Environmental engineering students earn awards at Sustainable Nanotechnology Organization Conference

Zachary Shepard (left) and Tashfia Mohona (right) received awards at the 2017 Sustainable Nanotechnology Organization Conference. Nirupam Aich (center), assistant professor in the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering, mentored both students.

By Peter Murphy

Published November 9, 2017

A graduate student in the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering, and a student who participated in the department’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU), were recognized at the Sustainable Nanotechnology Organization (SNO) Conference in California this week.

“The past two years, we were fortunate enough to display some of the research at UB to the SNO community, and win significant awards. We’re very proud of Tashfia and Zach, and want them to continue growing.”
Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering

The SNO is a worldwide professional society comprised of individuals and institutes engaged in research, education, development and application of nanotechnology, and the implications it may have on health, safety and the environment.

Tashfia Mohona, an environmental engineering graduate student at UB, and Zachary Shepard, a senior engineering student at Assumption College who participated in UB’s REU program in 2017, won awards at the SNO Conference. Both students have worked, or are working with Nirupam Aich, an assistant professor in the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering.

Mohona is currently working with Aich, and her research focuses on understanding the environmental implications, environmental fate and the transportation of novel, two-dimensional and emerging nanomaterials to avoid unintended consequences of nanotechnology. She earned the SNO Student Award earlier this week. Twenty graduate and four undergraduate students receive this award annually based on their contribution and potential in the field of sustainable nanotechnology.

Shepard worked with Aich for 10 weeks during the 2017 UB REU program last summer. His work for the SNO conference involved the development of a green synthesis technique for multifunctional two-dimensional nanocomposite materials for environmental pollutant removal. Shepard had to describe this research, and how it can help the application of nanomaterials and nanotechnology in a sustainable manner in under 100 seconds for the 100 second NanoPitch competition. He earned second place in the NanoPitch competition and third place in the conference’s poster competition.

Both Mohona and Shepard worked with assistant professor Aich in the Aich Laboratory for Environmental Nanotechnology and Sustainability (AichLENS). This is the second year representatives from AichLENS won multiple awards. At the 2016 conference, UB REU student Moyosore Afolabi won the SNO student award and earned third place in both the poster and NanoPitch competitions.

“Representatives from the AichLENS group attend this conference every year, and compete against students throughout the country” said Aich, “the past two years, we were fortunate enough to display some of the research at UB to the SNO community, and win significant awards. We’re very proud of Tashfia and Zach, and want them to continue growing.”