Robert Godin – Group leader

How I got here: B.Sc. @ University of Ottawa, Ph.D. @ McGill University, Postdoc @ Imperial College London
Starting point (hometown): Bathurst, NB

Robert joined The University of British Columbia in July 2018, after spending nearly three years in London, UK. His interests have always been rooted in photochemistry, and now he leads the Solar Energy Conversion and Spectroscopy group. Combining his love of instrumentation and careful analyses, the group is looking to develop advanced spectroscopy and microscopy techniques to gain a deeper understanding of the spatial and energetic heterogeneities in charge carrier dynamics of low cost, carbon-based photocatalysts. This knowledge allows us to understand the limitations of photocatalytic systems and establish design and preparation guidelines for the next generation of high efficiency materials. When outside of the lab, Robert enjoys taking advantage of the great outdoors, exploring the Okanagan’s wine and craft beer industries, and quietly (for now) rooting for the Montreal Canadiens.


Emma Mitchell – MSc student

How I got here: B.Sc. from Queen’s University
Emma Mitchell profile pictureStarting point (hometown): Burlington, ON

Degree Information: M.Sc. student at UBC Okanagan

Emma has graduated from Queen’s University and now entered into the first year of her master’s degree here at UBC Okanagan. Currently her research is focusing on investigating how morphological changes of carbon nitride affect its photocatalytic activity. She is building off the work of Grady Hewlett who was a summer student in the SolarSpec Lab. She is super excited about being apart of the SolarSpec group and is looking forward to learning all about the prophotophysical and photochemical processes in solar fuel producing systems. Outside the lab she is exploring her new home, enjoying the amazing outdoor activities Kelowna has to offer. Some of her favorites include hiking, running as well as supporting the Okanagan’s wine and craft beer industries.


Peter Osei Ohemeng – PhD student

How I got here: Mphil from University of Ghana, Legon, Accra
Starting point (hometown): Akim-Oda, Eastern Region, Ghana

Degree Information: PhD student, Chemistry, UBC Okanagan

Peter has completed a two-year Master’s degree program in Chemistry from the University of Ghana and is currently a PhD student here at UBC Okanaagan. Presently, his research is vastly concentrated on tweaking the morphology of carbon nitride (CNx) as a means of ameliorating its photocatalytic performance towards water purification. Peter will also employ state-of the-art chromatographic techniques to investigate and develop standard procedures for the separation and purification of carbon nitride, all in an effort to unravel the hidden optical properties of the organic semiconductor. He is exceedingly excited to be affiliated to the SolarSpec group and is looking forward to building strong expertise in spectroscopic techniques and semiconductor photocatalysis. Outside working in the lab, Peter takes delight in singing, watching soccer games and exploring new places.


Chang Liu – MSc student (co-supervised with Dr. Jian Liu)

How I got here: B.Sc from Central South University
Starting Point: ChangSha, Hunan, China

Degree Information: M.Sc student at UBC Okanagan

Chang has graduated from the Central South University and starts her first year of Master’s degree program here in UBCO. She is co-supervised by Professor Jian Liu in School of Engineering, and is currently working on depositing metal nitride cocatalysts on the surface of carbon nitride by Atomic Layer Deposition. Chang developed her interests in photochemistry and electrochemistry during her fourth year of university, now she is passionate about her study project! Outside of studying, Chang loves travelling, cooking and watching films.


Destiny Ellenor – Honours student

How I got here: St. Mary’s High School Vegreville, AB
Starting Point: Vegreville, Alberta

Degree info: Undergraduate B.Sc. Student, Chemistry, UBC Okanagan

Destiny will be going into her 4th year of study at UBCO to complete a bachelor’s degree in chemistry. She is currently working on completing a programmed model to simulate the expected charge carrier dynamics of carbon nitride for different morphologies and trap characteristics. Destiny’s interest in the development of sustainable energy technologies and love for the outdoors inspired her to pursue research in solar energy conversion with our group. Outside of studying, Destiny enjoys hikes with her dog Pickles and recreational sports.


Jasper Pankratz – Honours and work study student

How I got here: Princess Margaret Secondary School, Penticton, BC
Starting point (hometown): Penticton, BC

Degree Information: Undergraduate B.Sc. Student, Chemistry, UBC Okanagan

Jasper is entering her final year as an undergraduate student at UBC Okanagan and is very excited to be completing her honours thesis project in the SolarSpec group. Jasper’s thesis project will focus on changing the morphology of carbon nitride to adjust it’s charge carrier dynamics and photocatalytic efficiency. Jasper will also complete a work study project, in which she will work to develop and characterize carbon quantum dots for solar energy conversion. Jasper is looking forward to working in the SolarSpec group and learning all that she can before heading off the graduate school. Her favorite thing to do (other than chemistry of course) is rock climbing in the beautiful Okanagan valley!


Gabrielle Albrecht – Honours student

How I got here: Campbell Collegiate High School, Regina, SK
Starting Point: Regina, SK

Degree info: Undergraduate B.Sc. Student, Chemistry, UBC Okanagan

Gabrielle is in her 4th year of study at UBCO pursuing a bachelor’s degree in chemistry. She is working on modifications to carbon nitrides and the use of spin dynamics in carbon nitrides to improve its use as a photocatalyst. Gabrielle’s interest in this research is inspired by a desire to further the study and use of sustainable energy. She is excited to have this opportunity to learn more about photophysical and photochemical processes. Apart from studying, Gabrielle enjoys cycling, hiking, and painting.


James Kivai – Work study student

How I got here: Rusinga School, Nairobi, Kenya
Starting point (hometown): Nairobi, Kenya

Degree Information: Undergraduate 3rd Year, B.Sc., Electrical Engineering (Computer Science Minor), UBC Okanagan

James is currently a 3rd year student pursuing a degree majoring in electrical engineering with a computer science minor. He has a passion for coding and loves a good challenge. James also likes working with people and helping people out. In his free time, James usually plays the piano, goes for a walk or listens to music amongst other things.


And more to come!

We’re always looking for motivated students to join! Check out the Opportunities page for more info.


Group alumni

Name Current occupation
Oluwayemisi Ogungbemi Undergraduate student at UBC Okanagan
Peiwen Guo Undergraduate student at UBC Okanagan
Kshitij Sury Undergraduate student at UBC Okanagan
Quinn Krahn Student counsellor
Muhammad Ismail College professor
Rachael Curry Laboratory Technician @ Accolade Wines
Abigail Law Undergraduate student at St. Fx University
Grady Hewlett Production Laboratory Technician @ BZAM Cannabis, LinkedIn
Natalie Stapleton Graduate student in the UK
Ahmed Ibrahim Undergraduate student at McMaster University
Kenny Batke Undergraduate student at Trinity Western University
Cristian Kwasnek Undergraduate student at UBC Okanagan