by Jane Dmochowski, Ph.D., Managing Director, VIPER
Pictured from left to right VIPER class of 2016: Anjali Khetan, Eric Lu, Meehir Pathare, Albert Xiao,
Julia Fordham, David (Jin Soo) Lim, Gerardo Cedillo Servin, and Connor Lippincott.
The University of Pennsylvania is kicking off its first year of a new program in energy research for undergraduates, the Vagelos Integrated Program in Energy Research (VIPER). Made possible through the generosity of Roy and Diana Vagelos, the dual-degree program between Penn's School of Arts and Sciences and School of Engineering and Applied Science is designed to educate undergraduate students in the science and technology of alternative and efficient methods of production, conversion and use of energy. The program takes advantage of existing expertise and resources at the University, combining coursework, research, and group activities to create an ideal environment for learning.
VIPER students will receive instruction and state-of-the-art research experiences, enabling them to pursue advanced degrees in fields relevant to energy science and to establish high caliber research careers as innovators in the discovery and development of sustainable ways to harness, convert, and use energy. The VIPER Class of 2016 students have started the first semester of their freshman year and are off to a great start. These eight students were selected for their scientific aptitude and their desire to combine science and engineering and get involved early in research. Their projects will aim to solve scientific and technological problems enabling the efficient use of current energy sources, the practical use of more sustainable energy, and the facile conversion of energy to different forms.
The class will take a common freshman seminar to introduce important research concepts. Over the course of VIPER's four-year program — five, if students pursue a master's degree — students will embark on research early in their academic career, and spend summers on campus working with faculty with expertise in physics, chemistry, biology, math, and across the fields of chemical, mechanical, systems, and electrical engineering and materials science. Students have many additional opportunities to attend lectures and meet leading researchers through Pennergy: the Penn Center for Energy Innovation.
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