Class of 2021 Students

Introducing the Sixth VIPER Class

Bhaskar Abhiraman is from New Canaan, Connecticut, where he graduated from New Canaan High School. He developed a love for scientific research when he studied select genes in the parasite Toxoplasma gondii at Einstein College of Medicine. Later, Bhaskar researched in a neuroscience laboratory at Yale University. His interests in research and the challenge of sustainability led him towards the VIPER program, in which he intends to pursue Physics and Electrical Engineering. Outside of academics, Bhaskar plays piano and sings with the Penn Glee Club.

William Deo is from Toronto, Canada and graduated from St. Andrew’s College in 2017. Presently, he plans to major in Mechanical Engineering and Physics. William conducted and published research on the feasibility of electric vehicles in developed countries throughout his senior year – a work that sparked his interest in energy. In high school, he took part in research experiences at the University of Toronto in environmental research and urban engineering. He is interested in the implementation of renewables in varied geographic landscapes as well as battery cell technology for solar energy storage. He hopes to explore these fields through his VIPER research. William is also passionate about science education, music, global affairs and swimming. In his free time, you can find him supporting his hometown Toronto Raptors.

Ben Hammel is from Albuquerque, New Mexico, and graduated from Albuquerque High School. Ben plans to study Chemistry and Materials Science and Engineering. He became fascinated with chemistry after working at Sandia National Laboratories, where he synthesized a series of novel indium alkoxides for the production of indium tin oxide nanomaterials. At Sandia, Ben learned to appreciate how chemistry can be applied to solve real-world problems. Leveraging VIPER’s broad academic and research components, Ben hopes to develop materials for energy applications. Outside of science, Ben enjoys video games, graphic design, and hot dogs.

William Hasley is from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and graduated from Mount Lebanon Senior High School. He plans on majoring in Chemistry and Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. During high school, William worked at Carnegie Mellon University on high entropy alloy research and experimented with hydrogen production from algae in an extracurricular student group.Outside of classes, he enjoys playing the violin with the Penn Symphony Orchestra, dancing like there’s no tomorrow, and exploring Philly.

Avni Limdi is from Naperville, Illinois, a suburb near Chicago, and she graduated from Neuqua Valley High School in 2017. She has always had an avid interest in renewable energy and sustainability and during high school she applied those interests through research at Argonne National Laboratory and an internship at the startup solar division of an engineering company. Currently, she plans on majoring in Systems Science and Engineering and Environmental Science. In her free time, Avni enjoys singing, playing badminton, and looking for free food.

Ayush Parikh is from Old Bridge, New Jersey. He graduated from the Middlesex County Academy, a small, engineering-focused magnet school in Edison, New Jersey. As of now, Ayush plans to major in Physics and Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.  In high school, Ayush participated in various academic competitions including Quiz Bowl, Science Bowl, NJ Science League, and both the Chemistry and Physics Olympiads. He has always been passionate about conducting sustainable energy research and he hopes to expand on his prior research experience while at Penn. In his free time, Ayush enjoys playing basketball, reading, watching live sports, playing the piano, and listening to hip-hop music.

George Popov (not pictured) is from Aston, Pennsylvania, and a graduate of Sun Valley High School. He has done research at the University of Pennsylvania during the past two summers under the High Energy Physics Group, helping to bring online the QuarkNet cosmic radiation detector and test a cold Application Specific Integrated Circuit. His work there has inspired him to pursue a degree in Physics as well as Mechanical Engineering and Applied Science. With these two passions and the trends of today, VIPER is something he sees as perfect for himself. Outside of the realms of academics, George is very much intrigued by the world around him and loves to be active with activities such as swimming.

Abhinav Ramkumar is from Carmel, Indiana, and graduated from Carmel High School in 2017. He has always been interested in sustainability and renewable energy, and kindled this interest through participation in research at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) in the Physics Department since his sophomore year. Through the course of his research, he has explored the applications of molecular dynamics simulations in the field of biophysics to uncover properties of ATP and membranes. Abhinav plans to major in Physics and Materials Science and Engineering. During his time at Penn, Abhinav is interested in exploring the applications of molecular dynamics and its extraordinary potential to uncover properties otherwise impossible and expensive to compute in experimental procedures. In conjunction, he hopes to use novel computational techniques to develop new materials to design devices that can better store and harness energy. In his free time, he can be found singing Indian music, practicing the Violin, or exploring the greater Philadelphia area.

Adam Richter is from Dyer, Indiana, and graduated from Munster High School. He plans to major in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Molecular and Cell Biology. At his high school, Adam pioneered an energy saving initiative with his school’s computers. He has also conducted research at Stony Brook University on a novel, more efficient method to sequence DNA. Adam joined VIPER because it blends his strong inclination for energy conservation with his interests in the sciences, engineering, and research. In his free time, he enjoys playing tennis or Ultimate Frisbee.

Angela Yang is from Westridge School for Girls in Pasadena, California. She is majoring in Earth and Environmental Science and Systems Engineering. Angela first became interested in renewable energy at UCLA’s Sci|Art Nanolab and continued her passion as a research assistant for the Minnich Research Group of Caltech’s mechanical engineering department. Through VIPER, Angela hopes to study environmental systems and model ways to maximize renewable energy output. In her free time, Angela loves to bake, update her foodie Instagram, and watch comedy shows.

Hanyu (Sylvie) Sun is from Nanjing, China and graduated from Nanjing Foreign Language School. She plans to major in Physics and Computer Engineering under the VIPER program. She's currently interested in solar energy conversion as well as the idea of colonizing Mars. During her free time, Sylvie likes playing boardgames and listening to music.