climates that harvests water from the evaporator, resulting in a 5% increase in electrical efficiency. He explores heat transfer associated with salt crystal formation from evaporation of saline droplets on superhydrophobic surfaces in the McBride Lab. Currently, he is expanding his expertise in micro- and nano-fabrication techniques at the Quattrone Nanofabrication Facility, mastering various etching and deposition tools to create diverse micro- and nano-textures with tailored surface morphologies and wetting properties, further enhancing his research capabilities. Proficient in a range of computer-aided engineering tools, Rehan is driven to innovate sustainable solutions for real-world challenges.

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Samantha Ouyang

Undergraduate, Materials Science & Engineering and Entrepreneurship & Innovation

Samantha is a sophomore in the M&T program studying Materials Science & Engineering and Entrepreneurship & Innovation. With a lifelong passion for leveraging technology to solve global problems, prior to entering Penn, Samantha built numerous projects and ventures in blockchain, AI, hardware, chemistry, and materials that won international innovation prizes and thousands in seed funding; founded and scaled a women in STEM non-profit to reach 33K+ girls in 84+ countries; and represented Team Canada at the 2022 International Chemistry Olympiad; and for her work as a young, female technology entrepreneur, has been recognized by Forbes, IBM, Nikkei, and various 25 Under 25 lists. Samantha's research interests lie at the intersection of materials chemistry and sustainable development, including bio-based and bio-inspired materials, biopolymers, soft matter, smart materials, waste valorization, water purification, and other issues at the water-food-energy nexus. Her ultimate goal for the future is to build a startup combining nature-inspired processes with high-tech computational advances to design a more sustainable future.

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Joey Wu

Undergraduate, Bioengineering and Environmental Science

Joey Wu is a Taiwanese-American scientist in the Vagelos Integrated Program in Energy Research (VIPER) studying bioengineering and environmental science at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the founder of Waterroots, a nonprofit based on water safety education supported by the Philadelphia Water Department, Clinton Global Initiative, Millennium Fellowship, Stroud Water Research Center, and Water Center at Penn. Joey is an active climate activist, organizing events for Save the Meadows movements, acting as a Penn Climate Speaker, the Special Projects head of Toxisense, the deputy director of research for Climate Cardinals, and a member of SAGE (student advisory group for the environment). As the North America representative for the Tunza Ecological Ambassador program, Joey seeks to use open communication and interdisciplinary partnerships to fight climate change; harnessing volunteering and youth initiatives, he seeks to alleviate global famine and water insecurity.

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Auriani F. Gómez Cintrón

'NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates' Intern, General Microbiology

Auriani F. Gómez Cintrón, a sophomore student at the University of Puerto Rico in Humacao, is currently pursuing a General Microbiology degree. Since a young age, she has been captivated by the field of science and has always dreamt of building a career in STEM. Throughout her academic journey, she has developed a deep passion for research, particularly in the realm of clinical research. By shadowing doctors and gaining hands-on experience in surgical and implant procedures, her interest in STEM and clinical research has only grown stronger. From the very beginning of her college experience, Auriani actively sought out opportunities to immerse herself in the world of scientific inquiry. She has even ventured into the chemistry department at her university, collaborating with Dr. Ezio Fasoli on chemical sensors. In the summer of 2024, she joined McBride's lab at the University of Pennsylvania, where she is currently focused on developing a standard operating procedure for detecting environmental microplastics using fluorescence microscopy. These experiences have ignited her enthusiasm for exploring further opportunities in the fields of microbiology and biochemistry, which are the central pillars of her academic and professional aspirations.

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Luana Espinoza

'NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates' Intern, Chemistry and Mathematics

Luana is a Sophomore at Amherst College, majoring in Chemistry and Mathematics. At UPenn, Luana is working on methods to detect and remove microplastics using fluorescence microscopy, improve water quality analysis, and enhance nutrient recovery from wastewater through interfacial engineering techniques. At Amherst, she will work with Prof. Jacob Olshansky doing research related to physical chemistry, energy transfer, and nanoscale assemblies. At Amherst's Loeb Career Center, she designs newsletters, organizes events, and facilitates student-alumni connections. Her research in Latinoamerican and Film Studies includes collaborating with indigenous filmmakers to promote cultural affirmation through media. This research has been presented at the UN Forum and the New England Council of Latin American Studies Conference. Luana has demonstrated commitment to community service by founding the Global Buddies Program, supporting ESL students to adapt in the US while fostering cross-cultural connections, leading the UNICEF Club in organizing fundraising and awareness events, volunteering at a hospital, and working with the Active Minds Club to raise mental health awareness. Luana aims to grow her multidisciplinary skills and experiences to advance her interests in Chemistry, Sustainability, Renewable Energy, and Chemical Engineering.

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