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Dr. Yvonne Ligaya F. Musico


Year joined the laboratory: 2018, Post-Doctorate

Major: Chemical Engineering

Hometown: Banton, Romblon, Philippines

Why I joined: As a chemical and environmental engineer who has better understanding about the link between environment, climate change and energy, I feel that I must take part in bridging the gap between them. This has greatly influenced me in my research interest on fuel cells as an alternative clean energy conversion over the conventional fossil fuels technology. With my research background and interest on graphene chemistry, I have discovered the amazing properties and structure of this nanomaterial which can be tailored and fine-tuned to develop and design new cost-effective electrocatalysts for fuel cells. I joined TEEL lab because I believe that this is the perfect platform for me to pursue my research on graphene and graphene oxide for green energy development. I am so glad and grateful to be part of the research group with wonderful and brilliant people under the supervision of great minds like Dr. Joey D. Ocon and Dr. Abel Chuang.

Future goals: Once I am done with my research, I will go back to my home country, the Philippines, and impart my knowledge about clean energy and fuel cells technology to my students, researchers, engineers and scientists. It is my hope that my study will contribute to the fund of knowledge in designing cost-effective processes and materials that can be used for clean energy technology. I will continually upgrade myself with the new knowledge/technology and do considerable researches that will be significant to the sustainable development. I am looking forward to handle projects where I can share my expertise in nanoscience, nanotechnology and engineering.

Dr. Rose Mendoza


Year active in the laboratory: 2017, Post-Doctorate

Major : Chemical Engineering

Hometown : Quezon City, Philippines

Why I joined : I feel that TEEL will give me much of the knowledge, learnings and skills I need to be able to contribute to the community and to the society. I do believe that the road to harnessing sustainable energy is not that far and TEEL will help me understand better how it will be achieved. With its state-of-the art Electrochemical Energy Laboratory and facilities, TEEL is absolutely a place where I can understand fully the concept of sustainable and stable fuel technology. 

Future Goals : The research area covered by TEEL will help me understand how will I be instrumental in opening new perspectives of harnessing energy in the most sustainable manner and maintain diversity by collaborating researches which will hopefully explore other research possibilities not just in engineering but in all fields of science. Deeply honored by the support of my country on these aspirations, my ultimate goal is to collaborate with other scientist in providing my country sustainable energy and stable fuel technology that it needs to progress and provide energy requirements down to the smallest community.

Visiting Scholar

Julie Anne D. del Rosario


Year joined the laboratory: 2017, Ph.D. Student

Major: Chemical Engineering

Hometown: Bulacan, Philippines

Why I joined: I joined TEEL as part of my Sandwich Program under the Philippine-California Advanced Research Institute (PCARI) Scholarships Project. The program offers Ph. D. students like me opportunities to continue or finish our dissertation in one of the University of California campuses. I chose to go to TEEL to be trained by top specialists who are active in my research field.

Future goals: After finishing my Ph.D., I would return as a faculty member in the University of the Philippines Diliman to train more students and scholars as researchers, and to head projects solving societal problems using electrochemical engineering. Hopefully, I can drive my own fuel cell car in the future.

Desiree Mae Sua-an


Year joined the laboratory: 2017, Master student (from UP Diliman)

Major: Energy Engineering

Hometown: Koronadal City, Philippines

Why I joined: TEEL provides an avenue to learn more about the recent developments and innovation in fuel cell research and in the field of electrochemistry. It also offers a constructive environment to hone my research skills.

Future goals: My goals are to give back to my country through the knowledge and skills that I gained during my stay in UC Merced, and to pursue my master’s degree and eventually a doctorate.

Reynaldo Geronia II


Year joined the laboratory: 2017, Master student (from UP Diliman)

Major: Energy Engineering

Hometown: Bataan, Philippines

Why I joined: Being a computational researcher, my experience with wet lab work is limited. I believe that by joining TEEL I will further my hands-on skills in fuel cell research, thus enabling me to become a more well-rounded researcher in electrochemical systems.

Future goals: I enjoy learning new things and sharing them with others. Hopefully, I get to use my skills to give back to my home country after I leave TEEL. Pursuing a PhD is not that far, too.

JM Mora


Year joined the laboratory: January 2017, Ph.D. Student (from UP Diliman)

Major: Energy Engineering

Hometown: Bulacan, Philippines

Why I joined: TEEL offers a great opportunity to expand my research experience as well as improve my professional conduct. With access to TEEL's research facilities and related equipment with guidance from professor Chuang and help from my lab mates, I am able to realize the vast potential of fuel cell research areas. The work that they do is important and equally exciting. It is a privilege to be part of this group.

Future goals: My goal is to make a contribution towards building an energy-secured future for my country. I am hoping that my research on fuel cell technology will play a part on advancing the energy storage systems and other related clean energy technologies.

Yanan Chen


Years active in the laboratory: 2015-2016, Ph.D. Student (visited from WHUT)

Major: Materials Science and Engineering

Hometown: Jingzhou, China

Why I joined: One of the major reasons that I chose my major as MSE is because I think material is the key point to design the device that we want. TEEL group is really a team full of wisdom and vitality. I believe that joining TEEL will make me grow a lot.

Future Goals: My goals are to get a doctorate degree and build low cost and commercial PEM stacks.

Maricor Divinagracia


Year joined the laboratory: 2017, Ph.D. Student (visited from UP Diliman)

Major: Energy Engineering

Hometown: Quezon City, Philippines

Why I joined: I am a part of the PCARI Green Power Project on PEMFCs, which is a collaboration between UP and UC. Since our laboratory is still in its inception stage, it would be helpful for me to be trained in an established one, complete with facilities and experienced teammates. TEEL will help me grow into a well-rounded researcher.

Future goals: My goals include writing a dissertation that will be valuable in the advancement of fuel cell research and finishing my doctorate degree.

Graduate Student

Shuo Huang


Year active in the laboratory: 2016, Ph.D. Student

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Hometown: Xinjiang, China

Why I joined: 1) I want to do the best research in the energy field. 2) The bright future of fuel cells and many opportunities and challenges in this area attract me. 3) Professor Chuang is a very diligent and determined scholar whom I admire very much.

Future Goals: To obtain the PhD degree. To become an excellent woman engineer.



Yogesh Bhusal


Year active the laboratory: 2016, 1st year Ph.D. student

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Hometown: Butwal, Nepal

Why I joined: I wanted to focus my graduate studies in learning as well as doing researches in renewable/clean energy systems design and energy management. The research activities in the TEEL lab squarely matched my interests. Moreover, the research in fuel cell technology, hydrogen fuel, and the challenges associated with hydrogen economy are very interesting to work upon and I would like to be the part of this game changer technology which, if successful, would bring revolution in the energy market; From running the industries and vehicles, to power for the buildings.

Future Goals: I come from a country being ravaged by the energy crisis. Introducing and implementing the renewable and clean energy technologies like fuel cell and solar energy is the need of the hour for my country. My goal here is to learn, research, and find out the economically most-viable and technically-feasible energy alternatives. I intend to be an expert in renewable energy system design, energy modeling, and implement those ideas in my home country after I graduate and go back.

Undergraduate Student

Lawrence Anderson


Year joined the laboratory: Summer 2016

Major: Material Science & Engineering

Hometown: Naperville, Illinois

Why you joined: After taking a course with Professor Chuang, I realized that he is the type of person that takes an interest in his students and genuinely wants to see them succeed, and I knew that he was somebody that I wanted to learn from. I didn't know much about fuel cells before joining this lab, but I was immediately intrigued by the concept and potential applications of these efficient, zero-emission devices, and I want to have an impact on their development.

Future : Upon finishing my undergraduate degree here at UC Merced, I hope to obtain a masters degree related to nanoscience or energy storage. I hope to make a positive impact on the people and technology with which I work. I want to develop and patent a new super material that makes me enough money to buy a personal space shuttle.

Eliezar Vigdorchik


Year joined the laboratory: 2017, 3rd year (Junior)

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Hometown: Redwood City, CA

Why you joined: I joined TEEL because I enjoy working with mechatronics systems and it afforded me the opportunity of working in a group environment and with support on improving efficient integration of alternate energy systems.

Future: I hope to get more involved with medical devices and medical equipment implementing mechatronics based solutions for medical problems and abnormalities.

Jeffrey Ali


Year joined the laboratory: 2016, 3rd year (Junior)

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Hometown: Vallejo, CA

Why you joined: I Joined TEEL after taking thermodynamics with Professor Chuang. I enjoyed the concepts discussed during the course, especially dealing with energy, and wanted to learn more about the field.

Future: After graduation I would like to work in the energy industry on renewable forms of energy.


Zachary Zisser


Year joined the laboratory: 2016, 4th year (Senior)

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Hometown: San Diego, CA

Future: My goals in life are to strive to learn as much as I can, so that I may help the world develop and grow.

Ashley Johnson


Years active in the laboratory: 2015-2016, 4th year (Senior)

Major: Materials Science and Engineering

Hometown: Born in Chicago, IL; raised in San Francisco, CA

Why I joined: I joined the TEEL lab because I saw an opportunity to learn, to experience the work done in a lab first hand, and to create something the world needs.

Future Goals: To explore the different branches of engineering in order to find my true passion. I hope to improve technology in a way that will benefit everyone someday.

Karen Turcios


Years active in the laboratory: 2015-2016, 4th year (Senior)

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Hometown: Born in Guatemala; raised in Northridge, CA

Why I joined: I decided to join the TEEL lab team primarily to enlarge my knowledge and skills set by getting hands on experience inside the lab. I saw it as a great opportunity to challenge myself to learn something outside of the school curriculum, and wanted to broaden the opportunities that may become available to me in the near future.

Future Goals: After graduation I hope to go into industry in a field I truly enjoy working in, and then later obtain my Masters.

Derek Brigham


Years active in the laboratory: 2015-2016, 5th year (Senior)

Major : Mechanical Engineering

Hometown : Ventura, CA

Why I joined : One of the major reasons that I changed majors from CSE to ME is because of the hands-on work. When I was little, I spent a lot of time around men in my family who worked with cars and carpentry and other similar things. Although I was too young to help back then, now I see TEEL as an opportunity to do some of my own hands-on work.

Future Goals : My goals are to get my undergraduate degree and then pursue a master's/PhD.

Marek Abarca


Year joined the laboratory: 2015, 4th year (Senior)

Major : Mechanical Engineering

Why you joined : I joined because I wanted to be part of something innovative and develop and contribute my skills.

Future : I plan on graduating with my degree in mechanical engineering and either getting a job/internship at Tesla Motors or continue my education for my Masters.

Jacob Clark


Year joined the laboratory: 2015, 3rd year (Junior)

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Hometown: Sacramento, CA

Why I joined: I joined TEEL lab because I was fascinated with the thermodynamics course material and with energy storage and production. I hope that in the process of working in this lab, I will further improve my understanding of hydrogen fuel cells and be able to apply these skills in the future.

Future Goals: I wish to work in the automotive industry. Automotive subjects have been a lifetime fascination for me.


Hai Yanfeng


Year joined the laboratory: 2016, 2nd year (Sophomore)

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Hometown: Zhengzhou, China

Why you joined: My interest in research related to clean energy, renewable energy, and energy storage made me join TEEL. Joining the lab has offered me real life applications from the courses I have taken. Along with that, I believe this lab is preparing me for graduate school.

Future: After I finished my undergraduate program at UC Merced, I am planning to apply for graduate programs and keep doing researches on renewable energy.