Sunday, December 04, 2022

Sara Andreoli receives EMS Award for Excellence in Research. Penn State University

University Park, Pa. —Sarah Andreoli, a postdoctoral researcher who recently completed her appointment with the Earth and Mineral Sciences Energy Institute at Penn State, received the honored 2022 EMS Postdoctoral Excellence in Research Award.

The award, which consists of a cash stipend and a memento, is designed to celebrate the postdoctoral scholar’s outstanding achievements in research that has influenced and will affect his field of study. Andreoli was honored at a college-wide awards ceremony on April 24.

“Sarah’s excellence in research lies in her passion for science, learning and innovation and is nurtured by her hard work combined with sacrifice, resilience and perseverance,” said her mentor, Semih Aser, Professor of Energy and Geo-Environmental Engineering . “Since she joined our lab, Sarah has ignited our research activity and was instrumental in securing funding for more than ten different research projects from internationally renowned companies that are leaders in their fields.”

In addition, Acer said, Andreoli contributed to his research group’s collaborative research program with the Department of Chemical Engineering at the Autonomous University of Madrid in Spain.

Andreoli’s research deals with the structure and properties of carbon materials. Four specific research projects include research on carbon supported catalysts for the hydrodechlorination of chloromethane; Characterization and selected oxidation of carbon/carbon and carbon/metal composites; Carbonization of refinery streams for the production of needle coke as a precursor to synthetic graphite; and the preparation and characterization of activated carbon from various hardwood species and the characterization of activated carbon from polymers.

“In my research, I assess and tune the structure and properties of carbon materials to improve material performance and quality and to find new applications,” Andreoli said. “My work is oriented towards better selection of raw materials and processing techniques to reduce environmental impact, energy consumption and cost of final products and processes.”

In each of his projects, Andreoli’s work advanced the preparation, modification and characterization of carbon materials, improving their performance in industrial applications and environmental remediation.

Andreoli’s passion for his work lies in the fact that chemistry is found everywhere.

“Chemistry is sometimes called the “central science” because it touches on all the other natural sciences, such as biology, physics and geology,” Andreoli said. “I don’t do the same thing over and over in my field. It’s such a dynamic job. You never get bored.”

Andreoli received his doctorate in chemistry in 2017 and a bachelor of science in 2011 and a master of science in 2013, both in industrial chemistry, from the University of Bologna in Italy.

Upon graduation, Andreoli was a postdoctoral researcher for the University of Bologna before receiving a Toso Montanari Fellowship to pursue her research abroad. She joined the Penn State EMS Energy Institute as a Visiting Scholar in 2017 and then as a Postdoctoral Scholar in 2018.

She has authored eight journal publications, received two patents, and made eleven presentations.

In her spare time, Andreoli enjoys cooking, solving puzzles, painting with watercolors, and spending time with her husband and son.

She said she felt very honored to receive the award and had never thought about being able to pursue her research in the US for the past five years.

“It was scary in the beginning,” she said. “I’ve never lived in America before, but I’ve been very lucky because I met so many nice people at the Energy Institute, and it made everything so much easier. They really are second family to me.”

Andreoli completed his appointment in June to join Morgan Advanced Materials at Penn State as a materials scientist. The company is a global manufacturer of specialist products utilizing carbon, advanced ceramics and composites for a wide range of markets.

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