2023-2024 Novelis Scholars


Graduate Scholars

Pictured top row, left-to-right:  Kelsey Anne Cavallaro, Yiming Chen, Marshall Frye, Xueyu Hu 
Pictured bottom row, left-to-right:  Botagoz Kuspangaliyeva, Diana LaFollette, Asif Rashid, Pranoy Ray 

Kelsey Anne Cavallaro: Kelsey Anne Cavallaro is a Ph.D candidate in the School of Materials Science and Engineering, working with Matthew McDowell. She earned her bachelor’s degree at The University of Texas at Austin in Chemical Engineering where she researched novel electrode materials and architectures to improve performance of lithium-ion batteries. As a graduate student at Georgia Tech, Kelsey’s research aims to understand the fundamental reaction mechanisms and structural evolution of next-generation materials for lithium-based batteries at low temperatures to engineer devices with improved performance in extreme environments. She was awarded a NASA Space Technology Graduate Research Opportunity fellowship to support this work and collaborate with scientists at Glenn Research Center and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. In addition to her research, Kelsey has served as the president of the Women in Materials Science and Engineering, amongst other roles, and as the only graduate student on the university wide Joint Sexual Violence Advisory Committee. She is also passionate about educating the next generation of scientists and engineers, and has lectured for multiple classes within Materials Science and Engineering, as well as mentoring several undergraduate through research projects. Outside of Georgia Tech, Kelsey enjoys martial arts, crafting, and reading with her cat.  

Yiming Chen: Yiming Chen is a third-year Electrical and Computer Engineering PhD student at the Advanced Computational Electricity Systems (ACES) Laboratory, directed by Dr. Santiago Grijalva. He obtained both his bachelor's and master’s degrees in Electrical Engineering from Shandong University, China. Yiming's research is centered on the sustainability of electricity power systems, with a particular focus on the techno-economic advantages of emerging grid technologies. At ACES, he has contributed to two ARPA-E projects. Currently, He is working on a life cycle assessment of the TESLA breaker, a greener alternative to traditional SF-6 circuit breakers. Yiming's professional journey includes a stint as an electrical engineer at State Grid Corporation of China and a recent summer internship at Eaton. He is a dedicated member of the IEEE Power & Energy Society (PES) at Georgia Tech. In his leisure time, Yiming enjoys playing soccer, hiking, and frequently attending CoE soccer matches.

Marshall Frye: Frye is passionate about performing research on current challenges to sustainability, and particularly the development of sustainable energy sources. He received his B.S. from the University of Florida with summa cum laude honors in materials science and engineering, where his research focused on developing water filtration devices and the synthesis of water-splitting catalysts for hydrogen fuel production. He received the Frederick Rhines Scholarship and the University Scholarship for his undergraduate research. He is currently a 3rd year PhD student with the Garten Group in the School of Materials Science and Engineering. His current research focuses on the synthesis and characterization of ferroelectric thin films for next-generation photovoltaic applications. He has been awarded the Presidential Fellowship and an IEN Seed Grant during his time at Georgia Tech. In his spare time Marshall enjoys hiking, going to the gym, and learning new things.

Xueyu Hu: Hu received his B.S. (2018) and M.S. (2021) at University of Science and Technology of China (USTC). With a strong foundation in experimental techniques and quantum chemistry computations, Xueyu joined Prof. Meilin Liu’s research group, focusing on computational design of new electrolyte, electrode, and catalyst materials for electrochemical energy storage and conversion devices such as fuel cells, batteries, and supercapacitors. Leveraging a combination of high-throughput computation and machine learning approaches, Xueyu developed an extensive machine learning model capable of predicting computational descriptors and experimental data for 5940 novel materials. In about two years, his research at Georgia Tech has already resulted in 8 publications and 3 presentations to technical meetings. In his spare time, Xueyu finds enjoyment in both fitness and travel. 

Botagoz Kuspangaliyeva: Kuspangaliyeva is a second-year Ph.D. student in the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. Originally from Kazakhstan, she earned her bachelor's degree from Nazarbayev University. While there, under the supervision of Dr. Inglezakis, she conducted water treatment experiments on landfill leachate and explored municipal solid waste (MSW) incineration and pyrolysis technologies with Dr. Sarbassov. Later, she pursued her master’s degree at Howard University in Washington, DC. At HU, Bota was actively involved in developing a novel and sustainable fractionation method to produce plant protein- and carbohydrate-rich concentrates in Dr. Tabtabaei’s lab. Upon joining Georgia Tech in Fall 2022, she became a part of the Lively-Jones group, working on Direct Air Capture (DAC) technology. This technology offers a potential solution to mitigate climate change by directly removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Specifically, Bota focuses on studying the impact of various emerging contaminants on the performance and stability of amine-containing adsorbents. In her free time, Bota enjoys traveling, practicing yoga, and attending concerts.

Diana LaFollette: LaFollette is a third year PhD student in Materials Science and Engineering at Georgia Tech, advised by Dr. Juan-Pablo Correa-Baena. She completed her bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering with a minor in environmental studies at the University of Southern California. Her thesis focuses on the crystallization and degradation of lead halide perovskites, a new material for photovoltaics. Diana uses advanced characterization techniques, both at Georgia Tech and at the Department of Energy National Laboratories to understand how these materials crystallize and degrade, with the hopes that understanding these fundamental mechanisms will ultimately lead to improvements in solar cell stability. She is also a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow. Diana is also the co-president of the MSE Graduate Student Advisory Group where she serves as a representative of and advocate for graduate students for the department while also working to create a welcoming, supportive community for graduate students from all backgrounds. Outside of work, she likes running, reading, and hiking with her dog.

Asif Rashid: Rashid is a Ph.D. student in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Tech. Originally from Dhaka, Bangladesh, he earned his BS in Mechanical Engineering from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology. He completed his MS in Mechanical Engineering at Miami University, where he focused on an innovative method for machining non-conductive ceramics through Electrical Discharge Machining. He formulated a physics-based model for feasibility analysis and optimization of the developed method and was recognized as a recipient of the Graduate Students' Achievement Award at Miami University. In his doctoral research, conducted under the guidance of Prof. Shreyes Melkote, Asif integrates Wire Arc Directed Energy Deposition (DED) with machining-based plastic deformation process to enhance mechanical properties and geometric accuracy of additively manufactured metal components. His work emphasizes developing a comprehensive understanding of the process-structure-property-geometry relationship in Robotic Hybrid Manufacturing, drawing on knowledge and expertise in additive and subtractive manufacturing, mechanics of materials, materials characterization, and manufacturing automation. Throughout his doctoral studies, Asif has collaboratively been involved in diverse projects, including using Machine Learning to improve the accuracy of Wire Arc DED, implementing a hybrid post-processing method for additively manufactured metal parts, and contributing to the design and fabrication of a steerable neuroendoscopic instrument for minimally invasive surgery. Beyond research, Asif is deeply passionate about education, teaching, and mentoring, as he actively participates in the Tech to Teaching program at GT.

Pranoy Ray: Ray is a third-year Ph.D. student in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering. He is originally from Calcutta, India, and holds a bachelor’s degree from the National Institute of Technology, Durgapur. He has previously worked with scientists at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre in Mumbai, India, on designing novel materials for efficient solid-state hydrogen storage using Density Functional Theory (DFT). Currently, his research focuses on building data-driven models and automation tools to address fundamental and applied problems in pursuing accelerated materials discovery. In particular, his work involves developing ML workflows to enable faster screening of materials at the atomistic scale. Besides research, he is involved with campus teaching and graduate mentoring initiatives (he’s the current Internal VP at the Mechanical Engineering Graduate Association-MEGA). Pranoy has presented his work at several international conferences in recent years. Outside the lab, he enjoys hiking, listening to classic rock, and exploring different cultures by traveling.


Undergraduate Scholars

Pictured left-to-right:   Zachary Haataja, Joseph “Mushy” Mushyakov, Johnathan Wright 

Zachary Haataja: Haataja is a third-year undergraduate from Mobile, Al at the Georgia institute of Technology pursuing a Bachelors in Materials Science and Engineering as well as a minor in Chemistry. Through the MSE department's Summer Research Scholar program he joined Dr. Aaron Stebner's group in the Advanced Manufacturing Pilot Facility (AMPF) focusing on many aspects of Additive Manufacturing. Since then he has performed work with the production of metallic powders through ultrasonic atomization for use in laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) printing of Nickel-Titanium shape memory alloys. He has helped lead a team to propose funding through the NASA BIG Idea Challenge to develop an alloy for AM on the Moon. Additionally, he has begun to do computer modeling work to quickly identify alloy systems for high temperature use cases.

Joseph “Mushy” Mushyakov: Mushyakov is a 3rd year undergraduate student studying Materials Science and Engineering. He is currently involved in two research labs on campus, one with Dr. Natalie Stingelin, where he is currently developing photonic devices for thermal management using an inorganic/organic polymer hybrid film, as well as volunteering in Dr. Thad Starner’s headword displays lab. Mushy is also the CEO of The MILL, the materials makerspace on campus. After an internship at one of Intel’s manufacturing plants, Joseph has discovered a new passion for Augmented Reality technology and is especially interested in driving this new technology forward.

Johnathan Wright: Wright is a junior in GT's Department of Materials Science and Engineering. Johnathan is a dedicated researcher with a focus on Additively Manufactured (AM) Aluminum 7050 alloys. His current work involves studying the impact of heat treatments on microstructure, corrosion properties, and mechanical behavior of these alloys. Specifically, he explores variations in solutionizing temperature/time and two-step aging temperature/time, using localized corrosion tests such as Cyclic Potentiodynamic Polarization and exfoliation corrosion testing following ASTM standards. Johnathan's goal is to enhance the understanding of how AM 7050 behaves compared to traditional processing methods, potentially leading to the development of an improved process for manufacturing corrosion-resistant aluminum 7xxx alloy, crucial for aerospace applications. Beyond his research, Johnathan maintains a perfect GPA and actively engages in MSE organizations intending to improve MSE's visibility both on and off campus.