Attending CLEO 2019 was an eye-opening experience. I was able to learn about so many emerging technologies such as LIDAR, light detection and ranging, for autonomous vehicles and metallic nanoparticles used to cure cancer as well as cutting-edge research being performed around the globe. The caliber of speakers at the conference was quite incredible with talks from researchers at top universities and industrial labs, but most impressively the 2018 Nobel Laureates Donna Strickland and Gérard Mourou.
The poster session was great primarily because it challenged me. I had to present on research performed in the short duration of the Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) to experts in optical science and engineering. Since I had no previous experience, it was very intimidating, but after talks with very friendly scientists my butterflies were partially suppressed. Their pointed questions and conversation helped me gain a deeper understanding of the work, its applications and other lasers operating in the Mid-IR.
The presentations and conference as a whole were very inspiring and have reinforced my desire to continue learning about optics and photonics. I would love to attend CLEO in the future and hope that other undergraduates from the UAB REU Experimental and Computational Materials Research program get to experience conferences like it. I am very thankful for my mentors Dr. Vladimir Fedorov and Dr. Sergey Mirov, the graduate student from the lab and the UAB REU program for providing me this special opportunity.
PER the NSF website: The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) will host a Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU)-site in experimental and computational materials research. This REU-site project plans to recruit students from underrepresented groups and academic institutions where research opportunities are limited. This project offers a broad range of interdisciplinary materials research experiences to undergraduate students with a diversity of backgrounds in physics, chemistry, applied mathematics, and engineering. The undergraduate students will gain experience in materials synthesis, materials characterization and computer modeling and simulations during their ten-week research stay at UAB campus. The scientific research projects have been specifically developed for undergraduate students by an interdisciplinary team consisting of science and engineering faculty at UAB. This project will continue to provide lecture series and workshops in materials growth and characterization, research ethics, and professionalism, innovation and entrepreneurship, and preparation for graduate school to all participants. Our REU participants will publish their findings in peer-reviewed journals and/or present at professional meetings leading to a broad dissemination of new knowledge created in the undergraduate research projects.
REU research projects are organized in four research clusters: (1) materials under extreme conditions (2) materials for energy applications, (3) materials for sensors and laser applications, and (4) biomaterials for implants, tissue engineering, and drug delivery applications. The undergraduate research projects contribute to fundamental understanding of phase transformations and degradation of materials under extreme conditions, novel materials for fuel cells, materials for nanoscale sensors and mid-IR lasers, and 3-D printed biomaterials and stimuli-responsive polymers. Some research projects will also involve the use of national x-ray synchrotron facilities and neutron diffraction facilities in materials research. The undergraduate student projects have short-term achievable milestones, while simultaneously contributing to longer-term scientific goals and technological applications. Our teaming arrangement of REU participants with faculty and graduate students, giving poster and oral presentations, writing a research-style paper, and attending training seminars in scientific communications and ethics will help REU students see the “big picture” of what it takes to develop into a “research scientist” with the critical skills needed for analyzing, interpreting and presenting scientific data.
This award reflects NSF’s statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation’s intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.
Dr. Joel Dobbs, Instructor at UAB School of Business (Management, Information Systems and Quantitative Methods) was kind enough to give the REUs a tour of Birmingham’s Innovation Depot. Dr. Dobbs also presented at one of our seminars this year. His topic: Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
Both the seminar and the tour were a delight and helped to shed new light on how students should approach their careers. One of the big take aways from the seminar and the tour, per Dr. Dobbs, is that students should approach their careers with the mindset of an entrepreneur. What a great way plan for an exceptional career path.
Below are photos from the tour featuring participants as well as a sample of some of the features and businesses housed in the Depot.
There is a lot of graduate programs to explore at UAB and our 2017 REUs had the opportunity to talk with program representatives in a variety of disciplines at UAB. The Graduate Fair was deemed a success by our REUs and they felt that they learned a great deal about their options (whether here at UAB or elsewhere.
We are so proud of Class of 2017 REUs and the outstanding work that they did in the lab, their PowerPoint presentations, research papers and of course showcasing the culmination of their hard work at the 2017 Summer Expo. A huge part of our program is the experience of presenting their research to a broad audience. The annual Expo gives them just such an opportunity to share that knowledge through being well prepared to explain their work and answer questions posed to them by judges and other Expo attendees.
The Research Experiences for Undergraduates at UAB ended on July 21, 2017, but not without capturing remnants of a successful 10 weeks working along side of UAB faculty mentors and grad student mentors. Take a look at these photos of the REUs in the labs with theri mentors.
Congratulations to Nicolas Merino, Sabrina Siu and Sherilynn Knight. Nicolas, Sabrina and Sherilynn, three of our REU participants won 1st and 2nd place winners in Engineering and Physical and Applied Sciences at this year’s 2017 Summer Expo. Their 10-week research experience at UAB was sponsored by National Science Foundation (Grant Number DMR # DMR 1460392) – Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) award to UAB
First place winner in Physical and Applied Sciences, Nicolas Merino’s presented a poster titled “Theranostic Systems of Polymers and Tannic acid for Ultrasound Therapy Drug Release.” Nicolas is a Junior at Georgia College & State University. He spent 10 weeks working in Dr. Eugenia Kharlampieva’s lab in the Chemistry Department along with her graduate student Aaron Alford. As always, special thanks to Dr. Kharlampieva and Aaron for their commitment to the REU program.
Second place winner in Physical and Applied Sciences, Sabrina Siu presented a poster titled “Solid-state Reaction Synthesis of Gd:BaZrO3 for the Production of Pulse Laser Deposited Thin Films for Fuel Cell Applications.” Sabrina is a senior at University of Florida (Gainesville). This year she was mentored by Dr. Renato Camata’s (Physics) lab along with his graduate student Eric Remingtong. Dr. Camata has had a long standing commitment of mentoring participants in our REU program and we certainly thank and appreciate his dedication.
REU participant Sherilynn Knight won 2nd place in Engineering category for her poster titled “Retrieval Analyses of Wear and Debris in Oxidized Zirconium Total Knee Arthroplasty.” Sherilynn is a Sophmore at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. She worked in Dr. Alan Eberhardt’s (Biomedical Engineering) lab this summer along with graduate student Thomas Ballard. Dr. Eberhardt is among the ranks of our longstanding REU mentors and as with all of our mentors, we value his continued support.
The Physics NSF REU program has been in continually in existence since 1997 and that’s an accomplishment that Program Director, Dr. Yogesh K. Vohra is quite proud. Again, congrats to our winners and much success to all of our 2017 participants.
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