Cohort 5 (Entering 2014-2015 AY)


Irving Cashwell
IGERT Trainee, 2014-
B.S., Electronics Engineering
M.S., Electronics Engineering
Thin Films and High-k Dielectrics Research
Advisor:  Dr. Aswini Pradhan
Norfolk State University






The focus of my graduate research completed during my master’s studies covered thin film technology and high-k dielectrics MOSCap devices for transistor gate stacks. I carried out the fabrication process for the MOSCap devices in its entirety, from substrate preparation through device characterization. My current research interest includes the work I did for my master’s degree in addition to modeling and simulations, solar cell technology, characterization of both electrical and optical properties of devices and device processing. In addition to research, I am also interested in education. While I complete my Doctorate of Materials Science and Engineering, I also want to enter into a Doctorate of Education. After working in industry upon completion of my degrees, I hope to give back to my community by teaching and sharing the experiences of my life to hopefully help others pursue higher education goals. I believe IGERT will help me by allowing me to collaborate with others and expand the knowledge I have in my field. This will also broaden my way of thinking through networking with others. Furthermore, I can collaborate with a team of individuals all gifted with their own talents to complete a task while learning more in my field of study.



Monique Farrell
IGERT Trainee, 2014-
B.S., Chemical Engineering
Semiconductor/Metallic Biosensors Research
Advisor:  Dr. Aswini Pradhan
Norfolk State University







I am in the Masters to PhD Program at Norfolk State University within the Center for Materials Research pursing a graduate degree in materials science and engineering.  I am advised by Professor Aswini Pradhan. Pradhan group’s research covers mutli-applications including the development of opto-electronic, magnetic and nano-structured materials for use in solar cells, biosensors, transistors and capacitors. Currently the main focus of my research work is the evaluation of processes used in literature and industry to modify and fabricate nanomaterials and or devices.In just a short time being involved with IGERT I have had a number of opportunities including participation in the beginning processes for interdisciplinary research with Cornell University, as well as abstract acceptances to the National Educators Conference hosted by MatED. Through IGERT related deliverables produced form the pedagogy module I was also able to present at the National Educators Workshop on concepts related to nano, and nanotechnology. In general I am very fortunate to be a part a program that is student driven and provides me with the recourses to be developed as a future leader within the very interdisciplinary world of material science.



Min Hyuck Kim
IGERT Trainee, 2014-
M.Eng., Electronics Engineering
Neural Engineering and Nanoelectronics Laboratory
Advisor:  Dr. Hargsoon Yoon
Norfolk State University







I have an intellectual interest in devising and implementing optical and electrical neural sensing systems.  For completion of my master's degree in engineering at Norfolk State University, I helped develop a neural recording system for measuring neurotransmitter release in a freely moving rat brain. In order to further my knowledge, I am currently pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Materials Science and Engineering at NSU, where my current research involves developing a wireless opto-genetic stimulation and sensing system enabling manipulation and regulation of neurotransmitter secretion. I believe that the IGERT program offers me experience that are out of my comfort zone, broadening my horizon.



Soheila Mashhadi
IGERT Trainee, 2015-
B.S., Applied Chemistry
Cleanroom
Advisor:  Dr. Frances Williams
Norfolk State University







My research interests involve fabrication and development of surface plasmonics resonance (SPR) biosensors, which are acknowledged as powerful devices able to detect chemical and biological species.  Several integrated optical SPR sensor development modalities are currently available, including prism, grating and waveguide coupler techniques.  We chose grating, since it allows the sensors to be mass produced using soft lithography, in is a technique conducive to tunability of the grating material, and it permits miniaturization of the sensors. Interference lithography is the technique we currently employ to create the gratings.  I joined IGERT in the Spring, 2015 semester, since I strongly believe the program has the potential to help me improve my academic and professional development skills, such as technical writing, ethics, leadership ability and team working.




Kasia Oleske
IGERT Trainee, 2014-
B.S., Materials Science and Engineering
Polymer-Based Nanomaterials  Research
Advisors: Dr. Uli Wiesner and Dr. Lara Estroff
Cornell University







At Cornell I work with Dr. Wiesner and Dr. Estroff on nanostructured block-copolymer (BCP) reinforced calcium phosphate (CaP) composites for improved teeth and bone replacements. I am investigating new ways to direct the crystal growth of CaP within the self-assembled nanostructures of BCPs and peptide BCPs. By incorporating known peptide sequences into novel synthetic BCPs I hope to discover fundamentally new pathways toward hierarchically structured materials with control of both the local CaP crystal structure and orientation as well as the BCP directed nano- and mesostructure. If successful this project could lead to entirely new families of materials with novel property profiles previously unachievable. IGERT has pushed me to also look into using my polymer self-assembly on metals in order to see how the nano- and mesostructure affects the optical properties. I believe IGERT can help me fulfill my goals for both graduate school and post-graduate school by providing a means for collaboration with other like minded researchers that I would not have met otherwise. This engagement will provide a different perspective on my research, the ability to address some questions I would not have been able to answer alone, and the opportunity to ask even more questions. I desire more than the traditional graduate school experience; I want to push my research project to the limit and see how broadly the knowledge can be applied. Collaborative brainstorming and regular active engagement with the work of other researchers will allow me to grow intellectually, professionally and personally.



Srujana Prayakarao
IGERT Trainee, 2014-
B.S., Chemistry
M.S., Chemistry
Optical Materials and Laser Spectroscopy Lab
Advisor:  Dr. Mikhail Noginov
Norfolk State University






I am a Ph.D. student at Norfolk State University. I received my M.S. in chemistry from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA. The growing interest in metamaterials and plasmonics can be attributed to the many unparalleled applications and properties they enable. Some of these applications include optical cloaking, light concentrators, hyperlens, sub-wavelength waveguides, amongst many others. My current research involves the study of plasmonic properties and optical characterization of metamaterials; in particular, self-assembled gyroids. IGERT provides a platform to interact with various people in the scientific community through collaboration research work and meetings that allows me to develop as a better researcher. It also helped improve my writing and communication skills—aspects not included as part of a traditional graduate curriculum.  Overall, my participation in IGERT will prove beneficial in developing my career.



Andre Taylor
IGERT Trainee, 2014-
B.S., Applied Physics
M.S., Optical Engineering
Spectroscopy and Dynamics Laboratory
Advisor:  Dr. Carl Bonner
Norfolk State University






My name is André Taylor, and I have a bachelor's degree in applied physics from Alabama A&M University, where I was a National Science Foundation Scholar for five years and a National Conference of Undergraduate Research Scholar winner for research on optical waveguides. As an undergraduate, I published 15 papers and was a young researcher at NASA Glen HBCU program. I completed a Master's of Science in optical engineering from Norfolk State University, where I did research on a telescope for the International Space Station, working with NASA MSFC and the Japanese Space Agency. I have worked in industry as a PI, as an Officer of Primary Responsibility for the Department of Defense and a scientific entrepreneur. Currently,I am working on a Photo Voltaic system (PV) with Dr. Carl Bonner as my advisor for pursuit of my PhD in materials science and engineering at NSU, and participate in the IGERT-MNM program as a Trainee, in my first year. The research will be conducted at my company site is we are successful. It is proprietary work that I pursued previous to coming to the university and involves innovation and development in PVs I see IGERT as beneficial to my career because if allows me to go outside the beaten path of traditional PhD education and development. It affords me the opportunity for involvement in research areas other than my own, provides chances to learn new skills and hones skill sets developed previously to keep them sharp.  It also allows me to develop abilities pertinent to my future goals and plans. Additionally, I get to meet other high-achievers, and as the proverb goes, "As iron sharpeneth iron, so one man sharpeneth another." Thus, I am grateful for the IGERT program opportunity.



Donovan Thomas
IGERT Trainee, 2014-
B.S., Electronics Engineering
M.S., Optical Engineering
Thin Films and High-k Dielectrics Research
Advisor:  Dr. Aswini Pradhan
Norfolk State University

 




My graduate research for my Master’s degree entailed optimization of high-K dielectric thin-films for electronic and opto-electronic applications. Various surface pre-treatments on III-V semiconductors were performed to study the effects that each treatment would have on the surface and electronic properties of high-k dielectric thin-films. This type of work can be conducive to developing thin-film transistors, MOSFETs or solar cell layers. Other areas of research interest in our large research group (under Dr. Pradhan) are solar cell fabrication, magnetic nanoparticles synthesis for biomedical applications and plasmonics for communication in nanotechnology.  I feel that IGERT will be very beneficial to my professional development for the future.  It will help me become more acclimated to collaborating and thinking critically outside of the box or outside of my expertise to solve a common problem. It also helps me network with students at different universities and obtain a feel for various ways of thinking.



E. Kevin Tanyi,
IGERT Associate Trainee, 2014-
B.Eng., Physics
M.S.,  Applied Physics
Thin Film Fabrication and Characterization Research Lab
Advisor:  Dr. Aswini Pradhan
Norfolk State University






E. Kevin Tanyi started his career in Oldenburg in East Friesland, Germany. There he earned his bachelor's degree in engineering physics with a focus in medical physics, and finished with honors. During a four-year sabbatical, he worked as a Call Center Agent and finally as a web-programmer/designer. Returning to his field, he pursued a Professional Science master's degree in applied physics at Towson University. There he carried out research in the fabrication and characterization (AFM, XRD, and four-point probe resistivity measurements) of colossal magneto resistant perovskite thin films. He also embarked on a teaching career by teaching several labs as a graduate teaching assistant and later on as an adjunct faculty. While at Towson University, he also cultivated good friendships with his advisors and now mentors: Dr. Rajeswari M. Kolagani and Dr. David Schaefer. His research led to his first publication a few years later. Forced by destiny, he ended up at Norfolk State University where he is now pursuing a PhD degree in materials science and engineering, focusing on optical characterization of materials for energy harvesting. Through the IGERT fellowship, he is pursuing his ultimate goal of becoming a professor and intends to carry on research in optical materials.




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