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UMEI Summer Fellows

The University of Michigan Energy Institute (UMEI), in partnership with the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) offered selected U-M undergraduates at all years of study a 10-week fellowship to work under the supervision of a U-M faculty member in any field on research projects related to energy.

Meet the 2020 University of Michigan Energy Institute Summer Fellows:

Isaac Bromley-Dulfano

Class of 2023

Program of Study: Electrical Engineering

"I'm pursuing my degree in the hopes of one day designing safe and equitable renewable energy systems. I chose to enter research in this field because the work being done today will directly dictate how the world transitions from fossil fuels in the coming decades."

Spencer Cira

Class of 2021

Double major in Chemical Engineering and Engineering Physics

"Early on academically, it struck me as to how much was unknown about the phenomena of everyday life. As I progressed through high school and now into college, I have learned to understand the major benefits to society that a better understanding of our environment could provide. I've been drawn to pursue a career in research so that I can be a part of increasing humanity's understanding of the natural world."

Grace Fedele

Class of 2021

Major in Materials Science and Engineering, Minor in Music

"I got into research because I enjoy learning new things. With the research I'm doing in particular, I get to learn and use lots of fundamental materials concepts. I also like hands-on work, which I can do a lot of when our group is in the lab."

Wes Fermanich

Class of 2021

Major in Materials Science and Engineering
Minor in Energy Science and Policy

"The idea of conducting original research has always been very exciting me. Having the opportunity to dedicate your time to developing an understanding of a real-world problem and working to develop a solution to it is an invaluable learning experience. It forces you to think in new ways and look at challenges from a new angle. Being able to gain these skills while working on something that I am passionate about is what makes research so enjoyable."

Patrick Girard

Class of 2021

Major in Mechanical Engineering

Why did you choose to get into research? "To extend learning beyond the context of a classroom and engage more deeply with a subject."

Joel Graves

Class of 2021

Program of Study: Chemical Engineering

"I actually initially landed in research on a bit of a whim! I had a friend suggest that I try it out and I really enjoyed it. I like the flexibility it provides to investigate some of the more niche concepts we don't usually have the opportunity to pursue in class. I think it's really exciting to be on the cutting edge of development and I love to think about problems holistically, so it's provided a great opportunity for me to explore these issues at length!"

Conner Harwood

Class of 2020

Major in Economics, Minor in Mathematics

"As an economics major, my favorite part of my ECON classes has been learning about econometric studies used in public policy decisions. In order for a policy to be implemented, it needs to be shown to work, and economists often design natural experiments to show this. After reading about many such studies, I decided I wanted to gain firsthand experience with this research and am incredibly excited for the opportunity to do so this summer."

Jiaheng He

Class of 2021

Program of Study: Honors Physics 

"My inspiration for the research came from my curiosity for nature. I hope that through my own efforts to try and explain the laws of nature, I can finally get closer to the ultimate principle. By knowing the principles of nature, we can apply them in practice and make life better. We can apply discovered physics principles on many things, from building machinery to product medication."

Brianna Kucharski

Class of 2021

Major in Architecture, Minor in Art History

"I have an interest in sustainable building design which I wanted to further explore through a specific research topic. I believe knowledge gained from this type of research will not only compliment my studio work going forward, but I also wish to create resources for other design students to learn about sustainable practice and incorporate it into their work thoughtfully and creatively."

Adam Levey

Class of 2021

Double major in Chemical Engineering and Engineering Physics
Minor in Energy Science Policy

"Research, especially in energy, has the ability to affect our society in dramatic and meaningful ways. Along with this, working at the forefront of knowledge and discovery in a specific field is an extremely exciting and motivating prospect."

Jack Liu

Class of 2023

Double major in Aerospace Engineering and Computer Science

"Research is a great opportunity to improve myself in many aspects, such as, academy, connections... Also, the topic of the research that I am participating is what I enjoyed, I love to work on and think about the things I love."

Tyler Olson

Class of 2021

Major: Physics; Minor: Energy Science & Policy

"I think that having hands on research experience will nicely complement the academic work I have completed throughout my years studying physics. Also, I am excited to find out if experimental work is something I would be interested in pursuing in the future as a career."

Evan Ortiz

Class of 2023

Major in Mathematics with a minor in Physics

"I enjoy thinking about why things work. In classes, you can learn plenty of things to answer this question in many contexts. This is great, but I also enjoy trying to figure things out for myself that you can't get in a typical classroom. Research is a different way of exploring interesting ideas and dissecting them. I enjoy the process of trying to answer questions where the answer doesn't exist yet."

Shagun Parekh

Class of 2022

Program of Study: Mechanical Engineering, Concentration in Energy

"I have always been interested in renewable energy and power systems. Moreover, I was introduced to Negative Emission Technologies during my freshman year and have been obsessed with the concept ever since. Climate change is one of the biggest issues of our generation and I choose to do research because it allows me to positively contribute to the community while also pursuing my interests."

James Pelkey

Class of 2021

Program of Study: Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences


Ori Rattner

Class of 2021

Major: Data Science; Minor: Energy Science and Policy

"In the winter semester I took a course, Energy and Environmental Policy Research, that gave me my first college level introduction to research. Learning about environmental subjects through the lens of academic research was a novel approach of learning for me that I found very engaging, as I was able to learn about environmental policy topics on a deeper level with a greater efficiency than I had experienced in a traditional classroom setting. This course has led me to continue to engage in environmental and energy subjects further through research."

Justin Seablom

Class of 2021

Mechanical Engineering Major

Why did you choose to get into research? "To try and figure out the right career path for me"

Joe Shangraw

Class of 2022

BSE Materials Science & Engineering Major
Energy Science and Policy Minor

"I had a very positive experience with science research in high school, and I thought that UROP would be a perfect way to collaborate with experts in my field of interest and solve problems that reflect my skills and passions."

Enpei Zhao

Class of 2021

Double major in Mechanical Engineering and Computer Science

For me research is the best way to learn about where the current technology is leading us to, it points the road where the future begins. By being involved in the projects that are full of knowledge more advanced than my current academic standing, I could gain new thoughts and provide my unique prespectives after absorbing the new insights.

Michael Zimmerman

Class of 2020

Double major in Environmental Studies and History specializing in Energy Policy

"I hope that my research positively impacts the lives of Americans currently experiencing energy poverty, and provides a path for utilities to ensure equitable energy access for everyone in the future."