Chengshuang Zhou | Student Spotlight
"My journey at Stanford started in the summer of my junior year when I had the opportunity to come to Stanford under the UGVR program and worked with Prof. Matteo Cargnello as a summer intern.
I remember, at the beginning of that summer, reading the project description – “electrochemical reduction of nitrogen” – which sounded so impossible to achieve that I thought there must have been a typo. Little did I know, that after several weeks when I finally made the first progress, I’d also be experiencing the thrills of realizing that systematic design and engineering of catalysts can unlock chemistries that have not been discovered in the past.
That strong passion for chemistry and catalysis led me back here to Stanford ChemE and back to the Cargnello Lab! Discovering novel catalysts and processes that defy the conventional compromise between activity and selectivity for renewable energy and sustainable future has always been the topic of my research. Specifically, I aim to apply organic modifications to inorganic catalysts to mimic the active catalytic centers present in enzymes, the most efficient catalysts in nature. I’ve applied this approach in a work on CO2 conversion and demonstrated a 10-times improvement in CO2-to-fuel conversion. I’m excited to extend this versatile approach to many other catalytic processes in the future.
As an international student, I am grateful to have such a collaborative, diverse, and embracing community at Stanford. I’ve been lucky to have mentored many students throughout my time at Stanford, and I’ve never felt prouder than when I passed that passion for science on to younger generations! I’m also a member of O-tone, an East Asian a cappella group at Stanford, and have been the soloist performer at formal community events including Admit Weekend and Family Weekend. I appreciate the opportunity to share my love across many different cultures through singing."