2021 GRS brings new ideas, networking opportunities

Posted: October 11, 2021

The 2021 Graduate Research Symposium held on October 1, 2021 and sponsored by Dow Chemical was a standout event. Approximately 50 people attended virtually to enjoy a keynote, live and pre-recorded poster presentations, networking, and an awards ceremony to honor the Oral and Poster presentation winners (see below).

Held virtually again this year, 22 guests including representatives from Atilim University (Turkey), Baker Hughes, BASF, Dow, Eli Lilly, Ohio State's Technology Commercialization Office, Forge Biologics, Kenexis, LyondellBasell, Modality Solutions, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Netswitch Technologies, Procter & Gamble, StrateNexus Technologies and the University of South Florida attended, enjoying the convenience of not having to travel.  

Student researchers and industry representatives had an excellent opportunity to connect with other researchers from diverse backgrounds and learn about different research ideas. In addition, recruiters could meet prospective candidates and peruse their resumes.

The event yielded praise from participants such as Alex W. Kawczak, president of StrateNexus Technologies. "The CBE Graduate Research Symposium was outstanding. I benefited and enjoyed being on the judging panel. The presentations were very high quality. Once again, thank you for the impressive conference.” Dr. You Peng, a recruiter from Dow Chemicals, said "I also had a great time interacting with the students. I am impressed by the interesting research being conducted at OSU.”


KEYNOTE ADDRESS:  Diane Traub Hooie

Keynote speaker Dr. Diane Traub Hooie ('74 Ceramic Engineering) shared insights gleaned from her 40 years of experience in developing and commercializing new ideas and innovative clean energy technology, mostly at the Department of Energy (DOE)’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), where she developed and coordinated programs in clean energy areas including clean coal, turbines, fuel cells, hybrid energy and clean fuels both within the US and internationally. 

Dr. Hooie was proactive in her work, always identifying needs and solutions in terms of what would benefit her employer and employees. Throughout her career, she actively encouraged women to enter into STEM fields and was selected Woman of the Year and Person of Distinction for the Federal Government in 1998.   

She discussed the difference in male and female leadership styles.“Women do have different styles in how we play the game,” she said. “Women tend to be harsher with themselves and take things more personally. Growing up, women learn to 'play nice,' and if you had an argument, you didn’t talk afterwards, whereas men could play football, beat each other up, and then go have a beer. Women expect to get their fair share, but men will fight harder for it and are more cut-throat about it,” she said. “Women get different results, and everyone brings something to the table,” she said. “We’re now seeing more men adapt to the styles of women.”

Retired LyondellBasell Executive Vice President Dan Coombs (’78 BS) referred to a study on team dynamics done by Harvard Business Review. “Consistently, teams with at least one woman on the team outperformed teams with no women. The more women, the better the performance. Women brought a different viewpoint and helped the team think broader and bigger. Also, teams with an ‘expert’ actually did worse. People would defer to the expert instead of exploring a problem together,” he said. [ Reference: go.osu.edu/HBR-teams June 2011 ]

The study also showed that teams need a moderate level of cognitive diversity for effectiveness. Extremely homogeneous groups or extremely diverse groups aren’t as intelligent, the twice-replicated study found. Hooie and other leaders acknowledge the importance of including women and minorities in teams, and said that unfortunately, it was sometimes hard to retain them. “We tried to prevent it, but could not determine the root cause,” she said. 

Edward Marszal (’92 BS), a scientific advisory board member for Purdue University’s Process Safety and Assurance Center, asked Hooie if she thought that converting wind and solar energy to hydrogen and using it in turbines or fuel cells could quickly overcome energy-storing battery systems, which lack safety.

Hooie said the problem right now was not having the infrastructure, such as hydrogen pumps, to support fuel cells. “Also, you have to look at your energy consumption from Well to Wheel–the whole process,” she said. “An electric car's 'clean’ energy still has to be tagged to power plant emissions—that energy doesn’t come out of nowhere,” she said.

When Hooie finally decided to retire, she did so to make room for young people who were frustrated at the lack of opportunities. In replacing her, the DOE promoted three people from within. 

“I met my goal of making a difference, and I hope all of you here today will do so, as well," Hooie said.

About Dr. Diane Traub Hooie

Dr. Diane Traub Hooie
Dr. Diane Traub Hooie

Dr. Diane Hooie is a 1974 Ohio State graduate in ceramic engineering who obtained her MS in Engineering Management from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and her PhD in Petroleum Engineering from California Coast University.

Dr. Hooie spent the bulk of her career at the Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), where she developed and coordinated programs in clean energy areas including clean coal, turbines, fuel cells, hybrid energy and clean fuels both within the US and internationally.

She was the coordinator of the US-Japan Fuel Cell Technology Transfer Agreement Annual Technology Exchange Meeting, which focused on fuel cells, methane hydrates, carbon sequestration, and zero emission power plants of the future.

Her last position was as a senior advisor to the DOE’s Washington Office of Energy Delivery Technologies Division where her responsibilities included implementing the Cyber Security for Energy Delivery Systems Program for the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability as well as developing technical collaborations with non-traditional DOE customers, such as the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Defense, and developing international programs for the Nuclear Nonproliferation Security Agency.

She has over 100 publications and presentations, including two books. She has always been active in encouraging women to enter into STEM fields and was selected Woman of the Year and Person of Distinction for the Federal Government in 1998. 

2021 GRS Oral and Poster Presentation Winners

Congratulations on being recognized for your outstanding work!

2021 GRS Oral Session Winners
2021 GRS Poster Session Winners


This year's GRS chair was Sai Vivek Prabhala, with ex-chair Dishari Basu serving in an advisory role. Other committee members included Pinak Mohapatra and Faiz Khan (Abstract Book); Akshay Kudva (Gifts/Certificates); Rushikesh Joshi (Judging); Snehal Patil and Ashin Antony Sunny (Outreach); Shraavya Rao (Website Development); and Sonu Kumar (Zoom meetings).

Category: Grad Student