Current Students

Below are profiles of some current ESS students.  Those outside of the official ESS dual degree (MS/MSE) program , but with interdisciplinary education in sustainability and engineering from the University of Michigan, are also included.

Cailin Buchanan

ESS Sustainable Energy Systems

Cailin is interested in using engineering to address current environmental issues, including the world’s increasing energy demand and greenhouse gas emissions.  Cailin received her B.S. in Chemical Engineering from The Ohio State University along with a minor in German in May, 2016.  While at Ohio State, she completed a research thesis in the field of heterogeneous catalysis, specifically addressing toxic chlorinated compounds in ground water systems.  During the summers, Cailin completed a research assistantship at Technische Universität Braunschweig through the DAAD scholarship program, as well as an internship with Kautex Textron, an automotive fuel tank supplier.  The summer before joining the University of Michigan, Cailin completed an internship with General Motors in the Energy and Carbon Optimization group within the Global Facilities department, where she focused on water sustainability efforts.  In Cailin’s free time, she enjoys reading, exploring local trails, traveling, and listening to music.

Matt Chambers

ESS Sustainable Water Systems

Matt served as a Peace Corp Volunteer in the Dominican Republic to design, repair, install and improve rural water systems.  Matt received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from University of Washington 2007.  He worked as a manufacturing engineer to design manufacturing tools to improve assembly of new and legacy products.



Michelle Farhat

ESS Sustainable Energy Systems (+Environmental Engineering)

Michelle is most interested in renewable energy and its dispatchability for microgrids, specifically in developing countries where grid-wide electricity is either unavailable or infeasible. Her work experience includes interning at PJM Interconnection, a Regional Transmission Organization based in Pennsylvania, as well as volunteering with and interning at WindAid Institute, an NGO that builds wind turbines for rural communities in Peru that have limited or no access to electricity. She received her BS in Environmental Engineering and a minor in Spanish from Johns Hopkins University in 2016. She love traveling, playing and watching sports, and hanging out with her dog!

Allie Frost

ESS Sustainable Energy Systems

Allie got her Bachelor of Science in Applied Physics and Environmental Science with a Mathematics minor from Alma College. In the future, she hopes to work on grid integration of renewable energy sources.




Anne Gidley

ESS Sustainable Energy Systems

Sydney Forrester

ESS Sustainable Energy Systems

Sydney is a Dual M.S./M.S.E. student with the School of Natural Resources and Environment and Mechanical Engineering pursuing a degree in Sustainable Energy Systems. Sydney received a B.A. in Mathematics and a B.S. in Earth and Environmental Engineering from Columbia University. Following that, she worked for two years in the utility industry focusing on sustainable energy programs on the grid edge. Her programs spanned low-income community solar, alternative financing mechanisms, and demand side management. Sydney’s research interests at UM focus on energy equity and climate change impacts on power systems and their surrounding communities. Within CSS, she works with Dr. Tony Reames on alternative financing structures for sustainable energy investments in Michigan’s low income residential sector. Additionally, her thesis work with Dr. Jeremiah Johnson and Dr. Jose Alfaro focuses on climate change’s impact on Brazil’s residential energy demand and grid performance. Apart from CSS, you can find her outdoors- on a perpetual quest to find the best nachos, playing water polo, or scaling some rock faces.

Krutarth Jhaveri

ESS Sustainable Energy Systems

Krutarth is passionate about applying engineering to address current environmental issues with a focus on the increasing energy and water demand. This includes specific fields of renewable energy, life cycle assessment, and water treatment processes. Hailing from India, Krutarth aims to work on problems faced by developing countries. He completed his B.E.(Hons) in Chemical Engineering from the Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani. For his undergraduate thesis, he spent six months at the Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore (SERIS) investigating Light Induced Degradation in Multicrystalline Silicon Solar Cells. His other projects included designing an online ion-exchange water softening system, developing a dehumidifier model for the university HVAC system, and designing a holistic sanitation system for rural areas. In his free time, Krutarth enjoys reading, listening to and playing music, travelling, and playing soccer.

Nicholas Mazzilli

Sustainable Energy Systems (Electrical and Computer Engineering/Power and Energy Systems)

Bhuvan Neema

ESS Sustainable Energy Systems

Bhuvan is passionate about environmental sustainability and is interested in applied research of advanced technologies to reduce emissions from buildings and power grid system. He obtained bachelors in Mechanical Engineering from IIT Roorkee in 2012. After graduating he worked with Arup and Burohappold Engineering as a consultant designing HVAC and low carbon energy systems for green buildings and district infrastructure. During this period he gained extensive experience in energy modeling, renewable resource assessment, project coordination, and client management. His current research thesis couples engineering and economics methods to investigate carbon mitigation potential of grid scale energy storage systems from power grid applications. His research intents to offer new insights into environmental applications for energy storage, potentially providing new motivation for increased deployment of these emerging technologies in future electricity grid.

Gabriela Porras

ESS Sustainable Water Systems

Michael Reiner

ESS Sustainable Water Systems

Michael is a second-year graduate student in the Engineering Sustainable Systems program. His research interests span from sustainable food production to equitable energy transitions. Michael graduated from Northwestern University in 2013 with a degree in Environmental Engineering. Prior to his enrollment at U of M, Michael served as a Peace Corps volunteer in rural Paraguay, working on sustainable agriculture and environmental conservation strategies with his local community. Within CSS, Michael is a part of Dr. Tony Reames’ Urban Energy Justice Lab researching spatial disparities in access and cost to energy-efficient technologies. Additionally, his thesis with professors Jose Alfaro and Tony Reames explores how energy-related information and technology are propagated through a city, applying agent-based modeling and network analysis. Outside of academics, Michael likes to spend his time creating a mess in his kitchen, hiking, biking, and making funny jokes.

Selim Sardag

ESS Sustainable Energy Systems

Selim is interested in addressing current environmental issues using engineering practices, with a focus on renewable energy integration and greenhouse gas emissions modeling. Selim completed his undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Aerospace Engineering at Cornell University. During his undergraduate career, his research focused on evaluating wind and solar resource patterns and draught conditions, and characterizing emissions from biochar combustion cookstoves. He also worked as a manufacturing engineering intern at Turkish Airlines Technic. Outside of academics, Selim plays tennis and likes to travel to find new spots to bungee jump.

Brandon Smith

ESS Sustainable Energy Systems

Brandon is a first-year graduate student studying Environmental Engineering and Sustainable Energy Systems within the ESS program. Brandon is a recent graduate of Kent State University, where he received his Bachelor of Science in Geology and a minor in French. While at Kent State, Brandon spent time abroad, studying green infrastructure and ecosystem services within Florentine urban landscapes. His academic interests include the integration of alternative energy with current grid infrastructure, carbon sequestration, and geothermal energy. Brandon currently works at the Ecology Center in Ann Arbor, where he analyzes and audits energy portfolios for local schools, businesses, and housing initiatives. He is currently a member of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists and a Gilman International Alumnus. In addition to his academics, Brandon enjoys traveling, spending time outdoors, reading, and finding really cool rocks and minerals.

Abhijeet Walchale

MS Sustainable Systems/ MEng Energy Systems Engineering

Abhijeet is interested in exploring Renewable Integration and Energy Storage. He has a Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical) from University of Mumbai and a Post Graduate Diploma in Thermal Power Plant Engineering from National Power Training Institute, Ministry of Power, India. He is certified as a Solar Designer and Installer through the Skill Council for Green Jobs, Government of India. He has also worked as a Operations and Maintenance Executive at a 2*300 MW coal-based thermal power station in India. For his undergraduate thesis, he worked with the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, India on the design of switched reluctance motors for EV and HEV application. His other past projects have been in the field of heat rate optimization of coal-based power plants, and efficiency improvements in gas turbine combined cycle units.

Cindy Yao

ESS Sustainable Energy Systems

Cindy is currently pursuing a dual degree in Sustainable Systems and Environmental Engineering. After graduating from Mount Holyoke College with an undergraduate degree in Chemistry, she was excited to pursue graduate education at a program with a focused and interdisciplinary approach to sustainability. During her ESS degree here at the University of Michigan, Cindy has explored many facets of sustainability in her coursework and research. Her master’s thesis on operating, assessing, and modeling an indoor recirculating aquaculture system for shrimp production has enabled her to explore one intersection at the food-energy-water nexus.