Why did you choose to study MSE?
I loved the nanomaterials lab that I worked in during high school, and after I naively told my mentor that it inspired me to study “chemical engineering” in college, she responded, “Oh, OK, but you do know this field is called ‘materials science’ right?” Then in my undergrad, I came across incredible friends and teachers in MSE who convinced me to take up the major and I eventually ended up here. The interdisciplinary nature of the field is one that suits me well as I love integrating knowledge from all the sub-fields of STEM.
What do you like most about MSE?
Oh, easily it’s the people. MSE programs are relatively small among engineering disciplines, and something about it just attracts super wholesome people—students, faculty, and staff. I’ve been fortunate to have incredible mentors guide me in each step of my educational career. I’ve also enjoyed getting to know my classmates and learning from their diverse backgrounds and perspectives. Altogether, these people are the reason MSE has been so rewarding.
Any interesting projects/research you are working on now that you’d like to share?
When I came to Berkeley, I emphasized that I wanted to study structural materials, or metals. While this domain is relatively mature (the Bronze Age began 5000 years ago), I think there is still a lot to be learned, especially through the lens of new computational methods. In the Asta group, I’m using atomistic simulations and machine learning to study the properties of metallic interfaces, such as their energy (strengthening of superalloys) and kinetics (understanding phase transformations).
What do you enjoy doing outside of school?
I love to social dance and frequently attend events on campus, in Berkeley, and in the city. I’m always happy to lead or follow any style of waltz or swing, but I’ll also be down to jam to whichever dance style people know. I’m particularly fond of the East Bay dance communities, and I enjoy the activity for its creativity, communication, openness to mistakes, and flat out fun. Hope to see you soon on the dance floor!
What are your future plans?
To be honest, I’m pretty awful at planning into the future. After the PhD, I would love to work in a position with a significant teaching/mentoring component. I love teaching and working to improve the state of STEM education, and I hope to bring some of my research knowledge into the classroom during and after my PhD career. While the details remain nebulous, I again feel incredibly fortunate to have so many friends, family, and mentors who continue to support me in this endeavor.