CBE Graduate Student Spotlight - Shiljashree Vijay

By. Jenna Anderson

Shiljashree Vijay – CBE Student Spotlight

PhD student Shiljashree Vijay was recently in Germany as a part of her graduate research. Vijay’s research at the University of Iowa is sponsored by SunHydrogen Inc. With the developments happening in her research, SunHydrogen is currently in cooperation with a German company, the Schmid Group, to further develop the manufacturing process. The purpose of Vijay’s visit was to recreate her research work on-site at the German company to help them review and analyze the lab-scale processes to scale up the manufacturing systems.

Hometown

My native place is Kerala, India. I was born and raised in Mangalore which is an Arabian sea port in the state Karnataka, India.

Undergraduate Degree

My undergraduate degree is in Chemical Engineering from Siddaganga Institute of Technology, in Karanataka, India.

How did you choose the University of Iowa for your graduate studies?

During my final semester of my master's in chemical engineering from Arizona State University, I was hunting for universities for PhD in Chemical Engineering and University of Iowa was on my priority list of schools. I searched for professors working in the sustainable energy research field. I came across Dr. Syed Mubeen’s research profile and I immediately sent him emails showing my interest in being a part of the research group. He responded to my emails, and also had virtual interview calls. Dr. Mubeen also introduced me to his research group members. I reached out to one of the graduate students from Mubeen’s research group. This way I got to know more about the department, the University and Iowa City. I was happy and convinced to choose University of Iowa for my graduate studies.

What professor are you doing research with, and what is the focus of your research?

Dr. Syed Mubeen is my research advisor. My research is to develop highly efficient and cost-effective photoelectrochemical devices for sustainable hydrogen production.

What are your plans after graduation?

To work in the semiconductor industry as a research scientist.

What advice do you have for incoming graduate students?

When you are searching for universities for your graduate studies, it is always helpful to reach out to the department, students or faculty with your questions because they can give you the correct information! Also, I connect with the university students through social media platforms and LinkedIn too.

I was in Arizona when I was looking for universities and I had no contacts in Iowa City to know much about the university. I got all my answers through emails from the graduate college, department, graduate students and professors. Now the CBE Department is like my family!

What has been your favorite memory from your time at the University of Iowa?

I started here at the University of Iowa in the fall of 2020. Due to COVID regulations everything including orientations and classes were online! I was eager to meet the rest of the department in person. The CBE department had organized a fall 2020 picnic following all COVID safety protocols. This is my favorite memory here. I got to meet the rest of the people in the department. It was a fun evening!

Favorite class you have taken at the University of Iowa?

I have two classes in mind. One is the literature review class by Dr. Fiegel and the second is electrochemical engineering taught by Dr. Mubeen.

What advice do you have for people searching for internships/job opportunities?

My process is first to look for opportunities which match my skills, filter the companies and connect with our university alumni working in those companies to know more about the company and to prepare for the interview. For industrial collaborations, you need to work with your advisor and discuss how to proceed with the research to meet industrial needs. Know your work well in order to perform well in an industry too.

What are some of your hobbies?

I like reading fiction-mysteries, science fiction, thrillers, fantasy and romance, dancing, hiking.

Favorite place you have traveled to?

Oeschinen Lake, Switzerland. (Featured in photos)

Fun fact about you?

I know to style my outfits in so many ways. My friends always think they are all different.

Shiljashree Vijay in Switzerland