Upward Bound Students Discover Energy at Notre Dame

Author: Anne Pillai

This summer, 28 South Bend high school students from Notre Dame’s TRiO Upward Bound (UB) program learned what it was like to do research on a college campus. The Center for Sustainable Energy at Notre Dame (ND Energy) coordinated hands-on experiences for the group in three different fields of science and engineering affiliated with energy research.

Trio 2018 Tsui Lab

Assistant Professor Emily Tsui from the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry provided two sessions to explore crystal formation. Her team brought the group into the lab to create their own crystals and showed them the techniques and instruments they work with on a daily basis. Thanks to Moises Ballesteros, Keith Schival, Jonathan Stoffel, Greg Kortman, and Maddie Mettey for their assistance.

A second learning experience involved interacting with researchers working with the Center for Innovative and Strategic Transformation of Alkane Resources (CISTAR). William Schneider, H. Clifford and Evelyn A. Brosey Professor of Engineering, summarized the goals of the center and engaged the students in discussion. They also toured the catalysis lab where Notre Dame’s portion of the experimentation is progressing and participated in a hands-on demonstration. Graduate students who aided in this portion of the tour were Justin Easa, Jeonghyun Ko, Joshua Wright, Jerry Crum, Neha Mehra, Galiya Magazova, Jessica Muhlenkamp, and undergraduate Aaron Roe.

The third event prepared for the UB group was “Life as a Geologist.” Presenters were Ginger Sigmon, managing director of ND Energy, ND Energy Postdoctoral Fellow Tyler Spano, and Samuel Perry, graduate student in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences. In addition to explaining the wide variety of topics that geologists study, the three discussed some of the interesting places they have traveled as geologists to study earth processes and investigate metals and minerals.

Trio 2018 Schneider

The Upward Bound program was initiated by Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, C.S.C., in 1966 as a way to prepare, support, and enrich educational opportunities for talented high school students. During the Summer Academy, participants live on campus and take courses such as Algebra II and Pre-Calculus for high school credit. Over 2,000 local students have benefited from this program since its inception. This summer, one of those students stated that he now wants to be a geologist. ND Energy is proud to have played a role in helping this student prepare for his next step in higher education.


ND Energy is a University Research Center whose mission is to build a better world by creating new energy technologies and systems and educating individuals to help solve the most critical energy challenges facing our world today. For more information, visit the ND Energy website at energy.nd.edu or contact Barbara Villarosa, Business and Communications Program Director, at bvillaro@nd.edu or 574-631-4776

Originally published by Anne Pillai at energy.nd.edu on August 09, 2018.