Congratulations to Amanda Hildebrand, a PhD student in Biological Systems Engineering, who was named recipient of the 2016 Kinsella Memorial Prize by the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences.
The Kinsella Memorial Prize was established to honor the late John E. Kinsella, former Dean of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and an internationally distinguished food chemist. The prize is made possible by the Kinsella Memorial Fund. Members of the committee said she won the prize because: “On the basis of scores received, the clear winner was Amanda Hildebrand, nominee of Biological Systems Engineering. Amanda’s studies on cellulosic biomass was regarded by the Committee to be outstanding, addressing sustainability and commercial economic aspects, and is important for understanding pathways to biofuels and chemical production. Her work encompasses the ideals of the award.”
Hildebrand first learned about this award when Dr. Fan encouraged her to apply. She says she is grateful for the acknowledgment, but is most appreciative of this award for shining more light on this important area of research, as she says “One of the greatest challenges of our time is building a more sustainable future for our planet and its inhabitants. Awards such as this serve to highlight these efforts, and are an important tool for fostering awareness and encouraging the continuation of research in this area.”
Hildebrand came to UC Davis in 2011 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from UC Santa Barbara, along with five years of industry experience in process development for the consumer goods and biotechnology industries. Her experience as a fermentation engineer shaped her interests in renewable energy and prompted her to pursue a doctoral degree in Biological Systems Engineering. She works with Dr. Julia Fan as her major professor for her doctoral studies.
Hildebrand largely credits her academic and scientific success to Dr. Fan’s mentorship and guidance, and believes her experiences with Dr. Fan will have a profound benefit to her career for years to come.
As for life post-graduation, Hildebrand has accepted a research position with DuPont Industrial Biosciences, where she works to develop enzymes and yeast strains for the fuel ethanol industry. Outside of her career, she enjoys applying her fermentation skills to home brewing, hiking with her family, and enjoying as much California sunshine as she can.