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Alissa J

- Research Program Mentor

PhD at University of Pennsylvania (UPenn)


Mechanical engineering, Electrochemistry (batteries, fuel cells, etc.)., Applied Mechanics, Energy Storage, Energy Policy, Materials Science


I have undergraduate, masters, and doctoral degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania. So, I have a strong background in engineering, with a specific focus on thermodynamics, heat transfer, fluids, and energy. I currently work as a postdoctoral research fellow at CNRS in Nantes, France. My research focuses on materials characterization for improving the cycle life of Zinc batteries, which means making safer and less expensive batteries that you can charge and re-charge many times. My PhD thesis focused on new battery designs for higher energy density batteries, which means batteries that can last longer on a single charge. As a PhD student, I was passionate about teaching and pedagogy. I regularly participated in teaching workshops and mini courses on teaching and earned a teaching certificate. I have mentored several undergraduate students on their own research projects. I have also worked with middle and high school students at science and engineering summer camps. I recently moved to Nantes, France with my dog, Pierogi, and my husband. In my free time I enjoy hanging out with Pierogi and teaching him new tricks. We go on hikes in nearby nature parks or walk around the different neighborhoods of the city. I also enjoy playing strategy board games with friends and usually attend the annual board game convention at the Philadelphia convention center in December.

Project ideas

Project ideas are meant to help inspire student thinking about their own project. Students are in the driver seat of their research and are free to use any or none of the ideas shared by their mentors.

Emerging Battery Technologies Review Paper

As electric vehicles (EVs) are starting to take over the automobile market, it seems like there are several daily news articles describing a "new battery technology" which is bound to revolutionize EV batteries. The reality is, many of these so-called "breakthrough" technologies still have a lot of work that needs to be done before they can effectively power our EVs. In this project, you will learn about different current and emerging battery technologies with an emphases on electric vehicle applications. You will use your knowledge to write a review paper comparing and analyzing these different types of batteries.

Green Energy Incentives and Policy Recommendations

For this project, you would first spend time familiarizing yourself with the different green energy incentives (or lack thereof) and other energy policies in existence for a city/town/state of your choice. There are several scales where these different policies or incentives could exist from the individual level where a homeowner might get tax credits for installing solar panels to an industry level where a company could receive subsidies for installing a new power plant. After learning about existing policies in your area of choice, you will then work to write a brief memo with your recommendation for an additional law or policy.

Coding skills


Languages I know

French (B1)

Teaching experience

I recently started a new role as a postdoctoral researcher at CNRS in Nantes, France. I have immediately become involved in the mentoring and training of PhD students. I have also participated in some science outreach events with local high school students. In August 2023 I graduated with my PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania. I have extensive experience teaching, tutoring, and mentoring younger scientists and students. As a PhD student, I have helped to teach several engineering classes at Penn and also mentored many undergraduate students on their own independent research projects. I also regularly attended teaching seminars and earned a teaching certificate. During my undergraduate years, I was a volunteer tutor for local high school students in Philadelphia and helped run a science and engineering summer camp for middle school students. I am very passionate about teaching and mentoring students in STEM topics and I am excited to work with you!


Work experience

CNRS (2023 - Current)
Postdoctual Researcher


University of Pennsylvania (UPenn)
BSE Bachelor of Science in Engineering (2017)
Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics
University of Pennsylvania (UPenn)
MSE Master of Science in Engineering (2017)
Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics
University of Pennsylvania (UPenn)
PhD Doctor of Philosophy
Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics

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