Nav: Home

Engineering student wins NSF research fellowship

May 02, 2016

A University of Houston student set to graduate this spring has been awarded a graduate research fellowship from the National Science Foundation, propelling him toward a graduate degree in chemical engineering.

Ricardo Sosa received the 2016 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, a competitive 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.

Jeffrey Rimer, Ernest J. and Barbara M. Henley Associate Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, hired Sosa to work in his lab while Sosa was just a freshman.

"It is not often that I accept students at the freshman level, but I made an exception for Ricardo," Rimer said. "Having met him the year before he started at UH, I was impressed with his enthusiasm for research. During the past four years, his performance in my laboratory has been nothing short of outstanding."

Sosa will enter graduate school to continue his studies in chemical engineering at UH in the fall, and the NSF fellowship will help to fund his work.

"Ricardo has demonstrated the ability to conduct graduate-level research, and his selection for this prestigious award is reflective of his hard work and productivity," Rimer said.

Sosa submitted the winning proposal based on research he has done in Rimer's lab.

The two first met when Sosa was a high school senior, taking a research class at KIPP Houston High School, and Rimer was a guest speaker. Like most high school students, Sosa didn't really know what engineers did, but teachers steered him toward engineering because of his strength in math and science. When Rimer talked about working with kidney stones, a painful condition caused when small, hard mineral deposits form inside the kidneys, Sosa was intrigued.

They began an email correspondence, and after Sosa enrolled at UH with plans to major in biomedical engineering, Rimer sent a note about an undergraduate opening in his lab. Sosa jumped at the chance.

"It ended up hurting me with grades because I spent so much time there, but it turned out to be a great experience," he said.

He soon changed his major to chemical engineering. The NSF fellowship covers educational costs and a stipend for three years over a five-year period. It does not require students to work only on the project submitted with their application, but Sosa said he expects to continue the work with kidney stones - studying how organic modifiers, like peptides and proteins, inhibit or promote the growth of kidney stones - at least for now.

He also has been a co-author on two scientific papers highlighting the research, which he said ultimately could lead to new treatments or a preventive treatment.

In addition to his undergraduate research, he has been active in promoting chemical engineering with local high school students, serving as co-chair of the UH chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers outreach committee.
-end-


University of Houston

Related Engineering Articles:

Engineering a new cancer detection tool
E. coli may have potentially harmful effects but scientists in Australia have discovered this bacterium produces a toxin which binds to an unusual sugar that is part of carbohydrate structures present on cells not usually produced by healthy cells.
Engineering heart valves for the many
The Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering and the University of Zurich announced today a cross-institutional team effort to generate a functional heart valve replacement with the capacity for repair, regeneration, and growth.
Geosciences-inspired engineering
The Mackenzie Dike Swarm and the roughly 120 other known giant dike swarms located across the planet may also provide useful information about efficient extraction of oil and natural gas in today's modern world.
Engineering success
Academically strong, low-income would-be engineers get the boost they need to complete their undergraduate degrees.
HKU Engineering Professor Ron Hui named a Fellow by the UK Royal Academy of Engineering
Professor Ron Hui, Chair Professor of Power Electronics and Philip Wong Wilson Wong Professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of Hong Kong, has been named a Fellow by the Royal Academy of Engineering, UK, one of the most prestigious national academies.
Engineering a better biofuel
The often-maligned E. coli bacteria has powerhouse potential: in the lab, it has the ability to crank out fuels, pharmaceuticals and other useful products at a rapid rate.
Pascali honored for contributions to engineering education
Raresh Pascali, instructional associate professor in the Mechanical Engineering Technology Program at the University of Houston, has been named the 2016 recipient of the Ross Kastor Educator Award.
Scaling up tissue engineering
A team at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University and the Harvard John A.
Engineering material magic
University of Utah engineers have discovered a new kind of 2-D semiconducting material for electronics that opens the door for much speedier computers and smartphones that also consume a lot less power.
Engineering academic elected a Fellow of the IEEE
A University of Bristol academic has been elected a Fellow of the world's largest and most prestigious professional association for the advancement of technology.

Related Engineering Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Changing The World
What does it take to change the world for the better? This hour, TED speakers explore ideas on activism—what motivates it, why it matters, and how each of us can make a difference. Guests include civil rights activist Ruby Sales, labor leader and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta, author Jeremy Heimans, "craftivist" Sarah Corbett, and designer and futurist Angela Oguntala.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#521 The Curious Life of Krill
Krill may be one of the most abundant forms of life on our planet... but it turns out we don't know that much about them. For a create that underpins a massive ocean ecosystem and lives in our oceans in massive numbers, they're surprisingly difficult to study. We sit down and shine some light on these underappreciated crustaceans with Stephen Nicol, Adjunct Professor at the University of Tasmania, Scientific Advisor to the Association of Responsible Krill Harvesting Companies, and author of the book "The Curious Life of Krill: A Conservation Story from the Bottom of the World".