MSE M.Eng. Spotlight: Yirou Wang

Yirou Wang

As the pandemic continues, MSE MEng students are doing their part to help combat it. Ms. Yirou Wang has been working with Halomine Inc., a Cornell University-based spin out company, on prolonging the lifespan of cleaning products. This technology is especially important as COVID-19 is still rampant, and the need to maintain a clean and healthy environment is of utmost importance to communities at large. Find out more about Yirou's work below.

  • How do you decide on your project?

The first time that I knew about this project was at the beginning of my master's student life during our orientation. My instructor was one of the company representatives and he gave a presentation about the project. At that time I was interested and asked to do a semester project with them because I have some background research in that area and also would like to dive more into this area. However, at that time, they would only accept a semester internship but not a semester project. So I just looked for other projects and I found a semester project with Kionix and a 11-month internship with Arkema. However, the pandemic had messed up my plan about the 11-month internship at the end of my second semester, my intern opportunity was not secured at that time. I was waiting for the updates from Arkema while looking for other intern opportunities.  I tried to reach out to Halomine and found that they were still looking for someone in the R&D department. They were interested in my background and offered a summer internship to me.

  • Tell more about the project:

Because it is a start up company, I worked directly under the supervision of the CTO of the company. Basically my week would be: design an experiment on Monday morning and start the experiment on Monday afternoon. On Wednesday, I would basically repeat the experiment I did on Monday with modification based on Monday's results. I would say the pace of work was fast. 

As for the experiments, I was using the HaloFilm (a polymer solution) on stainless steel and charge with different chlorine-based disinfectant and titrate the surface chlorine concentration after different time gaps between chlorine charge and titration. Later I was working on using the same kind of chlorine solution but implementing different treatment, such as wiping, rinsing, etc. to see the how the surface chlorine concentration would change. The last part, based on the former experiment, we found that pH and dry method would also influence the chlorine charge efficiency, so I designed and conducted the experiment.

Becasue it is a small company, I can really see how my work has contributed to the company and I can also see my personal development during my internship. It is a three-month summer internship, during the first month, I was basically reading some papers and catching up with the background information. I started the experiment the second month and at that time, my experiment was designed by my instructor. But at the end of my internship, I was able to design the experiment for myself. I think this was a big progress in such a short time.

  • What stands out most about your Meng/Cornell experience?

I really gained a lot during my time at Cornell and in my program, but the thing that stands out most would be that I know more about myself. When I applied for graduate school in US, I applied to 9 Master of Science programs and one Master of Engineering program because at that time, I was thinking that I would like to become a researcher in the area of Materials Science. When I was deciding between which MS degree to work towards, I asked myself: what about MEng? When I was doing research in lab at that time, I would feel upset and not energetic because it seemed that what I was doing was years before the manufacturing and maybe these research ideas would be easily abandoned after several years. I was more excited about seeing what I did transform into a real thing in the near future. So I chose this MEng program. At the beginning of my MEng program, I was so nervous. The more I dive into this program, I find it is was providing more than what I've expected. I enjoy doing projects with companies to deal with real problems. I am really satisfied about where I am now. I would like to thank this program for helping me find the real me.

  • What's next?

I've got the return offer from Halomine, so if policy permits, I would like to continue working with them.


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