Ashlynn Berry, a graduate student in the Department of Chemistry in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, thinks a lot about energy: How it’s produced, how it’s stored and what it would take to make the world’s energy system sustainable. “Ever since high school, I’ve been interested in helping solve pollution and other environmental crises,” she said. “That means looking at energy.”
Those big questions have led to a major honor. Berry is one of 60 graduate students from across the country — and the only one in Missouri — selected to participate in the Department of Energy’s Office of Science Graduate Student Research fellowship program. As a participant, she will spend six months at Sandia National Laboratories in Livermore, Calif., where she will work with renowned chemist (and 1980 WashU alumnus) Mark Allendorf. “The recognition from the Department of Energy is pretty incredible,” she said. “It will be an amazing learning experience.”
At WashU, Berry has been working with Bryce Sadtler, an associate professor of chemistry, to develop new materials for the green production of hydrogen fuel from water — work that is vital to the mission of developing gasoline alternatives for cars and trucks.
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