Q: What are your current research interests?
Structure-property processing relations in electronic ceramic materials. This involves understanding defects and their impact on critical issues of reliability, developing new materials and new compositions for functional operations in extreme environments. Also exploring new processing methods to enable new materials to be integrated and fabricated.
Q: What led you to your specific field and when did you know you wanted to pursue a career in your specific field?
As a child, I built my own radio from other broken down radios, and so I became interested in electronics and ultimately, after going to university, became interested in material physics behind such devices.
Q: What is the most rewarding part of your work and what challenges you?
There are two aspects of my work that are the most rewarding; one is taking the basic science and solving real problems, often in partnership with companies, and the second is the development of next generation graduate students.
Q: Why should students choose a major in your field?
If students have a broad scientific interest in chemistry, physics, and mathematics, then they should seriously look at materials science, as you can design your career and your specialization seamlessly within this particular major.
Q: What are some of the career opportunities for students who a choose major in your field?
There are many opportunities working in industry, working in a national lab, working in academia, developing your own company. Over the years, I have seen people from my own research group cover all of these bases. In some cases, they may have even moved out of the field but still remain in contact because of the intellectual growth experience that they gained in their time at Penn State working in material science.
Q: What types of research or hands-on learning are available within your department?
There are opportunities to do internships with companies, national labs, and even international universities within the department. Also, all our faculty offer opportunities to undergraduates who have a passion for learning about research with hands-on experiences within their own research groups.
Q: What advice would you like to share with incoming or current students?
Always remember that it is a long road and try not to run too fast. Expand your horizons, but in a way that allows you to also appreciate the broader academic community at a university.
Q: What would people be surprised to learn about you?
In my high school physics class, I was the only boy in the class.
Q: Can you tell us a fun fact about yourself?
I was a member of a soccer team with graduate students and postdocs that won the Penn State intramural spring championship, many years ago.
Q: Did you go to college with the intention of getting the job you have now?
If not, briefly explain how you came to the position you're in now at the University. I did not go to university until I was 21 and was the first in my family to ever go to university. So I am very surprised to have had the career that I have had.
Q: Growing up, what did you want to be?
There were two things: a veterinarian or a professional soccer player.