Theresa Saenz

Hometown: Michigan City, Indiana
College: College of Engineering
Major: Materials Engineering

Theresa Saenz of Michigan City, Indiana, will travel to Germany to work in the famous Fraunhofer Institut on her Fulbright U.S. Student Program grant. She hopes to conduct research that improves renewable energy sources, specifically the efficiency of solar panels. The Purdue senior will graduate in May, 2017 with a materials engineering degree from the College of Engineering.  She is also a member of Purdue Honors College.

“Solar energy is an incredibly well-suited resource for powering the developing world, where power is needed the most,” Saenz said. 

At Fraunhofer, she plans to investigate ways to improve the quality of the materials used in solar cells, develop new materials for use in solar applications and devise ways to help solar cells absorb more light. Materials engineering professor Elliott Slamovich says Saenz’s work reflects a degree of sophistication he usually only sees among top graduate students.

“She is very creative in her approach to research and is not discouraged when things do not go as planned; she simply assesses the situation and then decides on a plan of action,” he said.  “I have truly enjoyed working with her because she combines the curiosity and risk taking of a free spirit with the intellect and maturity of a dedicated scholar.”

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