Undergraduate researcher earns prestigious Fulbright

Posted: March 23, 2020

Engineering honors student Jacob Belding has been awarded a Fulbright Student grant to pursue their research interests.

Jacob Belding, junior chemical engineering major.
Jacob Belding, junior chemical engineering major.

Belding, a junior Eminence Fellow pursuing a chemical engineering degree, received a Fulbright-MITACS Globalink grant to conduct research at McGill University in Montreal this summer. He will investigate atomistic simulations of electronic and energy materials. This is the inaugural year of the Fulbright-MITACS Globalink program, intended for U.S. students interested in going to Canada to undertake advanced research projects for 10 to 12 weeks planned for May and August.

Jacob is a recipient of the Eminence Scholarship, a 4-year full cost of attendance fellowship. Along with the 20 other recipients in his cohort, Jacob is undertaking the development and growth of a novel service organization dedicated to solving a problem within the Columbus community. Currently, the group is focused on tackling the issues of technological illiteracy and infant mortality through targeted service projects. The group has been researching the problems and reaching out to resources in the community, meeting with community leaders in these areas, and putting together plans to help combat these issues. The group is beginning implementation of these plans under the organization names Smile Child (for infant mortality) and The Right Click (for tech literacy). Jacob is also heavily involved in the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) student chapter at OSU, where he serves as the Professional Development Coordinator, leading the planning of 6-8 professional development events for AIChE members each semester. These events include company info sessions, career skills workshops, a variety of presentations and panels on topics of interest, and the annual Autumn Networking Night the night before the fall Engineering Expo.

Jacob’s is interested in a wide variety of fields, but his goal is to one day work with the production of sustainable energy. Jacob was employed during the 2017-2018 school year as a lab analyst at the Battelle Memorial Institute. He worked on a project known as GoPIT that sought to investigate the capabilities of people with differing skill levels and interests to successfully perform the modification of living cells using CRISPR gene-editing technology. Jacob’s typical roles included reading and understanding scientific literature, developing experimental procedures, and performing CRISPR experiments in the lab using E. coli bacteria or human embryonic kidney (HEK) cells. Jacob also wrote detailed progress updates as part of his job, demonstrating and further practicing his technical writing skills.

In the summer of 2018, Jacob worked for Procter & Gamble in Cincinnati as a Packaging Development R&D intern. Jacob’s role fell within the PGP division, the part of the company that focuses on product supply for commercial customers, such as hotels and restaurants. He was given ownership of a project to optimize the design of the standard 1-gallon bottle prominently used in PGP operations, giving two major presentations throughout the summer detailing his findings, and aiming to improve both the economical design of the bottle and its benefit to the consumer. Jacob worked to perform lab testing, coordinate with suppliers and contractors, construct statistical models based on data, and deliver valuable competitive insights. He also lead a team to create a new bottle design, including identifying the design priorities, developing concepts, creating CAD models, and manufacturing a 3D-printed prototype. Jacob is excited to be returning to P&G during the summer of 2019 to take on newer and bigger challenges.

Jacob is currently employed by the Ohio State Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, where he performs X-ray diffraction and UV-vis spectroscopy to characterize perovskite compounds for use in solar cell research, as well as preparing lab materials such as solar cell components. His role also includes aiding general chemistry lab students to help teach and encourage the next generation of solar energy researchers.

Jacob’s other interests apart from chemical engineering include microbiology, graphic design, and computer science. He is currently utilizing his graphic design knowledge to create branding materials for The Right Click. Outside of his career interests, Jacob also enjoys kayaking, professional hockey, 3D printing, and musical theater. One of his favorite experiences was a 52 mile sea kayaking trip through the Outer Banks. Jacob is a huge fan of the Columbus Blue Jackets, bought his own 3D printer, and participated in his high school’s theater program, appearing in shows such as Spamalot and Medea. He now greatly enjoys watching the theater productions of his two younger siblings as well as attending professional shows (including having just seen Hamilton in Columbus!).

About the Fulbright Program

Undergraduates who will earn their bachelor's degree by summer 2021 and graduate students are eligible to apply for the next cycle of Fulbright grants. Applicants with undergraduate status may attend an incoming information session via Zoom to learn more, visit https://honors-scholars.osu.edu/fellowship-office/fulbright or e-mail fellowships@osu.edu.

More than 380,000 Fulbrighters from the United States and other countries have participated in the program since its inception in 1946. The Fulbright Program awards approximately 8,000 grants annually and currently operates in over 160 countries.

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