Meet the AIMS Group!

Dr. Jessica Ray (PI)

2019_02_26_Jessica Ray_015_FINALDr. Jessica Ray joined the University of Washington Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering as an Assistant Professor in January 2019. Previously, Dr. Ray was a Miller Institute Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley investigating low-cost engineered adsorbents for removal of trace contaminants in urban stormwater. Jessica received her B.S. (Chemical Engineering, 2009) and Ph.D. (Energy, Environmental and Chemical Engineering, 2015) from Washington University in St. Louis. As a graduate student, Dr. Ray’s research examined the fate and transport of nanomaterials by employing advanced surface chemistry analytical techniques for which she received the Environmental Protection Agency Students to Achieve Results (STAR) Graduate Fellowship to support her research. At the University of Washington, Jessica plans to design, characterize and apply low-cost engineered adsorbents for selective removal of contaminants in stormwater and wastewater. In the future, Dr. Ray plans to expand the portfolio of composite adsorbents to investigate ways to recover nutrients and other valuable materials from wastewater. In her free time, Jessica loves to cook and bake, and go hiking with her dog, Lucy.

POSTDOCS

Dr. Katya Cherukumilli

Katya 2

Katya completed her B.S. in Environmental Sciences (2012) and PhD in Environmental Engineering (2017) at the University of California, Berkeley. During her doctoral research, Katya developed an inexpensive process to remediate fluoride-contaminated groundwater by using bauxite, an aluminum-rich ore that is widely available in resource-constrained regions affected by endemic skeletal fluorosis. Currently, Katya is a UW Commercialization Postdoctoral Fellow and the Founder/CEO of her nonprofit, Global Water Labs. Katya aims to scale up and deploy the groundwater defluoridation process in the East African Rift Valley in conjunction with field partners. Katya is also conducting research to treat industrial wastewater containing heavy metals (e.g., Cu, Pb, Zn) at Cascade Designs, Inc. Her overarching research interests are to leverage inexpensive natural composite ores to remediate persistent inorganic groundwater contaminants, to evaluate the efficiency of different reactor configurations, and to develop novel methods for addressing solid waste produced during water treatment by adsorption. In her spare time, Katya loves throwing pottery at the studio, cooking vegetarian meals, playing strategy-based board games, bouldering, playing soccer, and exploring new waterfalls and rivers.

Dr. Yuemei Ye

YuemeiYuemei completed her Ph. D in the chemistry department in Tongji University in China (2017). During her Ph.D. study, she was focused on the functional polymetric hydrogel synthesis and their applications. Then she worked on functional porous materials design for selective adsorption and desorption of toxic pollutants in water during her postdoctoral research in the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in the School of freshwater center. Her research projects were supported by the A.O. Smith Corporation. and SSI Corporation. Currently, Yuemei is a UW Postdoctoral Fellow, she has background on both material science and water treatment research, she is focusing on developing useful and green materials or methods for drinking water and wastewater treatment. She desires to become a professional female scientist, working on environmental applications. In her spare time, Yuemei loves walking outside, enjoy the sunshine, reading books, cooking Chinese food, swimming and exploring the city.

GRADUATE STUDENTS

Fanny Okaikue-Woodi

Fanny is a PhD student in the department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Fanny completed her A.S (2013) in Mathematics at Minneapolis College, then her B.S (2015) and M.Eng (2016) in Environmental Engineering at Cornell University. She is interested in the fate and transport of contaminants in environmental matrices and in developing remediation techniques for these contaminants. For her M.Eng study, Fanny investigated the mechanisms governing the trapping of fluoroquinolone antibiotics in montmorillonite clay. Currently, her research focuses on developing new media for stormwater treatment. Fanny hopes to develop effective materials and techniques to be used in the remediation of a broad spectrum of contaminants. In her free time, Fanny enjoys hiking, discovering new places, discovering and listening to new podcasts and watching stand-up comedy.

Jessica Steigerwald

P1030731Jessica Steigerwald completed her B.S. in Environmental Engineering at Oregon State University in 2018. Her undergraduate research focused on removal of heavy metals (Cu, Pb, and Zn) from stormwater using locally sourced biochar materials. After graduating Jessica began working with Arcadis, a global design and consultancy firm, in Clifton Park, New York as an entry level Environmental Engineer. Her work at Arcadis has focused on remediation of PCBs and organic solvents in soil, groundwater, and surface waters. Jessica is a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow. Her research interests lie in fate and transport, and treatment of aquatic contaminants. In her free time Jessica enjoys running, reading, drawing, traveling, and spending time outdoors.

UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS

Max Steiner

Max SteinerMax Steiner transferred from Seattle Central College to the University of Washington in 2017, where he is pursuing a B.S. in Chemical Engineering with a minor in Applied Mathematics. He joined the AIMS lab as part of a Mary Gates sponsored internship during Summer quarter 2019, and works under the guidance of Dr. Katya Cherukumilli on investigating the performance of filter columns for the removal of fluoride from contaminated groundwater in resource-constrained areas. He is also hoping to learn about the surface characteristics of the active media used in the columns, in order to understand some of the mechanisms driving the filtration process. Whenever possible, Max enjoys drinking coffee, practicing drums, clearing his mind on walks, and learning new gymnastic skills.

Daaniya Iyaz

Daaniya-2Daaniya completed her B.S. in Bioresource Science and Engineering (2019) at the University of Washington and is a CoMotion Mary Gates Innovation Scholar working with Global Water Labs. Her previous undergraduate research interests centered around the renewable energy field. Daaniya has worked on producing cellulosic ethanol from hybrid-poplar feedstock, yielding crude hydrocarbons from a fast pyrolysis reactor, evaluating hazard mitigation protocols for each county in Washington, and growing algae for biodiesel conversion. Daaniya first became interested in water treatment while working on a wastewater remediation project as a process engineering intern at Sonoco. Her desire to focus on water treatment applications led to her application to the Global Water Labs, and she looks forward to applying research concepts in a scalable commercial setting. She hopes to gain valuable experience as well as knowledge from her mentors in the AIMS lab over the summer. Daaniya enjoys playing badminton, perusing food blogs, attempting to play the drums, climbing stairs, and writing in her free time.