Dana R. Flores, a doctoral candidate in the Civil & Environmental Engineering Department at the Cullen College of Engineering, has earned the Ian C. Watson Fellowship for Membrane Advancement from the American Membrane Technology Association.
As part of the fellowship, Flores presented at the 2023 Membrane Technology Conference in Knoxville, Tenn., the week of Feb. 20 through Feb. 23.
Flores is advised by Devin Shaffer, Assistant Professor in Cullen's Civil and Environmental Engineering Department. He emphasized the need and importance of the research she is doing.
“Dana is smart and ambitious, as evidenced by her desire to tackle the unresolved research questions about transport in nanofiltration membranes,” he said. “Her research is addressing a critical need for accessible, predictive models of nanofiltration performance that membrane scientists and engineers can use to develop nanofiltration membranes for drinking water treatment and wastewater recycling.”
Flores attributed her academic success to a combination of inspiration and support from her family and from Shaffer.
“My parents have had a huge impact on my academic development by always emphasizing the importance of education and encouraging me in my various academic and career goals,” she said. “Specifically, my mom provided my first exposure to engineering as she told me growing up about her undergraduate degree in electrical engineering, and she showed me by example that it’s never too late to shift career paths, gain more education and align your work with your interests. Like her, I returned to graduate school after several years in the workforce and am excited about the new career directions in my future after graduation.”
She added, “My advisor, Devin Shaffer, has also had a really positive effect on my academic development. As a professor during my master’s program, he recognized my potential and interest in research and has been a supportive mentor throughout my experience in the Ph.D. program. Getting to learn from his experiences in both research and industry has been a real benefit for my growth.”
Flores successfully defended her dissertation proposal in 2022, and she is targeting December 2023 for graduation.
“After graduation, I'm interested in working in consulting for industrial wastewater treatment,” she said. “With my previous experience in the energy and chemicals space and the research skills I’m developing at UH, I’m excited for what’s next.”
According to the AMTA, the Watson fellowship is “in honor of his long and distinguished career dedicated to the beneficial application of membrane technology and his positive influence on both novice and seasoned membrane practitioners.” Watson is known as a modern pioneer of membrane processes, and he served as AMTA’s first Executive Director.
For more information, visit the AMTA website.