Dr. Raisa C. A. Ela, Postdoctoral Associate in CEMS & CSP, named a 2021 MIT ChemE Rising Star

Dr. Raisa C. A. Ela, a Postdoctoral Associate in CEMS and the National Science Foundation (NSF) Center for Sustainable Polymers (CSP) at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, was selected as a 2021 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Chemical Engineering Rising Star.

Rising Stars convened (virtually) for a two-day, academic career workshop that included top female doctoral students and postdoctoral researchers who are approximately one year away from submitting applications for faculty openings. The program included research presentations, panel discussions with MIT faculty, communications workshops, and a networking events with faculty, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers currently at MIT.

Dr. Ela currently works under the supervision of Professor Paul Dauenhauer. Prior to holding this postdoctoral position, she completed a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science in chemical engineering at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque. There, she explored various avenues of research. She investigated the electrochemical performance of graphene nanosheets supported catalysts for the oxidation of organic acids, polypeptide cloning, and mesoporous lipid-coated silica nanoparticles as drug delivery systems.

She attended Michigan Technological University and obtained a PhD in chemical engineering under the direction of Professor Rebecca G. Ong. Specifically, her dissertation centered on producing innovative, sustainable, bio- and environmentally friendly lignin-based wood fungicides from black liquor, a byproduct from the pulp and paper industry, and she was twice awarded the 2nd place at the Executive Advisory Board Graduate Research Poster Competition. Besides scientific research, Dr. Ela is passionate about mentorship, outreach, inclusion, equity, diversity and women empowerment initiatives.