Class of 2019 Students

Introducing the Fourth VIPER Class

Jiwon Avery Bang was born in Seoul and raised in Michigan. She graduated from Okemos High School as part of the class of 2015. Currently, she plans on majoring in Physics and Electrical Engineering and wants to research making solar energy more applicable. After her completion of VIPER, she hopes to work in the field for a while but eventually find her way back to academia and become a professor. Her retirement plan consists of owning a cat cafe.

Siddharth Challani is from East Windsor, New Jersey, and graduated from Hightstown High School in 2015. He has always been interested in sustainability and renewable energy, and became interested in research after spending the summer after his junior year at the New Jersey Governor's School in the Sciences. He plans to major in Math and Electrical Engineering and minor in Computer Science. Siddharth is interested in graphene and its extraordinary electrical properties and hopes to have the opportunity to do related research during his time at Penn. In his free time, he can be found dancing with Penn Lions, practicing Taekwondo, or playing board games.

Hyuck Joo Choi is from Seoul, South Korea. He graduated from the Hankuk Academy of Foreign Studies high school. He plans to major in Chemistry and Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. His enthusiasm for environmental activities introduced him to energy research as a practical solution to modern environmental problems. In his free time, he loves to just lie down in the middle of Penn's campus and enjoy the weather of Philly - at least when the weather permits him to do so.

Emmy Cunningham is from Dover, Massachusetts and graduated from Dover-Sherborn High School. She plans on studying Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Chemistry. Emmy first became interested in scientific research after studying silver nanoparticle behavior over the summer at the University of Iowa. VIPER is a great fit for Emmy because she is very passionate about protecting the environment, so studying alternative energy sources is the best way for her to do that. In her free time, Emmy likes to run, do puzzles, go out to restaurants, watch Netflix, and chill.

Kyle Kersey is from Louisville, Kentucky, and graduated from Louisville Collegiate School. He plans to major in Physics and Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. Before coming to Penn, Kyle worked with the University of Louisville since his freshman year of high school, first with nanomaterials in the Optics department and then switching to the Chemical Engineering department to work on computation fluid dynamics and rheometry research. Kyle is extremely interested in alternative energy sources, specifically nuclear fission and fusion, which led him to come to Penn to join the VIPER community. In his free time, he enjoys rock climbing and playing the violin and saxophone.

Yann Pfitzer is from Geneva, Switzerland. He graduated from the Ecole Moser with a French/German bilingual diploma and a concentration in Physics and applied Math. Yann plans to major in Environmental Science and Materials Science and Engineering. During high school, his deep interest for renewable energies led him to write his graduation thesis on wind energy and hydrogen fuel cells in Switzerland. He also had the opportunity to intern at CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research), where he did research on a variety of materials to optimize a measuring device in the particle collider. This lead to Yann's interest in materials. In his free time, he enjoys ski touring, hiking and sailing. In the coming years, he looks forward to doing research as part of VIPER's very special community.

Justin Qian (not pictured) is from Center Valley, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Southern Lehigh High School and entered the VIPER program majoring in Materials Science and Engineering and Chemistry. His interest in renewable energy started with his experience at the University of Iowa, where he studied the hydrogen production of cyanobacteria. Justin’s current research interests include nanoscale 2D materials and photonics. In his free time, he enjoys playing soccer and cooking.

Nathan Xu is from Pittsford, New York. He graduated from Pittsford Sutherland High School and entered the VIPER program with the intent to major in Materials Science and Engineering and Physics. His interest in renewable energy was ignited by his experience at the Laboratory for Laser Energetics, a research facility of the University of Rochester that focuses on nuclear fusion research. Nathan hopes to further energy efficiency in everyday life with aspirations of industrializing new green energy technologies. Nathan enjoys playing late night pick-up soccer in Penn Park and often can be found searching for free food around campus and practicing with the Penn Rugby Team.