VIDEO: Elyse Johnston-Haynes: Masters candidate in chemical engineering

Posted on April 13, 2017

The latest in our series on graduate students in chemical engineering at Queen's: Elyse is working toward her Collaborative Master's in Applied Sustainability. Her research explores emerging technology that uses solar energy to electrolyze water into hydrogen and oxygen gasses that be stored and used later to generate electricity. Maybe her story will help you to navigate your decisions about graduate studies. Visit the School of Graduate Studies at Queen's University and the Department of Chemical Engineering/Engineering Chemistry to learn more.

  • Video transcript:

    Hi, I'm Elyse Johnston-Haynes. I am in the Collaborative Master's of Applied Sustainability and my research is in fuel cell technology.

    I am working actually in PEM Electrolyzer technology, which is sort of a side-branch and less researched area of fuel cell technology. It's under development which, that's research, right. PEM electroyzers are polymer-electrolyte membrane electrolyzers and they use water and an applied energy source to produce hydrogen and oxygen. So, in terms of renewable energy, that's really great because one of the big problems with windmills and solar power is you can't store that energy. And so where eletrolyzers come into play is you can break down that water into hydrogen and oxygen and store it for later.

    It's different because you really get to dive into things that you enjoy and love. I mean, your supervisor trusts you. They give you the independence to pursue your interests under their research that you're doing.

    I wasn't sure. I was on the fence about going into graduate school, but what really convinced me was the support that I got from my supervisor. I've always had that though. Queen's is really good about supporting its students. So, undergrad, grad, you know. We have the CEGSA program here at Queen's, it's the Chemical Engineering Graduate Student Society.

    If I had to give someone advice if they were on the fence about going into grad school, I would probably tell them to definitely talk to the supervisor. Make sure that, you know, you guys work well together because they're going to be your supervisor for the next two years. That's really important. Make sure that you really enjoy what you do, and then you get to do it every day and it doesn't feel like coming into to work.