J-WAFS Graduate Student Fellows

J-WAFS Graduate Student Fellows

Sahil Shah

Sahil Shah, PhD candidate, 2019-2020 Meswani Fellow

Department of Mechanical Engineering

Sahil Shah is a PhD candidate in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at MIT. His PhD research focuses on new methods to decrease the cost and energy use of groundwater treatment for drinking water. Currently, he is exploring the use of electrodialysis, which is a membrane-based desalination process. By improving the design of the control mechanisms for this process, as well as by redesigning the devices to achieve higher desalination efficiency, he seeks to decrease the cost of these systems and their energy use.

Peter Godart

Peter Godart, PhD candidate, 2019-2020 J-WAFS Fellow

Department of Mechanical Engineering

Peter Godart is a PhD candidate in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, and also holds BS and MS degrees in mechanical engineering and a BS in electrical engineering from MIT. Godart's current research at MIT focuses on improving global sustainability by using aluminum waste to power desalination and produce energy. Through this work, he aims to provide communities around the world with a means of improving both their waste management practices and their climate change resiliency. He is creating a complete system that can take in scrap aluminum and output potable water, electricity, and high-grade mineral boehmite. The process enables recycled aluminum to react with water in order to produce hydrogen gas, which could be used in fuel cells or internal combustion engines to generate electricity, heat, and power for desalination systems.

Krithika Ramchander

Krithika Ramchander, PhD candidate, 2018-2019 Meswani Fellow

Department of Mechanical Engineering

Krithika Ramchander is a PhD candidate in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at MIT. The focus of Ramchander’s research is to develop a low-cost, point-of-use water filter using sapwood xylem from coniferous trees to facilitate safe access to drinking water for rural communities in India that lack access to safe water supplies. She is interested in working on technologies that lie at the intersection of micro/nano scale transport and health and device design. While at MIT she has been an active member of the MIT Water Club, including taking on multiple leadership roles in the group. Find out more about Krithika's research and the work she was involved in during her fellowship semester in this interview.

Andrea Karin Beck

Andrea Karin Beck, PhD candidate, 2018-2019 J-WAFS Fellow

Department of Urban Studies and Planning

Andrea Beck is a PhD candidate in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT. Her research focuses on the politics of water and sanitation governance in cities of the global South, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. Andrea’s dissertation project examines transnational Water Operators’ Partnerships (WOPs) as an alternative partnership approach for strengthening public water and sanitation utilities in developing countries. Through urban ethnography, she seeks to understand how different WOP constellations affect the ‘everyday practices’ of utility staff, and how these practices in turn mediate access to water and sanitation services among urban populations. Andrea brings a background in development planning, water resources management, international relations, and political science to her dissertation project. Prior to her doctoral studies, she worked for various development organizations in Malawi, Tanzania, and Germany.

Sarah Fletcher

Sarah Fletcher, PhD candidate, 2017-2018 Meswani Fellow

Institute for Data, Systems, and Society
Affiliate, Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change

Sarah Fletcher is a PhD candidate at the Institute for Data, Systems, and Society at MIT who is also affiliated with the Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change. Sarah’s research focuses on sustainable water resource system planning, with an emphasis on developing flexible water supply planning tools that can help policymakers meet societal needs for water in the face of an uncertain future. Sarah works across disciplines – systems engineering, hydrology, and public policy – to analyze complex sociotechnical problems and communicate solutions to stakeholders.  Find out more about Sarah's work developing a systematic planning framework for long-term water infrastructure in this news piece.

Omar Labban

Omar Labban, PhD candidate, 2017-2018 Meswani Fellow

Department of Mechanical Engineering

Omar Labban is a PhD candidate in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at MIT. He is interested in the intersection of thermal sciences with membrane technology and desalination, and recently collaborated with a team of international researchers to develop new hollow fiber nanofiltration modules that can operate under very low pressures for desalination pretreatment and scaling mitigation. Omar also worked on employing membrane technology in dehumidification and cooling as part of an MIT study focused on next-generation HVAC technologies. He is motivated by the ways membrane technology can lower the energy use and environmental footprint of current desalination technologies, and pave the way for more efficiently and sustainably produced desalinated water.

Zijay Tang

Tzu-Chieh Tang, PhD candidate, 2017-2018 J-WAFS Fellow

Department of Biological Engineering

Tzu-Chieh Tang (Zijay) is a PhD candidate in the Department of Biological Engineering at MIT, where he works as a research assistant in both the Synthetic Biology Group in the Research Laboratory of Electronics (RLE) and the Mediated Matter research group at the MIT Media Lab. Zijay is interested in biologically inspired engineering. His current research combines synthetic biology and materials design to build functional living materials that can sense, compute, memorize, and respond to environmental stimuli. Find out more about Zijay's research and the work he was involved in during his flelowship semester in this interview.