Nanosystems Engineering research center for nanotechnology enabled water treatment
NEWT Undergraduates: Shared Experiences in Mentoring
Katie Sue Pascavis is a junior (Class of 2023), studying Mechanical Engineering – Global Health, and Zhe Zhao is… ___
Here’s what they have to share about their experiences:
I met Dr. Paul Westerhoff in high school, and he generously mentored me on a science fair project about arsenic absorption. This experience allowed me to witness the abundance of research opportunities at ASU and how encouraging the NEWT faculty are towards students looking to get involved in research. After touring NEWT’s lab as a freshman, I was really excited about becoming involved in innovative “germicidal glowsticks,” or UV-C side-emitting optical fibers. He tasked me with creating a “germicidal jellyfish,” a floating UVC disinfection system that runs off of solar power and inactivated pathogens using hanging UVC optical fibers.
Under Dr. Westerhoff’s and Zhe Zhao’s mentorship, I learned about modeling UVC systems and how to make side-emitting optical fibers. While the COVID-19 pandemic limited my ability to attend school and the lab in person, NEWT allowed me to intern virtually and continue research despite the public health crisis. The first proof of concept for the Germicidal Jellyfish has since been created and successfully tested! I am also blessed to work under Dr.
Shahnawaz Sinha in computer-aided design for a UVC flow reactor and designing larger germicidal jellyfish systems. I’m very grateful to have joined the lab as a freshman so that I get multiple years of kind mentorship and fascinating research opportunities through NEWT!
I have worked with Katie since the first year I came to ASU for a fun NEWT research project named “Germicidal jellyfish”. This project uses solar panels to transfer sunlight into power and charge UV-C LEDs. By using Side-emitting optical fibers, germicidal UV-C light is distributed throughout the water tank and inactivated pathogens. She successfully finished the system design and the project is moving to the next step. She is creative and motivated, and I am very grateful to work with her!