Undergraduate institution: Fort Lewis College
Dakota Rodriguez is a first-generation PhD student in mechanical engineering. While at Fort Lewis College, Dakota participated in undergraduate research in the nanofabrication and characterization lab under Jeff Jessing. Dakota started with the Lung-on-a-Chip project, where he worked with a team to construct a microfluidic device for in-situ testing of human lung cells against different drug therapies. For his capstone project, he worked on a porous silicon micro-thruster, which is a solid-state thruster for maneuvering satellites. He also spent a summer at CU Boulder doing thermal and acoustic wave modeling for the Kapteyn-Murnane group in JILA. Now at CU Boulder, he has started his PhD working in Chunmei Ban’s surface science and engineering research group. The Ban group’s work focuses on enabling next-generation battery materials and systems using novel surface chemistries. Dakota believes engineering and science should be a more inclusive and diverse community because when people come together with various perspectives and backgrounds, great things can be accomplished. In his free time, Dakota enjoys skiing, mountain biking and exploring the mountains with friends.