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Student Spotlight: Max Klemes

 Max headshot wearing graduation cap and gown.jpg

By Irena Garic

Where are you from, and where did you go to school as an undergraduate?

I grew up in Port Washington, NY and attended undergrad at Ithaca College.

How did you become interested in your research?

Will’s “group pitch” presentation in my first year.

How would you explain what you study to non-scientists?

There are pollutants in water that are so small you can’t see them, even with a microscope. At such low concentrations that you wouldn’t be able to taste or smell them. There are thousands of different types of these pollutants in water sources all over the world and they might be causing chronic health problems in humans. In my PhD research I developed materials that used tiny molecular cups all bundled together, sort of like a tiny (molecular sized) net, to catch these small pollutants and remove them from water. 

What are some potential applications for the work you’re doing? 

Cleaning drinking water, wastewater, or chemical separations.

What has been the highlight of your academic career thus far?

Probably a tie between passing my qualifying exam and getting a job offer at the beginning of my fifth year. Both were very exciting.

What are your plans now that you have obtained the PhD?

I am going to be working at Intel as a Process Engineer. 

What will you miss most about the Dichtel Group?

I will miss a lot of things. The Dicthel group was an amazing place to do my graduate work. I will miss all the great people I met along the way, including all the graduate students, postdocs, Will, and of course Tory. 

What is the first thing you will do after COVID-19 pandemic is over?

Tie between hopefully attend my friend’s wedding in Italy in 2021 and flying to NY to see my family. Both would be awesome!


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