Ronald J. (RJ) Vogler, who will graduate from the University of Kentucky in May 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering, is a 2021 recipient of the $10,000 Tau Beta Pi Graduate Fellowship. The fellowship will help support Vogler's graduate studies at the University of Texas at Austin during the 2021-2022 academic year.
Since Summer 2018, Vogler has conducted research on the synthesis and modification of polymeric membranes for applications such as heavy-metal adsorption, selective separations and ion capture. Most recently, he has been working towards the development of membranes for the removal of fluorinated organics (a toxic pollutant) from water. During this time, he completed NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) programs at the University of Kentucky under the supervision University Alumni Professor Dibakar Bhattacharyya and at the University of Arkansas under Dr. Ranil Wickramasinghe. His research has led to three coauthored publications as well as multiple presentations, posters, and awards at scientific conferences held by organizations such as the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) and the North American Membrane Society.
Outside of academics, Vogler has been involved in multiple extracurricular activities on campus. Most notably, he collaborated with a group of engineering students to create the Interdisciplinary Engineering Outreach Organization (IEO) in early 2020, which aims to develop experiment kits for middle and high-school students that can be completed at home. He was also the vice president of the UK Energy Club when it was reestablished to provide students with a platform for learning about energy. Additionally, he was a peer mentor in the Engineering Living Learning Program for one academic year and is currently serving as the treasurer for the UK student chapter of AIChE.
This fall, Vogler will begin pursuing a Ph.D. in chemical engineering at The University of Texas at Austin as an NSF Graduate Research Fellow. He hopes to research sustainable and energy-efficient technologies for chemical separations or catalysis.