Max Pisciotta, a master’s student in mechanical engineering at Colorado School of Mines, was recognized for the Best Graduate/Postdoc Poster at the 2018 oSTEM Annual Conference.
Short for Out in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, oSTEM is an international professional society dedicated to educating and fostering leadership for LGBTQ+ communities in the STEM fields.
Pisciotta, who is transmasculine and genderqueer, works in the Colorado Fuel Cell Center (CFCC), where they are conducting research under Neal Sullivan, associate professor of mechanical engineering. (Pisciotta uses gender-neutral pronouns.)
Specifically, Pisciotta is contributing to the design and fabrication of the test stand that will be used for the protonic ceramic fuel cells under development at CFCC, they said.
“The current research I am doing involves storing renewable electricity generated from solar and wind power as liquid fuel,” Pisciotta said. “We are working to accomplish this by running fuel cells in reverse and accomplishing ammonia electrolysis. Ammonia is the fuel of choice as it is a carbon-neutral hydrogen carrier, which helps to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and transport hydrogen more effectively. These cells will be provided electricity, water and nitrogen and will produce liquid ammonia.”
At the conference, the Mines student chapter of oSTEM was also honored with the Overall Chapter Achievement Award.
The Mines chapter was established three years ago and has since been an active presence on campus, serving as both a professional organization and a social and advocacy group. They host weekly homework nights and coffee and conversation outings, bring in partners from industry to help students learn about various companies and put on Safe Zone trainings for Mines students, staff and faculty. The group also recently started an initiative to collect menstrual products and place them in bathrooms around campus for LGBTQ+ students who might otherwise have to out themselves to find the products they need on campus.