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Veenasri Vallem and Zachary Campbell are 2022 Ferrell Award Recipients

Recent Ph.D. graduates Drs. Veenasri Vallem and Zachary Campbell have been selected as the winner and honorable mention recipient, respectively, of the 2022 James K. Ferrell Outstanding Ph.D. Graduate Award.  Although all of the award nominees were exceptional and deserving of recognition, these two graduates stood out above the rest.

Dr. Veena Vellem 2022 Ferrell Award winner
Dr. Veena Vellem – 2022 Ferrell Award winner

Dr. Vallem’s research, which was supervised by Prof. Michael Dickey, focused on stretchable composites composed of polymer gel and liquid metal for energy harvesting and actuation. The devices that she developed can convert mechanical energy to electrical energy and vice versa, with applications in clean energy, sensors, and autonomous robotics. Dr. Vallem published five first-author papers in the course of her Ph.D. studies in prestigious journals, including Advanced Materials, Advanced Energy Materials, and Soft Matter, and her work already has over 120 citations.

Dr. Vallem is currently working on lithium metal and lithium ion battery technologies at Applied Materials in Santa Clara, California. She aspires to contribute to the advancement of sustainable energy solutions.

Dr. Zachary Campbell - 2022 Ferrell award Honorable Mention winner
Dr. Zachary Campbell – 2022 Ferrell Award Honorable Mention winner

During the course of Dr. Campbell’s dissertation research with Prof. Milad Abolhasani, he used microfluidic flow-focusing to synthesize metal oxide microspheres with highly tunable characteristics, including surface areas that are an order of magnitude higher than traditionally synthesized materials.  Applications include catalysis, photovoltaics, and sensing.  Dr. Campbell published five first-author papers and was co-author on another three papers, including in ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering and Chemistry of Materials, with 85 citations to date.

Dr. Campbell is currently a postdoctoral researcher at Georgia Tech working with Profs. William Koros and Ryan Lively on CO2 capture using hollow fiber sorbents.  He intends to pursue a career in academia.

The James K. Ferrell Outstanding Ph.D. Graduate Award recognizes an outstanding graduate of the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Ph.D. program who distinguished themselves in scholarship through publications, research-based honors and presentations, as well as in service through teaching and teaching assistant performance, graduate student recruiting, Graduate Student Association service and the mentorship of peers and undergraduate researchers. The award is named in memory of Dr. James K. Ferrell who was the first Ph.D. graduate from NC State’s chemical engineering program, a (then) Department of Chemical Engineering faculty member and department head from 1966 through 1980. Funds for the award are made possible through the James K. Ferrell Graduate Student Memorial Fund.

Congratulations to Drs. Veenasri Vallem and Zachary Campbell for your exemplary success as CBE graduate students!