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Meet the RISE Students

Ph.D. Students

Diego Aparicio

BS Civil Engineering, Universidad de Los Andes

MS Civil Engineering, Universidad de Los Andes

Hometown: Santiago, Chile

Research Interests: Development of low-carbon cementitious materials

Fun Fact: Diego has played almost every sport

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Matias Leon-Miquel

BS Civil Engineering, Universidad de Los Andes

MS Civil Engineering, Universidad de Los Andes

Hometown: Santiago, Chile

Research Interests: Development of novel cementitious materials in extreme environments

Fun Fact: Matias runs a pizza business in Chile with his brother

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Xiaoqiang "Antonio" Ni

BS Civil and Environmental Engineering, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Hometown: Hong Kong, China

Research Interests: Self healing, low-carbon cementitious materials, Phase change materials

Fun Fact: Antonio worked as a project engineer/manager for 11 years before coming to the US as a Ph.D. student

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Undergraduate Students

Nathan Denning

Civil Engineering, Michigan State University (2026)

Hometown: Annapolis, MD

Research Interests: Low-carbon cementitious materials, decarbonization of  infrastructure

Fun Fact: Nathan has lived in 5 different states, including Alaska!

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Alumni

Brennan Sollenberger

BS/MS Civil Engineering, Michigan State University

Hometown: Marietta, GA

Research Accomplishments: Low-carbon concrete with phase change materials (PCM) for snow melting applications

Fun Fact: Brennan had a successful E-Sports career at MSU

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