The Graduate School Advance to a Higher Degree

Elena Alicia Robles-Molina

Why did you choose Purdue?

I had already considered Purdue for a semester abroad during my undergrad. I knew the bioprocesses program was one of the best in the USA and probably one of the best in the world. I later found about the global engineering program and some of the great collaborations Purdue has with national scholarships like CONACyT. I started reading about the possible research opportunities within ABE and the highly qualified professors with incredible projects and all the attention from fellow grad students and other staff convinced me I was making the right decision.

Career goal?

Get to be a consultor working on my own time.

Favorite fact about Purdue?

That this is truly one of the bests schools in the world but everyone in staff and students is simple and willing to help you.

Please briefly describe your research

My research is based environmentally friendly processes. Right now, I am working in finding a practical design for an enzymatic reaction to make soybean epoxides from vegetable oil. These molecules can later be applied as lubricants, plasticizers, sealants, and many more industrial things and can also give vegetable oil and extra market to exploit. The enzymatic reaction helps us by eliminating the use of harsh chemicals such as phosphoric acid and concentrated acetic acid and replacing it with a mild concentration of Hydrogen peroxide. The whole deal of this research is to have a process stable enough to produce many liters of epoxides without spending all our money on super expensive enzymes. These enzymes although common (you can find them in laundry detergent and are use in some paper processing) can be very expensive and delicate (They get oxidized and loose their activity) so we need to find a way to reuse them many times.

If you have free time, how do you choose to spend it?

I love walking around campus, there is always something new to see or learn. I also enjoy going to the COREC usually go everyday to disconect and get the ideas flowing playing racquetball.

What’s your workspace setup like?

I usually am in a big office space, I have 7 office mates and in the same room we have a medium size dinner with fridge, microwaves, coffe machine and a sink. That is our office space, it is in the same building as all the labs I work at.

What do you listen to while you work?

I like to explore many playlist. I often found myself tired of the same songs so just play the radio if a song I like and repeat to let it see where it takes me.

What are you currently reading, or what is the last thing you read (aside from academic reading)?

Probably wikipedia or some googled websites on how to go to Lollapalooza on a budget.

What’s your sleep routine like?

I am a sloth. My sleeping schedule usually depends on how I am babysitting my experiments but I always make time for sleeping.

How do you recharge physically and/or mentally?

Walk or work out. Always helps.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Always verify the pros and cons of a decision.

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