[Blog Post #0] Introducing myself!

Hello! My name is Daniela, I am a rising junior, an international student from Spain, and a Chemical Engineering major at UC Berkeley. In my free time, I enjoy traveling, dancing, playing board games, and trying out new restaurants. I am very happy to see everything opening up as I will be able to start doing some of these soon! 

I have always been interested in sustainability and renewable energy. Growing up, I witnessed the effects of climate change, such as extreme weather events, like the major snowfall we had in Madrid this January or the devastating wildfires and droughts caused by heat waves in California, rising sea levels, or the warming of the oceans. This, as well as my interest for chemistry, physics and math in high school inspired me to major in Chemical Engineering. 

This past semester at Berkeley I have been researching the effects of forest canopy age on snow retention, which has opened my eyes to the importance of retaining snow, since it is a valuable water resource, especially in places that suffer droughts like California. I am also part of ChemE car at Berkeley, a club where we build a shoebox-sized car using batteries. As well as giving me some research experience, ChemE car introduced me to the world of batteries, which has totally captivated me. Batteries have the potential to revolutionize the world, and are a great alternative to fossil fuels for energy production. 

This summer, I will be working at LBNL and I will be researching the characterization of the ionomer-catalyst interface. In this project I will characterize the hydration behaviour of Nafion thin films and gain insight on how dispersion state and condition affects the film’s behaviour. This project will give me the opportunity to dive deeper into the world of research and will allow me to learn more about the ionomer-catalyst interface. I will be working both remotely and in person, so I will be able to read many research papers, but also to get hands-on experience in the lab. I am really looking forward to working on this project this summer and I am very excited about everything I will learn!