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.


Rachael Curry – Visiting scholar

How I got here: MSci @ University of York, UK
Rachael Curry profile pictureStarting point (hometown): Taunton, Somerset, UK

Degree Information: 4th year exchange student, chemistry master’s project placement, UBC Okanagan

Rachael is completing her final year of an integrated master’s degree in natural sciences, specialising in chemistry. For the duration of her time here she will be working on a master’s project and thesis, a literature review and a distance learning module. With a background in physics and mathematics and as an environmentalist, Rachael has a keen interest in sustainable energy production which aligns with Robert’s research interests in solar energy conversion. Her project will focus on achieving the binding of carbon nitrides to amino-silanised glass, this will immobilise the carbon nitride allowing for applications in spectroscopy, electrochemistry and water purification. Outside of studying, Rachael enjoys adventuring the outdoors of BC by any means available, recreational team sports and exploring Kelowna’s city culture.


Muhammad Ismail – Visiting scholar

How I got here: MSc @ Kohat University, M.Phil @ Kohat University Pakistan
Muhammad Ismail profile picStarting point (hometown): Kohat, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan

Degree Information: IRSIP Scholar, Chemistry PhD project placement, UBC Okanagan

Muhammad Ismail is a Ph.D. student at the Department of Chemistry, Kohat University of Science and Technology Kohat, Pakistan. He has graduated from the MSc program in 2012 with a distinction from the same institution. With a background in chemistry, biochemistry and as an environmentalist, Muhammad research interests include green chemistry, biological activities and degradation of industrial effluent. Currently his research is focusing on green and sustainable single and double source precursor syntheses of carbon dots (CDs) and investigating how surface and morphological changes of CDs affect the charge transfer carrier quenching of different charge donor and acceptor molecules. Muhammad is excited to be a part of the SolarSpec group and he is looking forward to learning all about the spectroscopic techniques used in the solar fuel producing systems. Outside of studying, Muhammad plays games like cricket and volleyball in his free time. Muhammad enjoys adventuring the outdoors of Kelowna and the city culture.


Quinn Krahn – Work-study student

How I got here: Okanagan College, Kelowna, BC
Quinn Krahn profile pictureStarting Point: Mesa, Arizona

Degree Information: Undergraduate B.Sc. Student, General Major, UBC Okanagan

Quinn is in his fourth year at UBCO, his passion for an array of sciences has led him to declare a general major in pursuit of a robust education. Quinn is working to demonstrate the photocatalytic abilities of Carbon Nitrides (CNx) in comparison to other well established photocatalyst using a photoreactor. Quinn is passionate about learning and gaining new experiences to broaden his understanding of the world.


Destiny Ellenor – Barber School URA

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.


Abigail Law – NSERC USRA and RISE scholar

How I got here: Saint John High School, Saint John, NB
Starting Point (hometown): Rothesay, NB

Degree Information: BASc in Health, Saint Francis Xavier University, NS

Abigail has completed her second year in the health program at Saint Francis Xavier University. Currently she is working as a summer researcher at UBC Okanagan and she is thrilled to be a part of the SolarSpec group. Having a background in chemistry and health sciences, Abigail has a keen interest in sustainable and affordable energy production, which aligns with Robert’s research on solar energy conversion. Over the summer, she will be building off the work of Robert Godin by comparing the charge carrier dynamics in carbon nitride heterojunctions with Emma Mitchell. Outside of work, some of Abigail’s favorite hobbies are working out, meditation, hiking, and volleyball.


Kshitij Suri – Work study student

How I got here: High school at St. Joseph’s Academy, one of best schools in India
Starting point (hometown): Dehradun, India

Degree information: 3rd Year Standing Student Major in Computer Science, UBC Okanagan

Kshitij just finished his 3rd year of University where he is pursuing a major in Computer Science. Currently he is in his first Co-op Term working with SolarSpec as a Software Developer for Advanced Optical Microscopy. He is also going to work on improving data collection and management for SolarSpec. Kshitij is keen to learn new advancements in his field of Computer Science as well as the advancements in Green energy. Other than spending most of his time with computers, Kshitij likes to travel and explore different countries and cultures. He also likes to play tennis with his friends.


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
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