SEI and EPICenter Announce James G. Campbell Fellowship and Spark Awards Recipients


The Strategic Energy Institute (SEI) of Georgia Tech is excited to announce that Bettina Arkhurst is the 2023 recipient of the James G. Campbell Fellowship Award. Arkhurst’s commitment to academics, research, and community service has been recognized by the award committee. She is a Ph.D. candidate advised by Katherine Fu, professor in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering.

Arkhurst holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Georgia Tech. Her research seeks to understand how concepts of energy justice can be applied to renewable energy technology design to better consider marginalized and vulnerable populations. She strives to create frameworks and tools for mechanical engineers to apply as they design energy technologies for all communities.

As an energy equity intern at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Arkhurst has worked with colleagues to better understand the role of researchers and engineers in the pursuit of a more just clean energy transition. She is also a leader in the Woodruff School’s graduate student mental health committee, which seeks to improve the culture around graduate student mental health and well-being. Additionally, Arkhurst is working with the Georgia Tech Center for Sustainable Communities Research and Education (SCoRE) to develop a course on community engagement and engineering that will launch in Spring 2024.

The Energy, Policy, and Innovation Center (EPICenter) and the Strategic Energy Institute are proud to announce the 2023 Spark Award recipients: Jake Churchill, Jordan R. Hale, Andrew G. Hill, Henry J. Kantrow, Emily Marshall, and Jacob W Tjards. The award honors outstanding leadership in advancing student engagement in energy research.

Churchill is a master’s student in mechanical engineering advised by Akanksha Menon, assistant professor in the Woodruff School. Working with Menon in the Water-Energy Research Lab, his research focuses on coupling reverse osmosis desalination with renewable energy and storage technologies to provide clean, sustainable, and affordable water in the face of growing global water stress. Churchill has led the Georgia Tech Energy Club’s Solar District Cup team for three years, guiding students interested in solar energy careers. He has also been involved with several SEI initiatives, including EPICenter’s high school summer camp, Energy Unplugged. He is currently facilitating a student-led study to quantify the benefits of cleaning photovoltaic panels using the rooftop array at the Carbon Neutral Energy Solutions Lab.

Hale is pursuing a Ph.D. in chemistry, specializing in theoretical and computational chemistry under Joshua Kretchmer, assistant professor in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry. His current research focus is utilizing various quantum dynamics formalisms and unique computational techniques to identify the microscopic mechanisms of electron transport in perovskite solar cells. Hale has mentored high school students, teaching them the fundamentals of computational chemistry and various programming skills. Additionally, he has been actively engaged with undergraduate students from other universities both in and out of Georgia through the Summer Theoretical and Computational Chemistry workshop.

Hill is a Ph.D. candidate in the Soper Lab in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry. His research is focused on the activation of strong chemical bonds using Earth-abundant metals for energy conversion and storage. He has taken an active leadership role on campus, in part through service as the president of the Georgia Tech Chemistry Graduate Student Forum.

Marshall is a second-year graduate student working for Alan Doolittle, professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. She uses specialized molecular beam epitaxy techniques to grow high-quality III-nitride materials for next-generation power, radio frequency, and optoelectronic devices. Her current research focuses on improving the fundamental understanding of the scandium catalytic effect to optimize the growth of scandium aluminum nitride, a material that shows great promise for applications in future power grids. In addition to her research, Marshall is committed to teaching, having volunteered for five semesters serving her fellow students as a peer instructor at the Hive Makerspace and currently training junior members of her lab to grow semiconductors via molecular beam epitaxy. After earning her master’s and Ph.D., she hopes to continue teaching, mentoring, and connecting others across the world in an effort to bring about a brighter future.

Kantrow is a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, co-advised by Natalie Stingelin and Carlos Silva. His research seeks to understand the photo physics of semiconducting polymers operating in dynamic dielectric environments and to provide material design guidelines for solar fuel technologies. He is an active student leader in the Center for Soft Photo-Electrochemical Systems, where he also serves on the energy justice committee. He served as the secretary of the Association for Chemical Engineering Graduate Students (AChEGS) in 2022 and continues to mentor first-year graduate students in AChEGS and through the Pride Peers Program at Georgia Tech.

Tjards is a graduate research assistant at Georgia Tech’s Sustainable Thermal Systems Laboratory. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Georgia Tech in 2021 before beginning his Ph.D. program, where he is studying energy systems. Tjards’ research is focused on modeling new manufacturing processes of drywall and aluminum to reduce water consumption during production. Additionally, he is working on a new technique for water purification. While in school, he has been a teaching assistant and instructor for the undergraduate mechanical engineering course on energy systems analysis and design (ME 4315). In his free time, Tjards enjoys Formula 1 racing, Georgia Tech baseball games, and woodworking.