Summer 2017 Class Notes: Travel Edition

Want to share your latest adventures? Submit your class notes to Holly Altman at – and be sure to include a photo!

Aaron Ben
Class of 2017
BS in Chemical Engineering

I’ve been at home in Gallup, New Mexico, for most of the summer, which has been a great experience. I’ve also been working at the Tesoro refinery in Gallup.

Here are two photos. One is me on Pyramid Rock, a great hiking location west of Gallup that I’ve run/hiked up this summer in preparation for a 10K that I’m running in July. The other photo is of me with one of the dozen or so sheep at my house that my mom takes care of.

When I’m home, I help herd and shear. It’s a great experience that I’m learning to appreciate!















Alejandro Castilleja
Class of 2017
BS in Chemical Engineering

Here’s a pic of what I’ve been up to this summer. Spending some time in New York before the start of my career as a process engineer for Procter & Gamble at their Lima plant in Ohio. It’s their biggest plant by volume and revenue.











Iesha Betts
Class of 2016
BS in Chemical Engineering

This is a picture of me celebrating my 25th birthday in’s seventh best city for chemical engineers in the country, the Tri-Cities area in Washington State. I moved here at the beginning of July, and am excited to network my way into a company that will help me grow into being a highly skilled professional in chemical engineering!






Vicky Karanikola
Class of 2015, PhD in Environmental Engineering

Christopher Olivares
Class of 2011, BS in Chemical Engineering; Class of 2015, PhD in Environmental Engineering

Jorge Gonzalez
Class of 2014, PhD in Environmental Engineering

Sarah Moore
Class of 2014, BS in Chemical Engineering; PhD Student in Chemical Engineering

Lucia Rodriguez
Class of 2014, PhD in Environmental Engineering

Several alumni of the environmental engineering doctoral program – and a current chemical engineering doctoral student – presented their research at the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors Conference at the University of Michigan on June 20-22.

From left to right are Christopher, Sarah, Vicky, Jorge and Lucia.


Christian Montoya
Class of 2015
BS in Chemical Engineering

One of my hobbies is visiting different universities across the U.S., exploring the campus, attending campus and local events, trying to find the Bent, and returning home with a hat from the school. I aim to collect all of Pac-12, but I’m also trying to collect as many hats as possible. This photo of me was taken in April with the Bent at Oregon State University. It was a nice weekend getaway from Seattle and one of the few blistering-sunshine days in the spring!










Sidney Stuffle
Class of 2014
BS in Chemical Engineering

Back in May, I solo kayaked the upper Salt River (class III whitewater). This is a classic Arizona experience on the White Mountain Apache reservation that I was lucky enough to have all to myself on my 25th birthday.







Margarita Acedo
Class of 2013; MS in Chemical Engineering; PhD Student in Chemical Engineering

I received the Mickey Leland Energy Fellowship and went to Washington, D.C., for the orientation, followed by an internship at the Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, California. This is a photo of me in front of the White House!














Justin Neal
Class of 2013
BS in Chemical Engineering

I graduated on June 17 from the University California Riverside with my PhD in chemical and environmental engineering. My dissertation was on the modeling of electric double layer capacitors using ionic liquid mixtures and carbide-derived carbon materials to increase the energy storage of supercapacitors.

We worked with a research consortium called FIRST (Fluid Interfaces, Reactions, Structure, and Transport), a Department of Energy Frontiers Research Center. It was great to help the experimentalists with our predictions, and also have confirmation of our model from their results.

This picture of me not at work, which is where I like to be most of the time. It was taken at Nojoqui Falls in California.





Ningxin Wang
Class of 2012
BS in Chemical Engineering

I am pursuing a PhD degree at the chemical engineering department of Carnegie Mellon University. My current research area is atmospheric science, and I am expected to defend by the end of this year.

In May 2016, I was lucky enough to take part in the Finokalia Aerosol Measurement Experiments (FAME-16) field campaign on the island of Crete in Greece. We measured atmospheric particles using state-of-the-art instruments, including online mass spectrometers at a remote weather station in the village of Finokalia. Here is a picture taken during the campaign where it so happened that I was wearing a pair of Wildcat shorts and a Wildcat baseball cap!







Laura-Ann Chin
Class of 2010
BS in Chemical Engineering

Amanda Eskinazi
Class of 2010

Engineering Ambassador ‘besties’ share an epic vacation together swimming with turtles on Redang Island in Malaysia. Both Amanda and Laura Eskinazi [BS in biosystems engineering, 2010; BS in biomedical engineering, 2011] graduated from the UA in 2010, and they currently live in Orange County and Philadelphia, respectively.



Daniela Carvajal
Class of 2007, BS in Chemical Engineering; Class of 2009, MS in Chemical Engineering

I am working in the aerospace industry for Gulfstream Aerospace, which is part of General Dynamics Company. This is a picture of me visiting the Boeing Company in Seattle.












Neal Gallagher
Class of 1992
PhD in Chemical Engineering (co-advised by Jost Wendt and Thomas Peterson)

Here’s a photo of me and my wife, Keri, at Chamonix, France. We attended the International Spectral Imaging Meeting in 2016. I will co-chair the IASIM 2018 meeting in Seattle next summer.








Betsy (Villaescusa) Wilkening
Class of 1982, BS in Chemical Engineering

Jeannie Wilkening
Class of 2016, BS in Chemical Engineering

Here is a photo from October at Churchill College in Cambridge, U.K. It has me, Betsy (Villaescusa) Wilkening, with my daughter, Jeannie Wilkening. Jeannie is in Cambridge this year on the Churchill Scholarship earning an MPhil in earth sciences, and her dad and I visited her this past fall.







Bonnie Curtis
Class of 1980
BS in Chemical Engineering

I am retiring from Proctor & Gamble after 37 years, and working on what’s next for me. I was based in China for eight years, and have had a global job for the past 15, so I have lots of great stories and pictures.

I ran a P&G plant in China with 1,000 employees, and we had a joint-venture partnership with the communist government. It was the most exciting job I have ever had, as we were growing the business in China. The people I worked with there were bright, passionate, hard-working and so eager to learn. They are still some of my best friends today.

I learned enough Chinese to be able to get on stage and make a simple speech, although I usually goofed up a word or two and made the audience break out laughing, but I got credit for trying! The photo is of me and my family at Mount Everest.

University of Arizona College of Engineering