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Andrew Lucchesi

Project Title

Cleaner Carbons & Fuels for Cleaner Air

Project Description

For my research experience, I want to do a project related to the 21st Century Grand Challenge of developing carbon sequestration methods. I believe that carbon sequestration is of great importance to modern-day engineers. With the ever-imposing threat of global warming and the ever-rising reliance on damaging fossil fuels, I would very much like to be a part of the solution and not the problem. Staying true to my major as a chemical engineer, I am specifically interested in the reaction aspect of carbon sequestration, specifically the use of ionic liquid-solvents in pulling carbon dioxide (CO2) out of the air. With a team of other Grand Challenge Scholars Program chemical engineers, I want to develop an efficient method of carbon sequestration, discovering along the way which ion solvents are best at removing CO2 from the air we breathe. Such a project would allow me to pursue my dream of using my Notre Dame chemical engineering degree to help better the lives of those worldwide, as I believe that clean air is a necessity to which everyone should have access.

Department Affiliation

Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Courses Related to My Project

For the interdisciplinary curriculum component of the Grand Challenges Scholar Program, I plan on focusing on classes related to business, public policy, and ethics. These three topics best represent my interests both inside and outside of engineering. I am very interested in the engineering world's correlation with business, especially in relation to consulting firms. To satisfy this desire, I plan on pursuing a Engineering Corporate Practice Minor, taking classes such as "Integrated Engineering and Business Fundamentals I and II," "Accountancy I," "Corporate Financial Management," and "Principles of Microeconomics."

If possible in my schedule, I would like to take some classes related to public policy and ethics. These two themes often come up in regards to my desired field of chemical engineering, as both things need to be considered in research projects, fuel production, water treatment, etc. I have already completed  "Ethical/Professional Issues in Engineering" as part of my summer study abroad program in Rome, which has furthered my knowledge in engineering-related public policy and ethics.

Business/Entrepreneurship Opportunities

An underrated part of the engineering world is the business side of the equation. Many engineers find themselves pursuing MBAs following their undergraduate degree, and others find jobs in business fields, such as investment banking or consulting. In order to best keep my options open, I plan on developing my business skills while enrolled at the University of Notre Dame. I would like to pursue a minor in Engineering Corporate Practice. As a result, I am planning to complete both "Integrated Engineering and Business Fundamentals I and II." These classes will provide a sufficient introduction of engineering's correlation to the business world, which will aid me in developing crucial financial insights that will help me best achieve my goals during the employed portion of my life.

Global Perspective

For the multicultural and global dimension aspect of GCSP, I plan on studying abroad in Rome as part of the Rome Summer Engineering Program. Not only will I connect with part of my culture (I am half-Italian), but I will also expand my engineering knowledge. I will take two outside-the-box classes: "Integrated Engineering and Business Fundamentals" and "Ethica land Professional Issues in Engineering." These classes go beyond the typical STEM-base of engineering and will ultimately help me further achieve my goal of a well-rounded mind. The global aspect of the study abroad will also help advance my studies. I will develop a better understanding of life outside the United States, while also learning to effectively work in a foreign environment. Both of these skills will be quite helpful in my future in the world of chemical engineering.

Community Engagements

In order to increase my social consciousness, I envision myself taking part in the Center for Social Concerns' Urban Plunge. Held over winter break, this service initiative will place me in a poverty stricken neighborhood for a short — albeit meaningful — period of time. Such an experience will allow to me to live with the effects of poverty and human rights abuses, which are two themes that I have explored in my "Honors Seminar" this year with Professor Lionel Jensen. I am most interested in the sessions held in Brooklyn and Newark. These two areas are close to home for me, and I would definitely like to see for myself why these places have negative reputations.

Additionally, I come from a background of immigrants, as my Mom's side of the family left poverty-stricken Guyana in pursuit of better lives in the United States in the 1980s. Now, I have been blessed with certain privileges that came from my parents' successes, but part of me has always wanted to experience a life similar to the one my Mom lived in Guyana. I want to see and feel what it is like to have nothing. I anticipate that doing such will almost certainly increase my desire to help those in need by using my engineering degree. I want to ensure that poor cities like Newark and Brooklyn become cleaner, safer, and more habitable for future generations. With specific regards to chemical engineering, perhaps in the future I can help ensure that these cities have clean air and safe drinking water by working to develop more efficient fuels and better water treatments for an oil company (my dream).