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Micron School of Materials Science and Engineering News

Graduate Student Evan Smith

Graduate Student Evan Smith

Math Meets Materials Science and Engineering

Evan Smith is originally from Southern California, where he completed his first two years of undergraduate coursework at a community college. He enrolled in the undergraduate program at Boise State in Fall 2014, majoring in Applied Mathematics. One of the most significant reasons for Evan’s choosing Boise State was the location. He absolutely loves the weather and variety of outdoor activities here in Boise.

Evan was looking for an internship at the beginning of his senior year so he attended the Boise State Career and Graduate School Fair to see what opportunities were available. He happened to drop by the Micron School of Materials Science and Engineering (MSMSE) graduate program information booth and learned more about graduate school opportunities. Evan was convinced that the Program was right for him so he applied for admission.

Evan was accepted to the MSMSE Ph.D. Program in Fall 2016. The Program has helped Evan develop great research and professional skills. Faculty and staff have encouraged him to apply for grants and they help him with the grant writing process. The Albertsons Library also offers some amazing materials science resources, which are extremely helpful for Evan’s research.

Evan’s research involves creating mathematical models from empirical data generated from lab experiments, and then studying the models to find trends and similarities. What he enjoys most is that he can use his math background to complete the research. He also appreciates the opportunity to create chemicals in the lab and then computationally model them. He adds, “I really like getting my hands dirty in the lab.”

Evan chose materials science and engineering because, as he commented, “Engineering is just so heavily related to math that I figured I might as well get a math degree. Then if I ever come back to do any engineering work or enroll in grad school and major in engineering, my background in math would be helpful. My goal after grad school is get hired locally. I really want to stay here!”

Evan recommends that prospective students connect with professors with whom they are most interested in working before applying to the program. Doing so helps students find out more about the many different materials related research opportunities that exist. He also recommends applying for admission as early as possible to allow plenty of time to for the review process.

Rick Ubic: Foundation Scholars Award

MSMSE Associate Professor Rick Ubic Receives the Boise State Foundation Scholars Award for Research and Creative Activity

The prestigious Foundation Scholar Awards honor Boise State faculty who have demonstrated ongoing commitment, expertise and accomplishments in teaching, research and creative activity, or professionally related service. The award includes a $3,000 honorarium from the Foundation for each scholar. In addition, their names will be added to the display showing all recipients of the Foundation Scholar Awards since 1992. The display is located on the first floor of the Student Union Building near the main staircase.

Rick UbicUpon his arrival at Boise State in 2007, Rick formed the Functional Ceramics Group to study structure-property relationships in functional ceramics, serving both undergraduate and graduate students. He serves as the director of the Boise State Center for Materials Characterization, as well as director of the NSF-funded Research Experience (REU) for Undergraduates in Materials for Society. Dr. Ubic is known for his work on the structural evolution of nuclear graphite and recently has developed an empirical model that predicts structure and unit volume of perovskite ceramics. He has published 61 refereed journal articles and 24 conference proceedings, and given 24 invited presentations at international forums in 11 countries. In addition, he has received $4.3 million in external research funding. Dr. Ubic serves as secretary of the Electronics Division of the American Ceramic Society and is editor in chief of the Materials Research Bulletin.

Congratulations Rick!

Undergraduate Student Paige Skinner

Paige Skinner on Study AbroadExploring Opportunities at Home and Abroad

Bachelor of Science Student Profile

Paige Skinner is originally from Seattle, Washington but she moved to Boise about five years before enrolling at Boise State. In high school, Paige knew she loved chemistry, math, and physics, but wasn’t sure which major would be best once she entered college. Paige discovered that President Obama had visited Boise State’s College of Engineering so she thought she would explore engineering majors.

Materials science relies heavily on the principles of chemistry and physics to identify exactly how materials work and why they exhibit certain properties. Because of Paige’s affinity for science, she thought materials science and engineering would be a great major in which she would thrive. She has learned, through experience, that the Micron School of Materials Science and Engineering puts emphasis on ensuring that students can overcome any obstacle thrown their way. Classes are focused on providing students with modern skills that many companies are seeking in order to continue developing innovative materials.

Paige participated in a great cultural experience in Fall 2016 by studying abroad at Chiang Mai University in Thailand. While she was there, she was an intern in an advanced metal processing lab, a ceramics lab, and a nano materials lab. One of Paige’s current goals is to gain more research experience in a Micron School of Materials Science research lab. Find out more about Paige’s study abroad experience.

Paige plans to work toward a Ph.D. and then become involved in research within the field of renewable energy. When asked about her recommendation for success, she said, “Work hard and take school seriously because learning is awesome!”

Undergraduate Student Jenni Domanowski

Jenni Domanowski with the Apollo 11 moon rock.

Soaring to New Heights – One of Aviation Week’s Twenty Twenties

Bachelor of Science Student Profile

Jenni Domanowski is originally from Arlington, WA, a small town about an hour north of Seattle. She came to Boise in the Fall of 2012, coming straight from high school into the Micron School of Materials Science and Engineering (MSMSE) undergraduate program. Jenni really loved her chemistry and physics classes in high school and decided in her senior year that she wanted to pursue engineering as a career. With little hands-on engineering experience, Jenni enrolled in the materials science and engineering program at Boise State. In fact, Jenni had never heard of materials science and engineering until she came to Boise State and met with faculty and staff in the College of Engineering. The concept of how “everything is made of something” fascinated her. She began to imagine changing the world by developing and improving modern materials that are used in everyday life.

Some of Jenni’s most recent learning experiences took place at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) in Maryland, where she worked with polymeric materials. Specifically, she studied different types of epoxies and adhesives that are used on spacecraft and satellites, investigating their behavior in spaceflight applications. In an extreme environment, like space, materials can out-gas, meaning that they release gases that can damage components of a spacecraft or satellite. Jenni helped develop a screening test for high out-gassing materials. She also worked on a project with the Smithsonian concerning artifacts that were out-gassing where she helped develop a solution to stop the damage of neighboring artifacts. Another project involved methods of decreasing display glass hazing.

Curiosity, exploration, and hard work have earned Jenni recognition as a Top 20 aerospace-bound engineering student by Aviation Week and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). The “Tomorrow’s Engineering Leaders: The 20 Twenties” awards will be presented during Aviation Week’s 60th annual Laureates Awards on March 2, 2017 at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. and Jenni plans to be there. Read more about this prestigious honor…

Studying materials science and engineering allowed Jenni the technical knowledge and hands-on experience required to succeed in the cutting-edge space industry. She summed up her Boise State experience by saying, “The greatest ways my education has helped me develop my expertise cannot really be defined, or measured very easily. I have learned that, while performing research and completing projects can be frustrating, setbacks can be turned into stepping stones where you learn more than you ever expected in the first place. I have learned to truly value teamwork and to depend on others. The greatest lessons learned often begin with talking with peers or professors. I will carry these traits and lessons that I have gained during my time in the MSMSE into my career as a future professional.”

Jenni aspires to be a materials process engineer at NASA GSFC. In this role, she would serve as the main point of contact for materials-related matters on spaceflight projects. She is confident that she is, and will be, making an impact in the world through the fields of aerospace and materials science.

Jenni recommends that students show enthusiasm and be excited about learning because these are the best ways to get the most out of the MSMSE program. The faculty and staff are so helpful and caring and they are always looking for ways to connect students with opportunities. 

Why Study Materials Science? Computational Engineering.

1d_1610_042_003Dr. Lan Li and Dr. Eric Jankowski are Cultivating a Computational Engineering Advantage.

We are living in a digitally-driven and rapidly evolving society. Identifying innovative materials that promote a greener world is more important than ever. Materials scientists work closely with engineers, physicists, and chemists, to discover and develop materials that have significant impact on our global society. While research can often take several years to develop, computational modeling techniques can accelerate the timeline and provide better materials sooner rather than later. The Micron School of Materials Science recognizes the computational leading edge.

The Micron School of Materials Science and Engineering leverages the extensive knowledge of two experts in computational modeling, Dr. Lan Li and Dr. Eric Jankowski, to create a robust curriculum that incorporates computational modeling techniques throughout. Dr. Jankowski talks about his research in his new book “Introduction to Scientific and Technical Computing.” Dr. Li has developed materials modeling projects that provide active learning opportunities. Together, their National Science Foundation-supported efforts help train a digitally literate engineering workforce.

Are You Interested in Computational Modeling?

If so, materials science might be your field of study. Coursework at Boise State builds on computational concepts from freshman to senior level. Students begin by automating repetitive tasks. Experience continues with data analysis and visualization skills, and progresses to investigating advanced materials modeling techniques. This computational core allows students the ability to maximize their real-world contributions. Whether it is launching a new big data materials start-up, working for a leading semiconductor manufacturer, or pursuing graduate school, students with advanced computational skills have what it takes to succeed. Are you ready to contribute to the digital future? YOU can design materials for higher performance, lower cost, and better environmental sustainability. Apply for admission!