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McNair Scholar 2016Sokamarint Chak

Sokamarint Chak is a senior at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, double majoring in microbiology and medical laboratory sciences. Sokamarint's research interests are centered around biotechnology, synthetic biology, and bioinformatics. Sokamarint plans to pursue a Ph.D. in molecular biology.

Chak photo
My dream is to join the J.D. /M.P.P. program at a dignified law school to become a lawyer for civil and discrimination law. Once I achieve this, my dream is to practice law for some time while also doing all I can to better my community before becoming a lobbyist, which will guide my path to become a city council woman and later a congresswoman so I may break down structural barriers.

Research project

Hydrothermal Carbonization Conversion of Agricultural Residues to Value Added Products

Abstract: Excess phosphorus and pesticides within agricultural runoff water poses a threat to fisheries, drinking water, pollenating insects, and the ecological stability of natural water systems. Some hydrochars produced from agricultural residues via hydrothermal carbonization (HTC) exhibited potential for sorption of phosphorus and pesticides. Filtrate and condensate byproducts produced during the HTC process may possess value as crop fertilizers or as feedstock in anaerobic digestion for the production of biogas. Additional rigorous analyses of phosphorus and pesticide sorption properties to hydrochars, byproduct fertilizer growth tests, and byproduct anaerobic digestion must be performed to further optimize hydrochar sorbents, byproduct crop fertilizers, and byproduct anaerobic digestion systems. Download poster. [PDF]

Faculty profile

Kenneth Valentas received his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering at the University of Minnesota in 1964 under professor Amudson. He began his industrial career at Sinclair Petroleum followed by positions at General Mills and Pillsbury from 1964 to 1991. He was also an adjunct professor in the Chemical Engineering department at the University of Minnesota. Retiring from the industrial sector in 1991, he became the Director of the Biotechnology Institute until 2008. He is currently an adjunct professor in the Biotechnology Institute. His research interests focus on thermochemical processing with work published in several journals and he holds 10 patents.