Class of 2017 Students

Introducing the Second VIPER Class

Yifan Xu is from Nanjing, China. He entered Penn in the fall of 2013 after he graduated from Jiangsu Tianyi High School. He is majoring in Electrical Engineering and Physics. He finds the VIPER program to be a perfect match for him because he has had a passion for alternative energy research since middle school and hopes to pursue a future in engineering and alternative energy reseach. He also loves to watch Japanese Anime and play badminton during free time.

Carol Wang is a Chemistry fanatic who hails from North Allegheny Senior High School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She is majoring in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering as well as Chemistry. Carol became interested in energy research after participating in the U.S. Department of Energy National Science Bowl, and joined VIPER to help solve the technological and scientific challenges of developing new sources of clean renewable energy. When she's not busy proclaiming Chemistry as the best science on earth, she is also a fierce advocate for the Oxford comma.

Zach Stillman (not pictured) hails from Plantation, Florida, and became a part of the VIPER class of 2017 after graduating from David Posnack Jewish Day School. Zach's high school research relating to bio-diesel fuels in high school inspired him to join the VIPER program. He is majoring in Chemistry and Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. He obsesses over Doctor Who during free time not devoted to quidditch practice, political/philosophical debates, or learning more about alternative energies.

Robert Tannenbaum is from Melville, NY and entered Penn in the fall of 2013 after graduating from Half Hollow Hills High School East. He is majoring in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Chemistry. Robert worked at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute during his high school career and spent time researching graphene-based supercapacitor devices. He decided to be a part of the VIPER program because he hopes to continue researching efficient energy-storage devices. He is also an avid Archer and lover of coffee.

Nikita Lisenko is from Uzbekistan, where he graduated from Tashkent International School. He entered Penn in 2013 and is majoring in Materials Science and Engineering and Physics. Nikita seeks to work at the frontiers of alternative energy research, so the VIPER program is the best match for him. In his free time he rocks on piano and guitar, plays table tennis, or walks around Penn campus enjoying the views and taking photographs.

Jaron Ma graduated from Parkway West High School in St. Louis, Missouri, and is majoring in Materials Science and Engineering and Environmental Science. He believes that new energy sources and infrastructure will be vital to uphold the standard of living in the future. VIPER's close-knit community of optimistic, scientifically motivated people drew him in, and he's excited to work in energy research. On the side, Jaron loves to cook and dance.

Gautam Nagaraj (not pictured) is from King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, and entered Penn in the fall of 2013 after graduating from the William Penn Charter School. He is majoring in Earth Science/Geology and Mechanical Engineering. Excited to engage in research and eager to learn about energy technologies, Gautam believes VIPER is the perfect fit. One day, he hopes to apply these energy efficient technologies to the aerospace industry. Outside of class, Gautam loves to play sports, instruments and video games.

Zachery Iton is from the Caribbean island of Barbados and entered Penn in the fall of 2013 after graduating from Harrison College. He is majoring in Chemistry and Materials Science and Engineering. Zac chose to come to Penn and be part of the VIPER program, because he wanted to pursue something that could make a difference on a global scale. Due to his passion for the sciences, he chose to venture into the field of energy research. He enjoys playing and watching soccer and has a range of other interests from technology to hip hop.

William (Yu Ren) Zhou (not pictured) is from Vancouver, Canada. He joined Penn after graduating from Britannia Secondary School. He is majoring in Materials Science and Engineering as well as Physics. For his Grade 12 science fair project, William investigated a method of converting energy from radioactive emissions (specifically beta radiation) to electricity using Zinc Sulfide phosphors and photovoltaic cells. He wanted to become part of VIPER because he is fascinated with the generation, conversion and storage of energy and because he is passionate about nanotechnology and its potential for development. In his spare time, William enjoys reading Wikipedia articles about science and history, cooking, watching movies, and eating desserts.