• Podcast
  • Jan 22 2018

'UK at the Half' with Angela Gutierrez

University of Kentucky Chemical Engineering graduate student Angela Gutierrez was featured during "UK at the Half," which aired during the UK vs. Florida basketball game, broadcast on radio Jan. 20.

Among the topics she discussed are UK's Superfund Research Program and outreach efforts to teach students to love science.

UK at the Half
With Angela Gutierrez, UK Chemical Engineering PhD student

Carl Nathe: Thanks Keith!

Angela Gutierrez: How do we make something that's good, that's new, that's effective? But then how do we then apply it in the environment - in the actual contaminated area or in the field, and make sure that it works there? Superfund is very interested in making sure that those development that you do in the lab get translated all the way into the field.

Carl Nathe: That's Angela Gutierrez, who came to the University of Kentucky from her native country of Columbia in the fall of 2012 to pursue her Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering. Angela had heard about Kentucky while giving a presentation at a conference attended by esteemed faculty member Dibakar Bhattacharyya.

Angela Gutierrez: Coming from Columbia, I'd always been interested in finding ways to make clean water more sustainable and more accessible for people.

Carl Nathe: Recently, Gutierrez earned the Karen Wetterhahn Memorial Award for scientific excellence from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Superfund Research Program. Her innovative work in laboratories of UK Superfund researchers Zach Hilt and Thomas Dziubla is focused on developing tiny magnetic particles to capture and remove dangerous polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs from water.

Angela Gutierrez: What I've been working on is trying to develop an alternative technology from what's being used right now, so that it's easier to produce, it costs a little less to produce, and then it also has a high affinity for PCBs and other contaminants so that we can take them out of water in a more easy to use approach.

Carl Nathe: In addition to doing research and serving as a teaching assistant at UK, Angela mentors undergraduate students in the lab and is active in promoting young people's interest in science and engineering.

Angela Gutierrez: It's something that I've been very passionate about. Teaching people that love of science. The thought of what you do actually impacts, actually makes a difference. And I've worked with eight undergrads that have worked directly with me in the lab. That spark that you have when you're a kid for trying to figure out how things work, it's always been rewarding to see when undergrads get that spark back.

Carl Nathe: Gutierrez is on track to complete her doctorate this spring, and hopes to eventually form a startup company as an outgrowth of her research. She added:

Angela Gutierrez: People here are incredibly nice. Everyone's always trying to help you, always to open to talking to you. Professors are incredibly smart, they're very approachable, and everyone wants the best for you.

Carl Nathe: University of Kentucky Chemical Engineering graduate student Angela Gutierrez, who credits UK's international center and graduate school with making her feel at home right from the start. For more, visit uky.edu. Seeing blue, I'm Carl Nathe with UK at the Half.