In the first installment of Meet the Summer 2020 RAPID Interns spotlight series, we are highlighting three of the students participating for Summer 2020. Scroll down to learn more Jerry Crum, a 4th year Ph.D. at University of Notre Dame; Mary Rivera, a Senior at Texas A&M University; and Madison Ann Gaston, a Senior at Auburn University.

Jerry Crum

Jerry Crum, a 4th year Ph.D. candidate at University of Notre Dame, is currently working on a project with CISTAR entitled "Interrogation and Catalytic Consequence of AI Site Proximity in Zeolites." Jerry is using density functional theory to identify the proximity of active sites in zeolites, and how that proximity influences propene oligomerization. I work closely with experimental collaborators to validate my results, and provide insights into their experimental findings.

What are your career aspirations?

My goal is to use my modeling and problem-solving skills in a research and development position in the chemical industry. 

What are your thoughts of the RAPID Intern Program so far?

Working with RAPID this summer has introduced me to the global effort taking place to drastically reduce waste, energy use, and processing time in the chemical industry. This internship has not only provided me the opportunity to learn about Process Intensification and Modular Processing, but has also helped to fine tune my skills in presenting, networking, and critical thinking. RAPID’s model of enhancing an internship with technical and professional development training has definitely benefitted my growth as a well-rounded scientist.

Mary Carmen Rivera

Mary Carmen Rivera, a Senior at Texas A&M University, is currently working on a project entitled "SYNOPSIS - Synthesis of Operable Process Intensification Systems" in the Pistikopoulos lab of  Texas A&M Energy Institute. Mary was tasked to work on the development of a software prototype to automate the design and optimization of a reactive distillation column case study. This “Synthesizer Suite” includes a python Graphical User Interface (GUI) to received user data integrated with General Algebraic Modeling System (GAMS) to generate and visualize the optimal process solution.

What are your career aspirations?

I aspire to work in process engineering or process systems engineering.

What are your thoughts of the RAPID Intern Program so far?

I like that the internship was designed to work alongside our own projects to enrich our understanding of what process intensification is, what has been accomplished during its practice, and where there is room for improvement. In addition, I was happy that the program gave some focus to the development of our soft skills like critical thinking and communication in addition to providing technical knowledge. I am grateful I was able to participate in this program, because unfortunately process intensification is not widely taught at school, and I might not have had any PI experience otherwise.

Madison Ann Gaston

Madison Ann Gaston, Student at University of Auburn

Madison Ann Gaston, a Senior at Auburn University, is currently working on a project entitled "Modular Catalytic Desulfurization Units for Sour Gas Sweetening; Microfibruous Entrapped Sorbents for Gas Separation and Ion Exchange" as a co-op at IntraMicron, Inc. Madison was tasked with developing a standard procedure for evaluating the cost of process controls associated with desulfurization skids and with using the procedure combined with modular manufacturing models and real-world pricing to determine capital and operating costs for a scaled-up modular desulfurization unit.

What are your career aspirations?

I would like to obtain a chemical engineering position for a company that shares my passion for the dynamic integration of science and engineering fields. More specifically, my hope is that my future job and career utilize my problem-solving and critical thinking skills to develop solutions to medical problems, which aligns with my aims to directly benefit the health and well-being of people.

What are your thoughts of the RAPID Intern Program so far?

The RAPID Intern Program has been a great experience that has allowed me to obtain an understanding of the concept of process intensification and its real-world application, particularly as it applies to modular manufacturing and gas sweetening technology. Along with the abundant technical knowledge I have gained, this program has also provided me with a great deal of non-technical knowledge, such as communication, networking, and leadership skills.

The RAPID Intern Program is an exciting opportunity for students working with RAPID members. It is a virtual PI leadership program which overlays on the work students are already doing at RAPID member organizations and provides students with PI leadership training and professional development skill-building opportunities like networking, career discovery, and public speaking/presenting. Click here for more information and to nominate a student.