Outstanding Guttman students Chakira Valdez Nunez and Amari Dawkins had the honor of presenting their research at the 68th annual Undergraduate Research Symposium (URS) organized by the New York Section of the American Chemical Society (ACS), held virtually on May 1, 2021. Mentored by Assistant Professor of Chemistry Dr. Jihyun Kim, the students shared their findings on how artificial Intelligence (AI) has been employed in biofuel production. According to the abstract, the presentation was a review and an “evaluat[ion of] the machine learning (ML) and deep learning (DL) techniques developed for handling biofuel production, consumption, and environmental impacts, both for modeling and optimization purposes. In our lab, we have used Response Surface Methodology (RSM) to find optimized reaction conditions to produce biodiesel from brown grease.” This is a significant step in the use of AI to predict and investigate fuel properties.
Both student presenters are participants in the STEM research opportunities offered at Guttman: Chakira Valdez Nunez is a Science mentee in the CUNY Research Scholars Program (CRSP) and Amari Dawkins is focusing on Information Technology in the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP). Dr. Kim, who is noted for her work with biofuels, consistently stewards and promotes the research of talented Guttman scholars for acceptance to professional and research events. She fondly remarks: “I am so proud of their achievements.”
Dr. Kim earned her Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Georgetown University in Washington, DC. She conducted her postdoctoral studies in breast cancer at the Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center in Washington, DC, and earned a fellowship from the Susan Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. Before starting at Guttman in 2017, Dr. Kim taught courses in all areas of chemistry at multiple colleges in the CUNY system, as well as William Paterson University and Ramapo College of New Jersey. Along with Dr. Lawrence Pratt from Medgar Evers College, CUNY, Dr. Kim was awarded a three-year National Science Foundation grant toward the development of a new biofuel from a mixture of brown grease and waste plastics. Her research centers on developing eco-friendly chemical processes to reduce or eliminate toxic chemical waste.