Blog Post #0: Introduction!

Hello there! My name is Hunter, and I am a rising third year at UC Berkeley majoring in Chemical Engineering. I am beyond excited for this opportunity to participate with Cal Energy Corps and LBNL this summer. This is really a dream come true for me. I just wanted to give a brief introduction into who I am, what my plans are, and what I hope to gain from this experience.

I grew up in a small farm town by the name of Fortuna, California, located in the heart of the Redwoods. Throughout my youth, I spent a lot of my time outdoors and developed a deep connection to the natural world. Nature has given me many unforgettable memories and has always felt like a fundamental part of who I am. I have always been interested in sustainability, especially in the scope of green energy. However, witnessing the California Wildfires firsthand as well as many other environmental disasters has given me a sense of urgency to do what I can. We are running out of time to reverse the damage we have done to this world. I just hope I can be involved in the solution to our climate crisis. This world has made me who I am today, and I just want to give back to it as much as it has given to me.

On campus, I am currently involved in the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the American Chemical Society, and ChemE Car at UC Berkeley. ChemE Car especially has been a fantastic experience that has given me an opportunity to work with renewable energy technology. In this organization, we design a small vehicle that must be fully powered, regulated, and timed by a variety of chemical reactions. Our battery teams focus on metal-air, lithium-ion, and even hydrogen fuel cells whilst our clock teams focus on utilizing chemical reactions to create extremely accurate chemical clocks. The year I have spent with this organization has been incredible, and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to be the project manager for the Enzymatic Clock Team this next year.

This summer, I’ll be working in the Earth and Environmental Sciences Division at LBNL focusing on the optimization of nitrogen vacancy (NV) centers in diamonds for their use in quantum sensing. These have the capability of increasing the sensitivity of sensing techniques such as NMR by orders of magnitude, even to the point of imaging single proteins. By implementing this technique of NV-NMR into bioreactors, it could revolutionize the production of biofuels. I’ll be working mostly in-person and have the opportunity to use my background in chemistry while working on the surfaces of these diamond chips. I am so excited for what this opportunity will have to offer and everything I will learn while here. I cannot wait to give y’all an update soon!