LEXINGTON, Kentucky (August 24, 2022) — Lucas Bertucci, a chemical engineering graduate from the University of Kentucky in Louisville, Kentucky, was named the first recipient of the university’s Lee T. Todd, Jr. Student Innovation Scholarship.
The Lee T. Todd, Jr. Student Innovation Scholarship is a unique undergraduate research scholarship provided by the UK Center for Applied Energy Research (CAER) and funded by philanthropic donations. Focused on inspiring and training the next generation of Kentucky high-tech entrepreneurs, this fellowship will allow Bertucci to build his own research project under the mentorship of a CAER researcher. In addition, he will be paired with an entrepreneurial mentor to help him learn more about the commercialization process.
“It’s an incredible honor to be named the first Lee T. Todd, Jr. Student Innovation Scholar,” said Bertucci, who is also pursuing minors in computer science, photography and math. “I have been involved in undergraduate research for the past three years in the UK. To be able to continue this journey by engaging with Kentucky’s high-tech start-up community is a dream come true. I am beyond grateful to Lee T. Todd Jr. and CAER for making this exciting opportunity possible.
Bertucci’s research focuses on recycling e-waste in an environmentally responsible and economically feasible way. Her Todd Fellowship project will build on that experience, focusing on recycling solar panels.
“By 2030, end-of-life solar panels will have a combined total value of $450 million in recycling potential,” Bertucci said. “As the green energy revolution sweeps the world, little attention is paid to what to do with broken, old and unusable solar panels. My proposal for this program is to develop an environmentally friendly process. environmentally and economically sustainable for recycling solar panels.
For the past three years Bertucci has worked under the direction of Jack Groppo and Josh Werner of the UK Department of Mining Engineering. Groppo, a longtime CAER researcher, will serve as his research mentor for the Todd Fellowship.
“I am extremely proud of Lucas and delighted that he has this opportunity,” Groppo said. “Not only does he deserve this opportunity, but I think he has a chance to do great things. I look forward to continuing to work with him to see his dreams come true.
For CAER, this Lee T. Todd, Jr. Scholarship program has been a passion for several years. This is a major focus of the center’s philanthropic plans, and CAER is delighted to launch the scholarship this fall.
“What makes this scholarship program unique is that it emphasizes student creativity and innovation,” said CAER Director Rodney Andrews. “In most cases, undergraduate researchers participate in research projects led by their mentor. Which is fantastic – we need more Kentucky students involved in undergraduate research. But we also need students to work on their own ideas while being trained and encouraged to bring these innovations to market. This is especially true as we seek to transition our energy infrastructure. Through the Todd Scholarship Program, Lucas will have the opportunity to do just that. We are excited to see what Lucas discovers and learns throughout the year.
Lee T. Todd Jr. is from Earlington, Kentucky and received his undergraduate degree in engineering in the UK. He then obtained his doctorate. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, before returning to the Commonwealth to join the faculty of the UK College of Engineering. Todd went on to create two Kentucky-based high-tech companies – Projectron and DataBeam – before becoming the 11th president of the University of Kentucky. He is known throughout the Commonwealth for his commitment to inspiring the next generation of high-tech entrepreneurs and encouraging them to help reshape and modernize Kentucky’s economy.
“It’s an honor to have a scholarship named after you,” Todd said. “I cannot thank the Center for Applied Energy Research enough for naming this scholarship after me. The fact that this scholarship focuses on energy, innovation, and commercialization makes it even more special. Congratulations to Lucas for being the first Todd Scholar. I can’t wait to see what he will do this year and what he will do in his career. With youngsters like Lucas in the lead, Kentucky’s future looks bright.
Bertucci is a Fellow of the Lewis Honors College and participates in the Engineering Scholarships in Undergraduate Research and the Dean’s Leadership Program. Bertucci has presented research at the 20th Annual Capitol Posters and 2022 Undergraduate Scholars Showcase. He is a photographer whose works have been exhibited at the KMAC Museum, the Speed Art Museum, and the Bolívar art gallery. He is also the Commonwealth Ambassador for the State of Kentucky.
Those wishing to support the Lee T. Todd, Jr. Student Innovation Scholarship may do so by donating to the endowment fund.