Chemical Engineering (ChE) senior Ashley Kaiser is one of six UMass undergrads whose research accomplishments have been deemed “inspiring and notable” enough for the students to be honored with the Rising Researcher award in Research Next, the online magazine at UMass Amherst. The Rising Researcher award, sponsored by the Vice Chancellor for University Relations and Research and Engagement, recognizes exceptional UMass Amherst undergraduate students who excel in research, scholarship, or creative activity. See Research Next article
Kaiser is a “star at the top of her class,” according to ChE Professor Christos Dimitrakopoulos. The ChE major, competitive gymnast, and Commonwealth Honors College student has been heavily involved in research in his graphene lab since her first year on campus. She has also claimed top spot in the two chemical engineering classes he teaches.
According to the write-up posted on Research Next, Kaiser is a seasoned team player and possesses a demeanor of responsibility and accountability uncharacteristic of her age. She has done summer internships at the 3M Research and Development Laboratory and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
“Her focus is razor sharp, her intellect superior, her determination unflappable, and her drive relentless,” says Dimitrakopoulos. “She is also always willing to help and is the first to volunteer for the task at hand.”
Kaiser is currently working on her Commonwealth Honors College thesis project, “Low-Temperature Graphene Growth by Plasma-Enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition,” which Dimitrakopoulos believes has the potential for high impact. Her work in the graphene lab has already spawned a number of posters, conference presentations, and coauthored papers.
Although she is busy with her personal project, Kaiser is also an invaluable member of the broader graphene team, says Dimitrakopoulos. “She has voluntarily undertaken the role of the record keeper, the person that organizes the data and writes 40-to-50-page progress reports to facilitate the team’s understanding of the experimental data and the strategic planning of future experiments. She is a skilled scientific report writer. It is no surprise that she has been accepted to all graduate programs she applied for, including MIT.” (April 2017)