Johnson and Johnson Scholars

Undergraduate Research Symposium ~ October 3, 2019 ~ Carleton Commons, Columbia University

The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science has been partnering with Johnson and Johnson in their WiSTEM2D program since 2017. Through this program Johnson and Johnson is providing funding grants to support women in STEM fields. At Columbia Engineering, we are using this grant to support up to 20 undergraduate women students in summer research opportunities. Please see our scholars for 2017 and 2018 below.

Students interested in being a Johnson and Johnson Summer Research Scholar for 2019 should locate a research opportunity with one of the SEAS faculty early on and ask the faculty to apply for this fund.

J&J Internship Supporting Diverse Talents in STEM

Name: Sapna Ramesh
Hometown: Rochester, NY
Year of Graduation: 2021
Faculty: Dr. Lauren Marbella
Major: Chemical Engineering
Research project description: The goal of my project is to construct an aqueous sodium ion battery and characterize its electrochemical performance with different electrolytes, additives, and surface modifications. Additionally, another goal of this project is to study the solid electrolyte interphase that forms when the battery cycles under different electrolyte and/or surface conditions.

Name: Angela Ye
Hometown: Saratoga
Year of Graduation: 2022
Faculty: Alan West
Major: Chemical Engineering
Research project description: This summer, I'm working on two projects. The first focuses on measuring the transference number of membranes used in vanadium redox batteries, which is uniquely resistant to degradation and thus used in grid energy storage. The second project investigates an electrochemical technique to extract copper from copper ore, a potential alternative to the current environmentally-damaging process. The sponsorship of the J&J Scholars program has allowed me to stay in NYC and begin researching in the West Group. I've really enjoyed my time not only in the lab but also talking to other undergraduate researchers, especially those also in the J&J program. I plan to continue with this research in the upcoming school year! 

Name: Sabrina Curtis
Hometown: Kaunakakai
Year of Graduation: 2020
Faculty: Adrian Brügger
Major: Mechanical Engineering
Research project description: For our summer research, we are developing an improved way to 3D print concrete. By looking at existing concrete extrusion mechanisms, we hope to revolutionize the way that concrete is printed. The culmination of our research and developments would result in a more affordable and accessible 3D printer for deployment in disaster stricken areas and potentially even space shelter development. My research partner is Daniela Durón García.​​​​​​​

Name: Daniela Durón García
Hometown: Seagoville, TX
Year of Graduation: May 2020
Faculty: Adrian Brügger
Major: Mechanical Engineering
Research project description: **I am working on the same project as Sabrina Curtis. Her description of the project fully encompasses all we can divulge on our research. The patent for our project is still pending.** Working alongside Sabrina Curtis, please see above! And thank you Johnson and Johnson so much for this opportunity!​​​​​​​

Name: Dongyi  Wang
Hometown: Beijing
Year of Graduation: May 2020
Faculty: Ah-Hyung (Alissa) Park
Major: Earth and Environmental Engineering
Research project description: At the beginning of this summer, I was working on the encapsulation of NOHMs for CO2 capture. Right now, I am testing the carbon dioxide capture capacity of some MOF (metal–organic framework) particles using a fix-bed adsorption system. ​​​​​​​

Name: Anya Volter
Hometown: Fort Lauderdale
Year of Graduation: May 2020
Faculty: Samuel Sia 
Major: Biomedical Engineering 
Research project description: I am helping design a microfluidic lab-on-a-chip device to diagnose specific mutations in cancer using a liquid biopsy. This chip would reduce the need for tissue biopsies and give same day results to reduce wait time for treatments. This summer I am working on designing and optimizing on-chip DNA extraction from plasma for amplification.. I am very excited to have this opportunity to learn about Johnson and Johnson, and to experience what it means to be a woman in STEM. ​​​​​​​

Name: Dingwen Xie
Hometown: New York
Year of Graduation: May 2020
Faculty: Sharon Di
Major: Operations Research
Research project description: More and more cities launched bikesharing system as an environmental-friendly and convenient transportation option. My research is focusing on the relationship between bikeshare and public transit: substitution or competition.   ​​​​​​​

Name: Elizabeth Whittier
Hometown: Springfield VA
Year of Graduation: 2021
Faculty: Ken Shepard
Major: EE
Research project description: I am working in the BioEE lab working on the characterization of fluid conductance, nanobubbles in particular, in nanopippetes. I am also working on the fabrication of an ultrasound receiver array which utilizes the photoacoustic effect. ​​​​​​​
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Name: Elisa Fang
Hometown: Seattle, WA
Year of Graduation: May 2020
Faculty: Helen Lu
Major: Biomedical Engineering
Research project description: My research focus is on the characterization and biomimicry of the human osteochondral, or cartilage-to-bone, interface. Clinically, this project is motivated by osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease which breaks down the cartilage and bone within a joint.  

What past students have said about their opportunity in the summer of 2018:

Rachel Mintz is a senior majoring in biomedical engineering. She conducts research in Professor Kam Leong’s Nanotherapeutics and Stem Cell Engineering Lab. The Johnson and Johnson Scholars Program has given her the opportunity to engage in thoughtful discussions with esteemed faculty, while providing her with a strong professional female support network.

The sponsorship of the Johnson and Johnson (J&J) scholars program has allowed me to spend a summer doing research in the department of chemical engineering here at SEAS. I have been investigating vanadium redox flow batteries (VRFBs), which have great potential as energy storage devices for renewable energy sources. My work focuses on quantifying the transference number of various vanadium oxidation states. The transference number indicates the fraction of current carried by a vanadium species across a membrane in a VRFB. Crossover of vanadium reduces the efficiency of the flow battery, which may ultimately cause it to degrade. Therefore, this analysis is significant because it informs the future design and implementation of VRFB technology. Throughout this experience, I have further developed my skills as a scientist and problem solver. The J&J program also provided exposure to other research fields through weekly seminars and provided career development experiences. I particularly enjoyed meeting with women professionals (including scientists and engineers) at a J&J site in NJ. I was inspired as they generously and genuinely shared the lessons they have learned as they journey through their distinct career paths. I would definitely recommend doing research through the J&J scholars program to any woman in SEAS. It is a great way to spend your summer!  

I really enjoyed the Johnson and Johnson summer research program. It was really helpful in figuring out what I want to do with my future. Before this summer, I really had no idea what I wanted to do--academia versus industry. Having met many Ph.D candidates at Columbia, many of whom wanted to pursue academia, I felt that I too would pursue it but I did not even have the faintest idea of the other side to this two-pronged decision. I didn't know really anyone who worked in industry as a chemical engineer (my major) so the entire idea of it was fuzzy and ill-defined. Visiting Ethicon with the program really changed that. During the site visit I met so many Chemical engineers who chose industry. Hearing their insights as to what R&D was like in industry compared to researching in academia really has compelled me to pursue a profession in Industry. This program is so helpful no matter your major. It is great to hear from professionals in industry and academia--you can't really make up your mind before you do. The program does a great job of facilitating meaningful and helpful conversations during the JnJ specific events and introduces incredible professors and their research during the Sumer@SEAS mini-lecture series. I would very much recommend this program for anyone who is, like me, still confused about her future.

At the halfway mark in my undergraduate journey, I still had many questions about the paths I could take after graduation. This summer offered me the opportunity to discover what I am truly passionate about by engaging in my own area of research and hearing the stories of outstanding women in academia and industry. The support and resources I have gained from being a Johnson & Johnson scholar has allowed me to visit industry centers, gain helpful insights about graduate school and careers, and even mentor a high school student in my lab. From all that I have gained this summer, I now have greater focus and and a broader perspective on how to best spend my last two years of college and prepare for the road beyond.

Dongyi Wang is a rising junior majoring in Earth and Environmental Engineering. She joined Professor Alissa Park’s group in fall 2017. Her research this summer focuses on the broad topic of Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage (CCUS). One of the most eminent CCUS technologies is ex-situ mineral carbonation, which mimics natural weathering process between silicate mineral and carbon dioxide. Specifically, her research studies the dissolution behavior of heat-treated serpentine (Mg2SiO4) in an internal grinding system to enhance magnesium dissolution, which in turn increase CO2 capture by precipitation of Mg-carbonate. This study will provide perspectives for developing highly efficient large-scale PCO2 swing mineral carbonation process. Summer is a great opportunity to learn more about the project you are working on and do more experiments. Dongyi is from Beijing, China. In her free time, she enjoys reading and cooking.

During the summer of 2018, I worked in Cellular Engineering Laboratory as an undergraduate research assistant. My research was about studying monocyte recruitment into the joint space using tissue engineered synovium. Being a JnJ scholar, I had the opportunity to meet many successful women in engineering through various workshops and seminars. Their stories have made me confident about my career choice which is pursuing a PhD degree in Biomedical Engineering.

This summer has been both productive and enriching. Thanks to the Johnson & Johnson Scholars Program, I got to network with incredible women working in the industry and learned how to build my own personal and professional brand."