Current Students

Below are some profiles of current ESS students as well as those outside of the ESS program, but with interdisciplinary education in sustainability and engineering from the University of Michigan.

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.

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.

Robert Meyer

ESS Sustainable Design & Manufacturing Systems

Rob is passionate about applying his talents and education to lead within the growing fields of green infrastructure and sustainable system design.  Prior to attending the University of Michigan he served in the U.S. Army as an engineer diving officer for eight years.  During this time he gained experience leading teams around the world conducting underwater surveys, salvage operations, and construction projects.  After arriving at the University of Michigan he volunteered to serve as a team leader on the Living Building Challenge, tasked with designing a net-zero water usage system for a home in Ann Arbor. He also joined Sustainability Without Borders with aims to design and install solar water pumps for communities in Madagascar suffering from water scarcity issues.  Finally, as a research contributor for the Center for Sustainable Systems, he is analyzing the environmental and health impacts of certain diets in an effort to understand the life cycle implications of food choices.  Rob earned his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering from the United States Military Academy in 2007 and also earned a master’s degree in engineering management from the Missouri University of Science and Technology in 2012.  He spends his available free time with his wife and one year old daughter, home brewing delicious spirits, and cooking plant-based meals for his family.

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.

Samhita Shiledar

ESS Sustainable Energy Systems

Samhita is a first year graduate student passionate about evaluation of effective yet socially inclusive models of green economy. She would like to work on life cycle assessment of industries, urban and industrial waste management systems and designing of energy efficient equipments in order to draw parallels between the efficient innovations and lowered environmental risks for operations of industrial plants. Samhita is originally from India and aims to work on problems related to developing countries for sustainable development. She received her B.Tech in Chemical Engineering from Visvesaraya National Institute of Technology, Nagpur. As an undergraduate, she spent substantial time working on potential water purification methods using mango leaves and various nano materials. After completing under-graduation, she worked with Pidilite Industries, India in manufacturing operations department where she handled 23 adhesive and paints manufacturing plants nationwide. In her free time, she enjoys making music and roaming around to explore various places.

Brittany Szczepanik
MS/MEng Sustainable Systems (SNRE)/Energy Systems Engineering (CoE)

Brittany is interested in sustainable energy systems in the built environment, particularly for local, struggling school districts. Prior to attending SNRE, she was an English & science teacher for three years in Louisiana and spent a year working in development for an education non-profit in Detroit. Brittany also spearheaded the robotics/coding program at Sylvan Learning Center in Ann Arbor. In her time on campus, Brittany has been working on her master’s project, where she and five other team members are working with their client, Johnson Controls Inc., to identify possible opportunities for increasing energy efficiency on Michigan’s campus. She was the Factsheet intern at the Center of Sustainable Systems (CSS) in summer of 2015 and was named the 2015 Bosch Sustainability Fellow and is a Michigan College of Engineering Master’s Fellow. Additionally, Brittany is also working on a social enterprise start-up focused on waste management and GHG emissions diversion. She earned a BA in English from Cornell College in 2009 and a BA in Chemistry from Wayne State University in 2015. In Brittany’s spare time, she enjoys traveling, painting, running, reading and socializing with friends and family.