The Department of Materials Science and Engineering extends a warm welcome to new staff member Sarah Moore, who takes over as the administrative program support for MSE.
Sarah joins the department with a strong background in administrative and customer services to local businesses and international companies.
She is married to John David Moore, a supervisor at G. Donovan Associates and is mother to a teenage son and daughter. If she is not at work, she likes to spend time with family and friends. She enjoys spending time at the pool or beach, walking her dogs, and camping.
Dr. Laura Pinatti, manager of the IMS Thermal Analysis Laboratory, is soft-spoken and avoids the spotlight but she is also funny and caring, devoted to family, and amazing at her job. After 20 years working for the IMS Industrial Affiliates Program, Laura retired at the end of April. IMS News reached out to Dr. Pinatti with a few questions.
How did you come to the sciences and, specifically, analysis and characterization?
When the job for a research assistant in the thermal lab opened up in 2000 I jumped at the opportunity. My youngest had just turned 5 and it was time to get back to work. I couldn’t have found a better place to spend the next 20 years.
What did you like most about your job in IMS?
Working for IMS and for the IAP has been challenging and stimulating with always something new to keep it interesting. I loved working with our team to define and solve the ever-increasing complexity of issues that industry continue to face.
You’ve retired in the age of coronavirus where we are working and socializing remotely. Of course there are plans to celebrate you when it is safe, but does having such a major event in these times feel different than what you expected? Retiring when everything is shut down is obviously not how I expected to say goodbye. I would have liked to shake some hands and share some hugs.
How will you remember your time in IMS?
I, of course, also enjoyed meeting and working with the all the graduate students over the years. Getting to know them, working with them on the instruments and learning about their research added a whole new layer of enjoyment to my life at IMS. But what I am going to miss most is chatting with the friendly faces in the halls and offices throughout IMS.
Do you have any special plans for your retirement years? I am looking forward to a no-obligation, nowhere-to-be sort of retirement. My priority is my family and my health and some road trips to new places now and then.
The IMS 2020 Newsletter is out today with news from across the Institute. Stories in this year’s issue highlight groundbreaking research from our faculty and students, follow the progress of IMS alumni, examine outreach by our Industrial Affiliates Program and other efforts at the university level, and introduce you to new faculty and staff members. Start reading now!
IMS Administrative Assistant Kayla M. Pittman will soon be leaving UConn to pursue her Ph.D. in history at William & Mary, one of the oldest educational institutions in the United States. Kayla has been awarded the William M. Kelso Graduate Fellowship in Early American Studies. The competitive fellowship provides $4,000 per year for the first two years of graduate study, plus $500 in research expenses for the same period, in addition to the standard financial package offered with admission to the graduate program. The fellowship is awarded to only one graduate student each academic year.
Kayla was gracious to answer a few questions for IMS News:
You have decided to return to the classroom in pursuit of your Ph.D. What motivated you to take that step?
Coming out of my master’s program at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, I knew I wanted to use our shared past to engage diverse populations. I worked in various museum settings and with local schools to not only make history accessible, but also use it as a mechanism to unpack long-held understandings and provide new perspectives. The perennial sentiment that history is boring is a failure by the history community to provide opportunities to engage with the past and to present it in such a way that represents all audiences. I maintained strong ties to the academic and museum communities during my time at UConn. I found that my desire to effect positive change in my field pulled me towards a Ph.D. program. Simply put, it is time to go home.
You have been accepted into the graduate program at William & Mary and been honored with a prestigious fellowship. What was your initial reaction to the news of being selected for the William M. Kelso Graduate Fellowship in Early American Studies?
I am deeply honored to receive the William M. Kelso Graduate Fellowship in Early American Studies. In 2011, I attended the Monticello-University of Virginia Archaeological Field School as an undergraduate. Standing in the blazing summer sun over a quadrat at Jamestown, we listened to Kelso explain that his team believed they were on the cusp of discovering the 1608 church in which Pocahontas and John Rolfe married. I was in awe then and am in awe now as I prepare to begin a Ph.D. program at William & Mary. Any one of William & Mary’s top-notch students in the history program are qualified to receive this award. I find myself in a state of humble disbelief that I am the 2019 recipient.
Though it is down the road a bit, how do you hope to apply your future research for real-world impact. I hope my future research will add to the conversation surrounding slavery’s lasting legacy on America. Traditionally, slavery is taught along black and white lines. However, it effected and continues to effect diverse populations including Native Americans, women, immigrants, etc. Until we better understand how moments in time were navigated and manipulated by historical figures, we will never be able to truly have the breath of understanding needed to tackle present issues our nation faces.
You have been a joy to work with. How will you remember your time at IMS and UConn? I truly enjoyed being a part of the IMS community and all the wonderful people here who work hard every day to promote research and support students. I also especially enjoyed my time assisting IMS Director, Dr. Steven Suib and working with the IMS administrative team. I wish my successor, Ms. Kaitlyn Cullen all the best in her new role and look forward to keeping up with IMS news in the future.
Everyone at IMS is extremely proud of Kayla and we wish her all the best as she begins her journey at William & Mary.
YoungHee Chudy began working for the IMS Polymer Program in 1986. Hired by Dr. Leonid Azaroff, director of IMS at that time, YoungHee began her career as a part-time administrative assistant to Robert Weiss who was then head of the Polymer Program. As the program grew, so did her role. Eventually the position transitioned from part-time to full time. On June 30 YoungHee retired leaving an extremely big pair of shoes to fill.
The current IMS Director, Dr. Steven Suib, announced YoungHee’s retirement on June 15 including a long list of accomplishments. While all of her accomplishments are outstanding, the items on the list that stand out most have to do with YoungHee’s dedication to people and the Polymer Program’s success:
“Mother Hen” of the Polymer Program, especially with regard to graduate students, junior and mid-level faculty members
Accommodates many international student visitors at her home. She would then help them find a place to stay, give them utensils, bed sheets, and other things to make their transition to life here easier and to ease financial burdens
Lunch buddy to students and faculty members
”Welcome Wagon” to Program visitors and seminar speakers, always making them feel extremely welcome
Reflecting upon her tenure in IMS and the Polymer Program, YoungHee noted, “The people and the relationships of my IMS years, they mean the most to me.”
Among those attending the farewell reception for YoungHee was former head of the IMS Polymer Program, Bob Weiss, and his wife Cindy, faculty, students, and staff. Students honored Chudy by painting a special message on Spirit Rock where they refer to her as #PolyMOM.
Indeed, YoungHee Chudy has been an inspiration, a guiding force, a welcoming smile, and a friend to many. Everyone at IMS wishes YoungHee the very best in the next phase of her life journey.
After over 27 years of service, on March 31, Deb Perko retired from her position as Executive Assistant of Infrastructure in the Institute of Materials Science. In her long tenure, Deb says that she has “met some amazing people, been made aware of some amazing research, and have enjoyed meeting and learning about the diverse people that have passed through its halls”.