16 September 2021 • ResearchSTEM Widing '22 Earns Research Scholarship to Germany

With the support of a prestigious scholarship, Charlie Widing ’22 will research water purification techniques at the Technological University of Berlin this summer.

Charlie Widing ’22, who has been studying water filtration at HWS, is the recipient of a Research Internship in Science and Engineering (RISE) from the German Academic Exchange Service. His three-month internship in Berlin this summer is also supported through a highly competitive scholarship from the American Chemical Society’s International Research Experiences for Students. Widing is one of only 10 students selected nationwide for the program,

RISE offers summer research internships in Germany for approximately 300 undergraduate students from North America, the U.K. and Ireland. In their internships, students are paired with doctoral students and researchers, who serve as mentors. Interns receive a monthly stipend to cover everyday costs.

Widing’s internship will inform his Honors research and familiarize him with “different instruments and techniques that will prepare me for graduate level work,” he says.

A biochemistry and education double-major, Widing will be based at the Technological University of Berlin, working alongside a Ph.D. candidate as they study the effectiveness of ceramic silica membranes with graphene oxide as a method for water purification. Widing says he is eager to work in a lab in an international setting at “a world-leading center for research and idea development.”

While this summer’s research will be new, it overlaps with questions he has been exploring with his adviser at HWS for more than a year. With Assistant Professor of Chemistry Elana Stennett, Widing has been conducting experiments “to visualize the interactions between biological molecules that hinder membrane-based water purification methods.” They have also “visually captured and studied the protein cake-like structures that form on the surface of these fouled membranes,” Widing explains. “It is our hope that this research, in addition to the project I will be working on during the summer months, can act as a foundation for my Honors project.”

In addition to support during Widing’s internship, the American Chemical Society scholarship program will fund a trip to the American Chemical Society headquarters in Washington, D.C. and another to present research at the organization’s spring symposium in San Diego.

Beyond his research and coursework, Widing works closely with the Center for Teaching and Learning, serving as a Teaching Fellow for introductory chemistry courses, a role he will take on next year for the Biology Department as well. A captain of the Hobart soccer team and a 2019 Academic All-American, Widing serves as the team’s athletic study mentor, supporting incoming first-year athletes in their transition from high school to college.

After graduation, he plans to apply for a Fulbright Award before pursuing medical school.