Shakira Hobbs Wins Clemson University 3MT Competition


Being a first generation college student and black female in engineering is challenging. My parents did their best but lacked the ability to guide me in the college process not having navigated it themselves. Fortunately, I was able to find mentors who saw great potential in me and motivated me to pursue higher education and to achieve my absolute best. Many students who share this same experience do not have this opportunity. Therefore, my goal is to leverage my life experiences and technical foundation to become a tenured engineering professor who truly understands the needs of diverse groups of students.


My research focuses on developing novel pretreatments for bioplastics (plant derived plastic) that facilitate their degradation in anaerobic digester systems, test feasibility of co-treating food waste and bioplastics, quantify environmental and economic impacts of implementing technologies, and evaluate sustainable solutions for city-scale implementations. Currently, conventional methods of sending food waste to landfills have environmental, social, and economic impacts. In addition, demands for bioplastics, used for food packaging, are increasing as interest in zero-waste increases and societal concerns about climate change continues to grow. However, recent studies have reported that bioplastics do not fully degrade in industrial composting settings and in return are directed to landfills. I have developed a methodology for pretreatment to accelerate the degradation of bioplastic, in particular, polylatic acid (PLA) so that it can be anaerobically digested with food waste and produce valuable products such as energy and fertilizer. This work has resulted in 2 peer-reviewed conference proceedings, 3 peer-review journal publications in review and 1 conference proceeding selected for Waste Management Journal.

In addition to my research, I have worked for the Center for Minorities in Science and Engineering at University of Maryland (UMD), led the UMD-National Society of Black Engineers and Clemson Black Graduate Student Association chapter as president, mentored students in SHADES program at ASU and studied abroad researching and implementing sustainability and waste to resources techniques. With the guidance of my master’s advisor Dr. Odesma Dalrymple, I created an instructional manipulative for high school students in Arizona and Trinidad and Tobago in summer 2013. I taught and led diverse groups of students in classroom-sized anaerobic digesters laboratory experiments. This work resulted in two peer-reviewed conference proceedings at American Society for Engineering Education (McCall and Dalrymple 2014) and solidified my passion for inspiring students. Summer 2014, I was hired as a graduate research assistant at MIT and was tasked with the responsibility of traveling to Singapore and teaching undergraduate students how to be change agents, understand the importance of cross-cultural collaboration and become global leaders. Summer 2015, I was awarded funding to return to Belize to conduct research on strategic sustainable solutions for converting food waste to energy. In collaboration with my doctoral advisor, Dr. Amy Landis, I created and piloted the Clemson Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE) where I taught a mini course on design of experiments, advised undergraduate students research projects, coordinated site tour and organized a research symposium in summer 2016.


Shakira graduates August 2017 and is interested in tenure-track faculty positions where she can continue her research. If you would like to contact Shakira, her email is and you can find more info at her website:


Guneet Bedi Wins Clemson University 3MT Competition


The 3 Minute Thesis (3MT) competition at Clemson University took place on October 27, 2016 at the Watt Family Innovation Center Auditorium. The University of Queensland developed 3MT as a research communication competition to challenge students in higher research degree programs to present their research and its significance in a compelling way to a non-specialist audience in three minutes or less. The competition was open to all graduate students from all departments across all Clemson University campuses. There were a total of 28 finalists and out of the 28, the top six were selected for a super final that took place later in the day. Guneet Bedi, Ph.D. student in Electrical Engineering, was awarded the first place prize, a cash reward of $300. As the first place winner, Bedi was awarded the opportunity to represent Clemson University at the regional competition. The regional competition  semifinals took place on March 4th, and out of the 46 semifinalists, Guneet was chosen as one of the 8 finalists to compete in the final round. Guneet looks forward to this opportunity to share his research and his Clemson spirit!


Guneet's 3MT talk, entitled "Home, 'Smart' Home - A Sweeter Home for the Next Generation" highlighted his research on developing an intelligent computational engine, or "brain" for reducing wasted electricity and carbon emissions as well as making home life more convenient, safe, and comfortable. Guneet's research aims to provide a solution to the ever-growing global demand for clean, affordable, and sustainable electricity.

Originally from India, Guneet is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, researching Internet of Things. Guneet received his B.E. in Electronics and Telecommunication from University of Pune, India (2011) and his M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Clemson University (2014). While in the ECE program, Guneet has worked as a graduate teaching, grading, instruction, and research assistant. Guneet has also served as a Women in Science and Engineering summer camp instructor and as a graduate student mentor for the Research Experiences for Undergraduates program. Guneet has published several peer-reviewed papers and has presented his research at a number of conferences. Besides his academic pursuits, Guneet has served as the President of Graduate Student Government, President of International Student Association, and the Vice President of Clemson Indian Students’ Association. Guneet played on Clemson’s water polo club team for two successive years and is a current member of the Omicron Delta Kappa national level leadership honor society and the Student Affairs Student Advisory Board. During his time at Clemson, Guneet has been honored with awards for his outstanding scholarship, leadership, teaching, and service. 

Guneet Bedi will graduate in May 2018, and his research interests are Internet of Things (IoT) to provide a sustainable and efficient solution for smart home energy management. Post Ph.D., I plan to work in industry developing IoT solutions for providing more affordable and sustainable electricity globally and to make home life more convenient, safe, and comfortable.

To contact Guneet, his email is and you can find his linked in page here.

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