University of Waterloo chemical engineering student is awarded the David Johnson International Student Entrance Scholarship

Monday, April 25, 2022

Nikolai Burton

Congratulations to Chemical Engineering grad student Nikolai Burton for being awarded the David Johnson International Student Entrance Scholarship! Nikolai, a native of Barbados grew up on the island spending time with his family and playing football and cricket. Nikolai was selected for this award on the basis of academic excellence, and his academic achievements. He commented on being awarded this scholarship,

I am genuinely thankful for the award. I was quite shocked, but it eased the burden I placed on my family back home in Barbados by living abroad.

Burton’s first exposure to chemical engineering came in secondary school, where his passion for science grew.  His first exposure to chemical engineering was learning how to select a suitable location for a bauxite to aluminum process plant, and learning about the environmental impacts and electrolysis involved. That’s when his interest and commitment to chemical engineering sprang to life!

Nikolai came to Canada to complete his undergraduate degree in chemical engineering at the University of Waterloo. He reflected on the benefits of this experience,

The major advantage of doing my undergraduate degree here is the quality of education combined with the co-op program. Although it is challenging at first, co-op allows you to build a network and explore the jobs available in the chemical engineering industry.  

 During his undergraduate degree, Nikolai gained experience working in wastewater treatment, pharmaceuticals, oil, pilot plant design, and HVAC. His experience in the Chemical Engineering Program culminated in his Capstone Design Project which focused on the simulation and economic analysis of natural gas dehydration using glycol absorbers versus graphene oxide membranes.

In his graduate work, Nikolai continues to focus on work with graphene oxide membranes. Nikolai is working under the supervision of Mike Pope and Jeff Gostick in the Department of Chemical Engineering. He’s intent on modeling and constructing an asymmetric graphene oxide membrane for potential applications in dehumidification processes. He believes that the product of his work may change the way gasses are dehumidified.