Month: February 2022

MSE PhD Candidate Encourages Other Female Researchers to Not Doubt Their Own Voices

As of 2021, female PhD researchers like Suman Kumari are welcoming the challenge of pursuing a passion in a still male-majority field. Though representation has improved compared to decades ago, the imbalance in a classroom or lab can still be intimidating. According to Kumari, though it hasn’t been easy being a female in her discipline, this shouldn’t dissuade others from pursuing materials science and engineering.

“Though the world is changing, it’s challenging as a female in the materials science and engineering field, but nothing is impossible if you have the will to do it. I would say, ‘listen to yourself, you know what you want to do,” she says.

In much of her career so far, Kumari has not let any hesitation stop her.

Read the full story from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering

Xueju “Sophie” Wang Receives NSF CAREER Award

Xueju "Sophie" WangMSE Assistant Professor Xueju “Sophie” Wang has been awarded the NSF Faculty Early Development Program CAREER Award for her proposal entitled “Mechanics of Active Polymers and Morphing structures: Determine the Role of Molecular Interactions and Stiffness Heterogeneity in Reversible Shape Morphing.” It is one of NSF’s most prestigious awards.

Wang’s NSF CAREER award will support her research on fundamental studies of the mechanics of innovative active polymers and morphing structures. Soft active polymers that can change their shapes and therefore functionalities upon exposure to external stimuli are promising for many applications, including soft robotics, artificial muscles and tissue repair. This research project aims to establish the missing correlations across the molecular, material and structural levels of novel active polymers for their rational design, manufacturing and applications, by using liquid crystal elastomers as a model material system.

“I am very grateful and honored to receive this prestigious award, and I look forward to working with my students to address challenges in innovative active polymers and to apply them in emerging fields like soft robotics,” Wang said.

Read the full Department of Materials Science and Engineering Story

Rajeswari Kasi to Serve on Editorial Board of Micromolecules

Rajeswari Kasi
Dr. Rajeswari Kasi

Professor of Chemistry Rajeswari (Raji) Kasi has accepted an appointment to the editorial board of Macromolecules, a peer-reviewed scientific journal published by the American Chemical Society. The publication was first published in 1968 on a bi-monthly basis but has, over the years, moved from monthly to bi-weekly publication.

Kasi’s research encompasses all aspects of materials design including synthesis of hierarchically structured polymers and polymer-hybrid materials with tailored architecture, functionality, and composition; investigation of self-assembly and structure at various length scales; and evaluation of unique macroscopic material properties. She will serve a three-year term on the editorial board.

Pamir Alpay Appointed Interim Vice President of Research, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship

S. Pamir AlpayIn a recent letter to the UConn community, UConn Interim President Radenka Maric announced the appointment of S. Pamir Alpay as interim Vice President of Research, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship. Pamir, a Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor, currently serves as Executive Director of the UConn Innovation Partnership Building (IPB).

“He is well known throughout UConn for his tireless work in supporting faculty research, fostering industry partnerships, and setting an example of innovation with his own work in smart/functional materials and multi-scale materials modeling,” Maric noted in announcing the appointment. “He will serve in the interim VPRIE role in my place as I serve as interim president, and we will work in tandem with others throughout UConn and UConn Health in the shared mission of securing our place as one of the nation’s top research universities.”

In an institution that is fortunate to have so many talented faculty researchers, Pamir is particularly impressive and well suited to take on this important leadership role.

Read the full announcement at UConn Today

Radenka Maric Named UConn Interim President

Radenka MaricRadenka Maric, a distinguished UConn faculty member who has led UConn’s surging research enterprise to new heights as an administrator, has been named UConn’s new interim president.

Members of the Board of Trustees voted unanimously and enthusiastically Wednesday to appoint Maric, who began serving as interim president on February 1. She will serve as successor to Interim President Dr. Andrew Agwunobi, who will assist with the transition until he leaves later in February for a new position in private industry.

Maric is a highly respected researcher and mentor who joined UConn’s faculty in 2010, and has served for the last five years as its vice president for research, innovation, and entrepreneurship. She will serve as interim president of the University throughout the planned search for the permanent appointee.

“I am honored and humbled to serve as interim President of the University of Connecticut and UConn Health,” Maric says. “UConn strives to be the place where all students, regardless of the zip code and country they were born and raised in, will have equal opportunities and be fully prepared for their life journey upon graduation.”

Read the full story at UConn Today