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Cal State L.A. mechanical engineering student wins award for research to make heat exchangers more energy efficient

March 23, 2015


Eleven students to represent Cal State L.A. in statewide research competition

Mechanical engineering major Angela Wu was recently presented a Phi Kappa Phi Travel Award for her research on improving the design of heat exchangers to make them more energy efficient and environmentally sound.

Wu, who lives in Temple City, received the award during the 23rd Cal State L.A. Symposium on Research, Scholarship and Creativity. The symposium is aimed at encouraging Cal State L.A. students in every discipline to showcase their papers, projects and research endeavors.

“I am grateful and humbled that Phi Kappa Phi chose to recognize my hard work and research through this generous grant,” Wu said. “This award will allow me to attend conferences where I can present my research, without worrying about the costs of travel and lodging.”

Wu is being recognized for her research with Cal State L.A. Professor Arturo Pacheco-Vega on numerical simulations of compact heat exchangers to help make them more energy efficient.

“I’m hoping that my results will help improve the design of heat exchangers, which may help reduce their environmental impact and costs,” she said. “These devices are widely used in homes, cars, commercial buildings, manufacturing systems and in power plants, and they currently take a lot of energy to operate.”

An international student from Suriname in South America, Wu has participated in a variety of activities and projects during her time at Cal State L.A. She was part of the Super Eagle III team, which competed in the Society of Automotive Engineers Supermileage Competition. She is also a student fellow of the University’s Center for Energy and Sustainability, which is funded by a National Science Foundation grant.

Wu will be one of 11 Cal State L.A. students selected to represent the University at the 29th Annual California State University (CSU) Student Research Competition at Cal State San Bernardino in May.

The other Cal State L.A. students who will take part in the competition are Gabrielle Aroz, a psychology major who lives in Whittier; Miguel Arriola, a history major and San Gabriel resident; Karen Pekacheky, a public health major and Glendale resident; Andre Leon, a biochemistry major who lives in Los Angeles; Dalton Meena, a Los Angeles resident and psychology major; Alma Olaguez, a San Gabriel resident and forensic psychology major; Kevin Parducho, a Pasadena resident and microbiology major; Jessica Mayers, a Fullerton resident and forensic psychology major; Edith Soto, a Granada Hills resident and mechanical engineering major, and Burbank resident and education major Hoover Zariani.

Sponsored by the CSU Office of the Chancellor, the statewide competition will consist of 10 discipline categories in the undergraduate and graduate levels. Each student will have 10 minutes to present an oral presentation to an audience and jury members, who will then have five minutes to ask questions.

For more details on the CSU Student Research Competition, go to

Photo: Angela Wu with Philip LaPolt, associate vice president for research and academic personnel, during the 23rd Cal State L.A. Symposium on Research, Scholarship and Creativity. (Credit: Cal State L.A.)


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