BEI’s BRT Program Announces Spring 2014 Graduate Fellows

Written by Robert Mills

Bioeconomy Institute

Three one-year graduate fellowships, administered by the Bioeconomy Institute, have been awarded as part of the Leading the Bioeconomy Initiative. These competitive graduate fellowships were funded through an appropriation from the Iowa Legislature. The Biorenewables Resources and Technology (BRT) Graduate Committee reviewed all applicants and selected the recipients. The recipients are Toni Pfennig, Qing He, and Lei Fang.

“We are excited to be able to bring these high caliber graduate fellows to ISU. Their valuable research endeavors will continue to ensure ISU’s leadership in bioeconomic development,” said Jacqulyn Baughman, BRT director of graduate education and chair of the graduate committee. “We are looking forward to bringing an additional nine fellows to ISU in fall 2014.”

More fellowships will be awarded in the fall of 2014. The program seeks to attract high caliber graduate students to Iowa State University in agriculture, biosciences, chemical sciences, engineering, economics, and other disciplines with research interests related to the bioeconomy.

Toni Pfennig

bei_pfennig_0891Pfennig will be studying with Brent Shanks of Iowa State’s chemistry and biological engineering department and the Center for Biorenewable Chemicals (CBiRC). Previously, he held an apprenticeship as a chemical worker at BASF SE in Ludwigshafen, Germany and worked subsequently in several production plants at BASF SE. In 2007, he began to study chemical engineering at the University of Applied Sciences in Mannheim, Germany. In 2009, Pfennig worked as a student assistant in the Department of Electrochemical-Process-Engineering at the University of Applied Sciences, Mannheim. He also did a six-month internship at the department of mechanical engineering at the University of Maryland.

In 2011, he completed his bachelor thesis at the AG, an experimentation company in Heidelberg, Germany. Pfennig then started work toward his master’s degree in chemical engineering at the University of Applied Sciences in Mannheim, Germany. In March 2013, he completed his master thesis in heterogeneous catalysis at CBiRC.

Qing He

bei_he_qingQing He will be studying with Nastaran Hashemi of Iowa State’s mechanical engineering department. She graduated from Wuhan University in 2011. There, she began to study hydraulics and participated in a project with the state laboratory, learning computational fluid dynamics (CFD). After graduating from Wuhan University, Qing worked as a technician in Sino Hydro Bureau 8 Co., Ltd., and participated in construction of the world’s third largest hydropower station.

Qing He has won numerous awards, including League Branch Secretary of Red Flag League Branch of Company and Honorable Group in Water Conservation’s Science and Technology Innovation Competition of Water Conservancy and Hydropower Engineering Department of Wuhan University. She also was named Outstanding Undergraduate Student of Wuhan University and Outstanding Team Member of Summer Holiday Projects of College of water resources and Hydroelectric Engineering. Qing He was also the recipient of the Second Award in the Hydraulic Experiment Competition of Water Conservancy and Hydropower Engineering Department of Wuhan University.

Lei Fang

bei_fang_leiFang will be studying with Buddhi Lamsal and Toni Wang in Iowa State’s food science and human nutrition department. Previously, he worked on fruit and vegetable processing and received his B.S. in science from the food science and technology department at QingDao Agricultural University, China, in 2011. Fang then focused on food chemistry research, earning a M.S. from food science department at University of Missouri in 2013