2023 RBI Spring Workshop Experience From a Student's Perspective - Part 2

Tanner Hickman at the 2023 RBI Spring Workshop

Tanner Hickman at the 2023 RBI Spring Workshop

This is part two of the student experiences series. Tanner Hickman, fourth-year Ph.D. candidate in chemical and biomolecular engineering shares his experience from the 2023 RBI Spring Workshop on "Innovations in Packaging and Circular Economy."

Tell us about yourself.

I am Tanner Hickman and I completed my bachelor’s degree in chemical and biomolecular engineering at the University of South Alabama. Here at Georgia Tech, I am a fourth-year Ph.D. candidate in chemical and biomolecular engineering, advised by Carson Meredith and Natalie Stingelin. My research focuses on exploring different ways to control the properties of natural polymers to make them useful for new applications.

How was your experience at the RBI workshop?

The RBI workshop provided incredibly valuable insights. I gained a comprehensive understanding of the persistent challenges within sustainable packaging, as well as the ongoing research endeavors aimed at tackling them. A key lesson I extracted from the workshop underscores the imperative of a circular economy within the packaging sector. However, it's crucial to note that our focus shouldn't solely revolve around product research; we must also direct attention toward addressing social concerns and broader issues.

What was your main takeaway from the poster session?

One of the best parts of RBI workshops is the opportunities to talk with people from different technical backgrounds, and poster sessions are one of the best ways to get the exchange of ideas flowing. I talked with several people from industry, who all had valuable advice on what it takes to bring benchtop research to application on a larger scale. At the same time, discussions with other researchers in academia are vital for brainstorming new projects, forming collaborations, etc.

What more would you like to see in future events at the Renewable Bioproducts Institute?

I would like to see a workshop that incorporates more interactive elements (in addition to the poster session) to engage participants. For instance, roundtable discussions or panel sessions where experts and attendees can openly exchange ideas and insights could enhance the learning experience.

Portrait of Tanner Hickman
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Priya Devarajan || RBI Communications Program Manager