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May 15, 2010
The Howard R. Hughes College of Engineering is pleased to announce that recent graduate, Leonardo Banchik '10, earned the prestigious Fulbright Scholarship and will conduct solar research in Spain this summer.
Leonardo Banchik is a testament to UNLV’s and the College of Engineering's emerging strength in renewable energy research and education.
An Honors College student who graduated with an impressive 3.94 GPA in mechanical engineering, Leonardo made an indelible mark in the area of solar research as a member of the UNLV Center for Energy Research (CER) which is directed by NSHE Distingushed Professor, Dr. Robert Boehm.
His work to improve the efficiency of photovoltaic systems was presented at the 2009 Energy Sustainability Conference in San Francisco, and his design of an inexpensive solar tracker for industrial systems took first prize in the college’s recent Fred & Harriet Cox Senior Design Competition.
Additionally, as an intern last summer at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, he placed third in a national research competition for designing a sensor that uses gold nano-particles to detect small traces of harmful mercury vapor in the air.
The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to “increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.”
With this goal as a starting point, the Fulbright Program has provided almost 300,000 participants—chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential — with the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.
Leo will work under a mentor, Dr. Jose Lorenzo Balenzategui Manzanares. Their project will be to characterize concentrated solar cells indoors. This will entail using a flash lamp that can produce light similar to sunlight in both spectrum and illuminance. The cells will be tested for their maximum power capacities as well as to determine weaknesses in their design.
Additional information about the Fulbright Scholar Program is available at: http://us.fulbrightonline.org/about.html
Congratulatons to Leo.
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