PDS Winners of Fall 2023

Zhiren Zhou

Zhiren Zhou

Zhiren Zhou is a master’s student in Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, with concentrations in Geotechnical Engineering and Structural Engineering. He earned his B.S. degree in Civil Engineering, focusing on Construction Engineering and Management, and received the Research Award 2022 from the University of Colorado Boulder. Additionally, he was the co-captain of the ASCE concrete canoe team in his undergraduate time. Currently, he is conducting research with Prof. Deodatis on developing a 3D model for the NYC underground soil. As of June 2023, he works as a Geotechnical Intern at LANGAN, with aspirations to become a Geotechnical Engineer upon graduation.

 

Punit Bhavnani

Punit Bhavnani

Punit Bhavnani, a graduate student at Columbia University, is pursuing a Master of Science in Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics with dual concentrations in Structural Engineering and Geotechnical Engineering. He completed his Bachelor of Technology in Civil Engineering at Nirma University, India, in 2022 and holds a Diploma in Civil Engineering from Tolani Foundation Gandhidham Polytechnic, India. Punit gained valuable experience as a Civil Engineering Intern at Nirman Engineers in Gandhidham and as a Structural Engineering Intern at Ducon Consultants Pvt. Ltd. in Ahmedabad. Currently, he works as a Bridge Design Intern at HNTB CO. in New York. Outside his academic and professional life, Punit enjoys exploring the city.

 

Srihari Balaji

Srihari Balaji

Srihari (Hari) is a first-year MS student in Mechanical Engineering at Columbia University. Hari obtained his BS in Mechanical Engineering with a Minor in Aerospace Engineering from Union College. Throughout his undergrad, Hari conducted extensive research in Planetary Science, Aerospace Engineering, and Astrophysics. For the past two years, he has been working as a Lead Researcher of a collegiate team with NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. In this capacity, he has helped develop the novel Plasma Rapid Oxidation Technique for Extending Component Tenability, through which he has demonstrated a 92.2% increase in the corrosion potential of Ti-6Al-4V alloys used in aerospace components. At Columbia, he is a Research Assistant in the Rock and Ice Mechanics Lab, studying the mechanical properties of ice mixtures and applying these properties to develop models of cryovolcanic eruption on Europa and Enceladus. Outside the lab, Hari is involved in the Columbia Space Initiative and Students Supporting Israel. 

 

Amanda Ooi

Amanda Ooi is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Chemical Engineering. She previously attended Imperial College London and earned an M.Eng. degree in Chemical Engineering. She is passionate about contributing to sustainable practices and paving the way towards a more environmentally conscious and resource-resilient future. Under her research advisor, Prof. Ah-Hyung Alissa Park, Amanda is interested in seeking innovative solutions that sustainably recover energy-relevant metals and critical elements while mitigating the environmental impacts of conventional mining practices. Her research focuses on innovative hydrometallurgical strategies, concentrating on ligand design and hybrid materials for recovering energy-relevant metals from unconventional end-of-life feedstocks.

 

Naveen Elango

I'm currently a second-year MS student in the Management Science & Engineering program under the IEOR department. Having a strong focus and interest in AI, I have always been intrigued by the applications of Large Language Models (LLM) like ChatGPT, Bard, etc., in addressing various real-world challenges. I plan to use the Scholarship to learn about the applications of LLMs and to advance my understanding of how these models can be effectively integrated into business solutions. This opportunity will not only deepen my expertise but also enable me to apply cutting-edge AI techniques to real-life business cases.

 

Joaquin Palacios

Joaquin

Joaquin Palacios is a passionate robotics researcher and engineer from Quito, Ecuador. He is pursuing a Master's in Mechanical Engineering with a Concentration in Robotics and Control. Joaquin's research interests range from medical robotics to complex robot motor skills, like manipulation and locomotion. He has been an active researcher at ROAM Laboratory under Professor Matei Ciocarlie for over two years, where he has tackled research projects on assistive robotics and designing dexterous robot hands. He recently attended IROS 2023, where he gave a spotlight presentation on the MyHand-SCI, a wearable robot that assists in grasping for Spinal Cord Injury individuals.

 

Kinnari Shah

Kinnari Shah

Kinnari Shah is a fifth-year Ph.D. candidate in the Yip Lab at Columbia University’s Department of Earth and Environmental Engineering. Her research focuses on emerging technologies at the energy-water-environment nexus, particularly for high-salinity desalination and zero-liquid discharge applications. Kinnari’s experimental work seeks to elucidate the fundamental mechanisms governing Temperature Swing Solvent Extraction, a green technology in the field of hypersaline desalination. Outside of the lab, Kinnari enjoys bike riding through New York City, seeing Broadway shows, and scuba diving.

 

Ye Tian

Ye Tian

Ye is a first-year Ph.D student in Biomedical Engineering, working with Dr. Kaveri Thakoor and Dr. Andrew Laine. His current research focuses on applying trustable and generalizable deep learning algorithms to aid in decision making in diagnosis and treatment. He works on various modalities of imaging data such as OCT, MRI and Eye Tracking Maps. His goal is to become an outstanding engineer that leverages technical skills and clinical knowledge, with specialty in collecting, processing and utilizing eye tracking data to benefit patients.

 

Devan Samant

Devan Samant

Devan Samant is a M.S. in Data Science student graduating in December 2023. Prior to Columbia Engineering, he worked for several years in a niche area of consulting called forensic analytics where he used data to investigate white-collar crime. Devan is now using that experience at the intersection of data science and climate science to help combat climate change. His research at Columbia’s Learning the Earth with Artificial Intelligence and Physics (LEAP) lab helps to better quantify CO2 absorption into the ocean. In his free time, Devan loves volunteering at a local animal shelter, trying new plant-based restaurants, and traveling.