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Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Sophomore honored by chancellor; heads to Ghana this summer

Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering sophomore Reahman Afshar was recently recognized for his exemplary work through the Chancellor’s Public Engagement Student Fellows Grant Program. Afshar will travel to Ghana this summer to help bring solar energy to a rural village.

“I’m extremely honored to be given the opportunity to utilize my engineering education to make a difference in the lives of others and I am excited to be working towards a great cause,” he said.

Afshar was honored, along with several others, at the 2016 Campus Award for Excellence in Public Engagement Reception on April 26 sponsored by the Office of Public Engagement.

Through the organization Saha Global, Afshar will travel to Ghana for three weeks this summer, working with a team of engineers to set up a solar energy business in a rural village outside of Tamale, a city in northern Ghana.

Reahman Afshar with Interim Chancellor Barbara Wilson
Reahman Afshar with Interim Chancellor Barbara Wilson

“Once set up, we will be teaching the women of the community how to successfully run and manage the enterprise for the years to come. By giving these women ownership of the business, we are empowering them with independence and opportunity to provide electricity for the community,” Afshar said.

Afshar was involved in a similar experience in Tanzania through Wildtrax explorations, a conservation-focused organization. He said he was looking for another way to immerse himself in a diverse culture while also helping a community through applied engineering.

Afshar, from Des Plaines, is an undergraduate researcher in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Assistant Professor Ying Diao’s lab. He works with organic photovoltaics, a new and exciting generation of solar cells.

“I wanted to do something that enabled me to make as great an impact as possible on society by using my interest in chemistry and mathematics,” he said, on why he chose to study chemical engineering. “Naturally, chemical engineering is quite powerful and chemical engineers have changed so many peoples’ lives with innovation and ingenuity,” Afshar said.

He also is majoring in engineering physics.

Afshar is raising money for the trip through the website Crowdrise.