Elizabeth Volpe

Mentor: Dr. Helena Hagelin-Weaver
College of Engineering
"I got into research because I wanted to further my educational experience by getting involved with research and learn what it is like to conduct research in a laboratory setting."


Chemical Engineering



Research Interests

  • Chemical Engineering
  • Catalysis
  • Nanoparticles

Academic Awards

  • Engineering Leadership Circle
  • Chemical Engineering Departmental Scholarship
  • National Society of Collegiate Scholars
  • Raytheon Scholarship Recipient


  • Society of Women Engineers
  • American Institute of Chemical Engineers
  • Engineering Leadership Circle


  • Habitat for Humanity
  • Alachua County Humane Society
  • Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day

Hobbies and Interests

  • Photography
  • Percussion
  • Hiking
  • Football

Research Description

Synthesis of Well-Defined Copper Catalysts  Supported on Shape-Selected Nanoparticle Oxides

Preparing well-defined solid catalysts is one of the main challenges in heterogeneous catalysis.  Solid catalysts often consist of high surface area supports with a range of surface sites onto which active metals are deposited, sometimes resulting in a wide distribution of active metal particle sizes.  This means that hetereogeneous catalyst development often involves a trial-and-error approach.  Our goal is to prepare well-defined heterogeneous catalysts using shape-selected nanoparticle oxides as catalyst supports.  The active metal will then be carefully deposited onto these supports using different methods.  With more well-defined catalysts, the identification of structure-activity relationships is facilitated and can allow a more focused catalyst development strategy.