"I applied to the University Scholars Program because I saw an opportunity to conduct research and present it at a university-wide forum where I could interact with peer undergraduate student researchers in a broad scope of subject areas and topics."
Materials Science and Engineering
I currently conduct research in particle science with the Particle Engineering Research Center (PERC) at UF. Specifically, I work with optimizing photocatalytic materials which are materials that use light to trigger reactions. I plan to work toward an advanced degree in materials science and hopefully make a significant contribution to energy research - particularly alternative or "green" energy.
Academic and Other Awards
- University Scholars Program Scholarship (2011-2012)
- Dean's List (2009-2011))
- F.N. Rhines and W.R. Tarr Memorial Scholarship (2010-2011)
- Vladimir Grodsky Memorial Scholarship (2009-2010)
- Florida Bright Futures (2009)
- UF Symphonic Bankd (2009)
- UF Concert Band (2010)
- 65th Annual Florida Engineer's Fair (2010)
- Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS)
Since entering UF, I have participated in builds for Habitat for Humanity on occasion. This past summer of 2011, however, I decided to forgo taking summer classes and I traveled to Bagong Silang, Philippines where I spent two weeks building houses for those in poverty with Gawad Kalinga - an international Filipino-based nonprofit organization.
Hobbies and Interests
- Playing piano, trumpet, guitar, gator football, and spending time with family and friends.
Enhanced Photocatalytic Activity of Two-Dimensional Mixed-Phase Titanium Dioxide Particles
Titanium dioxide (TiO2) is a nonstoichiometric semiconductor which exhibits several unique properties. For centuries, it has been commonly used as white pigment due to its effectiveness at scattering visible light. The photocatalytic properties of titanium dioxide were unknown until 1972 when Fujishima and Honda discovered the photocatalytic splitting of water using titanium dioxide electrodes. Research into the nature of photocatalysis has potential to address many energy and environmental related challenges including cost-effective water purification, dye-sensitized solar cell electrodes, electrolysis, and lithium-ion battery electrode use. Currently, the prevailing standard commercial photocatalyst is a flame-spray pyrolysis titania nanopowder, such as Degussa P25, which features mixed phases of titanium dioxide in small, isotropic particles. P25 has disadvantages in being difficult to filter out due to small size and a less than optimal surface area to volume ratio. In order to address such issues, a titanium dioxide particle with a flake morphology is proposed which will have a high surface area for photocatalysis as well as a large enough diameter for easy filtration. This feature of filtration is important, since titanium dioxide can be recovered and reused as a catalyst.. Physically, the phase composition and microstructure of the material will be tailored to maximize photocatalytic efficiency of the base material. Likewise, the particle size and porosity will be optimized to provide efficient separation of the particle from an aqueous suspension while maintaining a high specific surface area. Chemically, the material will be surface-modified with conductive materials to further increase efficiency and allow the catalyst to extend its operating range from UV only to UV and visible wavelengths.. With this modification, natural sunlight - which contains ultraviolet, visible light, and infrared - can be more efficiently used. Through synthesis, processing, characterization, and testing, a more ideal photocatalyst can be created.