The Former Woodside High School Graduate is Researching Material for a Stretchable Solar Cell
Cañada College alum Esther Chan has received a grant from the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2) Summer Undergraduate Research Program and will be conducting research on sustainable energy this summer at UC San Diego. Chan is researching the fabrication of copper electrodes on a rigid substrate that can be transferred to a stretchable substrate. “The goal of the project is to make a stretchable transparent conducting electrode that can be used in a stretchable solar cell,” she said.
The research is being conducted at the UC San Diego Laboratory for Energy Storage and Conversion. The goal of the lab is to design and develop new functional nanomaterials and nanostructures for advanced energy storage and conversion applications. Discoveries in the lab could lead to smaller, more powerful batteries and provide ways to harness more sustainable energy sources. The UCSD Calit2 Summer Undergraduate Research Program provides students with the opportunity to perform hands-on research under the guidance of a UCSD faculty advisor over a 10-week period. It is a non-academic university research unit where researchers from different disciplines come together to study and develop new technology to address issues in the economy and society.
When she graduated from Woodside High School four years ago, she hadn’t settled on a college major. “I came to Cañada because I didn’t feel right going to a four-year school without a real sense of what I wanted to do.” It’s safe to say she found her direction at Cañada. She met Amelito Enriquez, professor of engineering and mathematics, who set her on a course to study mechanical engineering. She also received the support of Cathy Lipe, the director of the Mathematics, Engineering, Science, Achievement Program.
“I can’t imagine where I would be without them,” Chan said. “I am so appreciative of everything they have done for me. They are the best team any engineering student can have. You can tell that they really care about the students.” Chan is pursuing her dream at UC San Diego. “I came here interested in the work being done in developing sustainable energy solutions and I would love to continue this research as a career.”
At Cañada, Chan had the opportunity to present research at a national conference. She said that prepared her for her current pursuits at UC San Diego. “There is no better choice than Cañada,” she said. “You get a genuine sense of community from students who are motivated and friendly and receive a great education from professors who care about their students. It’s true, from here, you can go anywhere."