Outstanding Senior Spotlight: Vincent Martin

Chemical Engineering student Vincent Martin stands against a green and yellow bush backdrop
Outstand Senior Award winner in Biochemical Engineering Vincent Martin (Cody Duty/UC Davis) 

Looking back on their time as a biochemical engineering major at the University of California, Davis, Vincent Martin, who will graduate this spring, says their community of support was what really helped them persevere through the program and achieve their goals. 

“After moving to Davis, I feel like I didn't really catch my footing until I met some of my now close friends,” Martin said. “I have been able to meet and interact with so many amazing peers and mentors who helped me develop into the person I am today.” 

Martin met many of their friends through participating in the UC Davis chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, or AIChE. One project that resonates with Martin is the Chem-E Car, a student design team with a specific emphasis on novel fuel cell design. 

When Martin came to campus, the senior members had graduated during the pandemic, and the club mentorship was looking for someone to step up and manage the club.  

“The club was running on fumes,” Martin said. “A couple of my close friends and I started trying to lead the club. At the time, I felt in over my head — I had little to no technical experience, and I felt unfit to lead a team of my peers.” 

However, with teamwork and perseverance, Martin and their friends were able to build a car and compete in the AIChE 2024 Western Student Regionals Conference for the first time in four years. The team placed fourth out of 16 teams. 

“Seeing our team go out and give it our all was one of my proudest moments,” Martin said.  

Collaborating with others was what initially drove Martin to pursue engineering, but it was at UC Davis that they were able to try many different areas of research and narrow their focus to biomolecular engineering. Glaucia Helena Carvalho do Prado, assistant professor of teaching in chemical engineering, was particularly influential, Martin stated, citing “Chemical Engineering Principles in Food Processing” as one of their favorite classes. 

“She clearly cares a lot for the student body, putting a lot of effort into her classes while leading efforts to improve mental health awareness throughout the major,” they said. “She has been a beacon of positivity and has been a great mentor for me.”  

After graduating, Martin will attend UC Irvine, to pursue a Ph.D. in biomolecular engineering, focusing on metabolic engineering’s ability to act as a sustainable source of chemical production. Following their doctorate, they hope to either continue the academic path or work in a national laboratory.  

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