Yvana is a doctoral candidate in the MIT Mechanical Engineering Department, working with Professor John Lienhard. Her research focuses on increasing the water, energy and fertilizer savings of brackish groundwater desalination for hydroponics and greenhouses. She is characterizing the performance of monovalent selective electrodialysis, a high recovery, energy-efficient desalination system that selectively removes ions damaging to crops from irrigation source water, relative to the widely used reverse osmosis, which operates at lower recoveries and removes both detrimental and beneficial ions to crops. The desalination of brackish groundwater is critical for improving water quality and the sustainability of irrigated agriculture, because the use of untreated brackish groundwater causes land damage and significant declines in crop yields. Desalination technologies can be coupled with renewable energy sources to increase crop production without growing the carbon footprint. Yvana was awarded an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship and co-founded a start-up related to this work.
Yvana holds an S.M. degree from MIT in Mechanical Engineering and a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Johns Hopkins University with a minor in Mathematics and a concentration in Aerospace Engineering. Outside of her research, she is pursuing a minor in Political Science to better equip herself with the skills needed to work at the crucial intersection of technology and policy. She has also held executive positions in various student clubs, including: Co-President of the MIT Water Club, Director of the 2017 MIT Water Summit, Marketing Director of the MIT Energy Club, Treasurer of the MIT Women’s Initiative and Vice President of the Lebanese Club at MIT.