Andy Maloney, Emily Phipps, and Katie O'Connell

Andy Maloney, Emily Phipps, and Katie O'Connell


A trio of seniors from West Virginia University will attend a major international summit organized by the National Academies of Engineering of the U.S., U.K. and China to explore new approaches for solving some of the world's most pressing challenges. Andy Maloney, Emily Phipps and Katie O'Connell - students in the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources - will attend the second Global Grand Challenges Summit in Beijing, China, on September 15-16.

Sponsored by the Chinese Academy of Engineering, the U.S. National Academy of Engineering and the Royal Academy of Engineering, the invitation-only event includes a diverse mix of thought leaders and students who will discuss a series of opportunities believed to be achievable and sustainable to help people and the planet survive. The summit will focus on the themes found in the NAE Grand Challenges report - sustainability, infrastructure, energy, health and joy of living - along with education and security/resilience.

"This is a great opportunity for our students and will allow us to showcase the talent found at WVU to the world," said Gene Cilento, Glen H. Hiner Dean of the Statler College. "I look forward to them putting what they learned at this international event to work in the College and seeing how their attendance helps shape their research and career foci."

For Maloney, a chemical engineering major from Morgantown, this is yet another feather in his cap, which includes a Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, a German Academic Exchange Service - or DAAD - Research Internships in Science and Engineering Scholarship and a Statler Undergraduate Research Scholarship.

"I am most interested in learning about engineering future medicines because it is most similar to the type of research I want to do," said Maloney, who currently conducts research under the tutelage of Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering Cerasela Zoica Dinu in the area of nanomaterials. "My career goals are to garner a Ph.D. in chemical engineering and then either work in academia or the private sector and I hope this conference will help me form lasting connections with those also pursuing research-based careers.

"Attendance at the conference will expose me to others like myself and hopefully help me decide my final career destination," Maloney added. "It will also be interesting to hear about the various research objectives as it may allow me to diversify my research, which is something I find appealing." He currently plans to conduct research in the area of continuous pharmaceutical manufacturing in graduate school.

An industrial engineering major from Cornelius, North Carolina, Phipps hopes to use the conference as an opportunity to collaborate with others on a global scale.

"WVU has opened up many doors to countless opportunities during my collegiate experience," Phipps said. "This conference will allow me to travel across the world and engage with other engineers in hopes of coming together to drive change.

"With my industrial engineering background, I aspire to solve problems and lead teams to identify solutions to industries' current issues," Phipps said. "I'm hopeful that this conference will give me a glimpse of how collaboration, engagement and knowledge can drive change in our world."

Phipps is a member of the WVU chapters of the Society of Women Engineers and the Institute of Industrial Engineers, Alpha Phi Mu, the Mortar Board Honor Society and has done three co-ops with Walt Disney World's Industrial Engineering Department.

In addition to learning from others, O'Connell plans to use the conference as a way to showcase her ideas.

"I took this opportunity because I believe that experiencing the world and meeting individuals with different viewpoints is the only way to grow as a person," said the mechanical engineering major from Wellsburg. "It's amazing what I have learned so far in my life just by listening to different opinions; whether I agree or disagree it always shines a new light on how I look at things. I believe this conference will help me understand different cultures around the globe and make me a more versatile individual when it comes to handling sensitive situations with different cultures."

An honors student,O'Connell is a member of several student organizations including Material Advantage and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. She is also a member of the engineering honor society, Tau Beta Pi.

Financial support is being made available by NAE, the Statler College and the students' home departments.



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