September Graduate Engineer of the Month excels in membrane separation research

Chemical engineering Ph.D. student Zishu Cao

Chemical engineering Ph.D. student Zishu Cao

Zishu Cao, a Ph.D. student in chemical engineering, earned the Graduate Engineer of the Month award from the College of Engineering and Applied Science for September 2019.

Cao researches membrane separation, a process used in environmental protection, energy recovery and medicine. Membrane separation has countless potential uses in the future. The fact that her research could improve the world is something that drives Cao.

“I like the fact that chemical engineering emphasizes solving real-world issues,” said Cao. “Chemical engineering provides powerful toolsets that can be used to design and implement a lot of industrial processes.”

Cao’s Ph.D. supervisor, professor Junhang Dong, commented on Cao’s accomplishments.

“During her graduate research in my group, she has demonstrated excellent skills in membrane fabrication and testing and showed deep understanding of the fundamentals of membranes,” Dong said. “She has published 11 papers, many of which are in prestigious journals in the field of membrane science and technology, such as Science Advances and Journal of Membrane Science.”

Cao thinks that curiosity and resilience are most important traits to engineering students.

“Curiosity triggers you to do things you are interested in,” said Cao. “Resilience helps you deal with difficult situations and to try your best.

Following her graduation, Cao plans on taking a year to travel the world before settling on a research-related job, either in industry or at a university.

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