Shawn Osunde ’24 grew up in Nigeria and appreciates the diversity he has found at UMass Amherst as well as the opportunity to address global problems through the UMass iCons Program. Shawn is a Chemical Engineering major on the Renewable Energy track in iCons.
Shawn is a member of Carbon 12, the 12th iCons cohort. He joined his sophomore year after hearing about the program from a friend. Shawn said, “I always knew that I wanted to go into problem-solving, like on a global scale, my issue was knowing what I wanted to do within that space.” iCons gave him the perfect opportunity to find his place in global problem-solving.
One of Shawn’s favorite projects in iCons was when he worked with a team to address the problem of global hunger. The team identified food waste to be a driver of hunger and sought to increase awareness surrounding food storage and when it expires. Shawn’s group made an app with information about storing different classes of foods and their actual expiration dates. They got the opportunity to test the app with other classmates and improve its usability.
Shawn is currently working on the Carbon Zero Project at UMass in his iCons 3 class, ICONS 389H Team-Oriented Lab Discovery in Renewable Energy. His team is working to make the Central Heating Plant more efficient by collaborating with the Amherst Water Treatment Plant. The goal of the project is to make the use of wastewater in the Central Heating Plant more cost and energy efficient.
As a chemical engineer, Shawn brings a crucial perspective to renewable energy research in iCons. However, it is the interdisciplinary collaboration that has made his projects the most successful. He said, “I got to meet people with completely different backgrounds from me, I’ve never had the opportunity to do that anywhere else except with iCons.”
Outside of iCons, Shawn serves as the Travel Coordinator of the UMass Chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE). The group focuses on providing career development opportunities to black engineers. Shawn said, “NSBE, for me, means that I get to meet other people like me and get to make the path that was difficult for me, easier for them.” Next year, he will serve as the Vice President of the group.
Shawn also recently joined Professor Wei Fan’s lab at UMass Amherst. The lab focuses on designing zeolites to be more efficient for processes such as biorefinery and drug delivery. Shawn’s project is working to use zeolites to convert biomass to energy.
Shawn hopes to pursue a career in Chemical Engineering, continuing the work he began in iCons addressing global problems.
Profile posted in 2023.