Why did you select Penn State for graduate school?
I became interested in semiconductor physics after taking a device physics course my junior year of college. My professor and mentor, at the time, recommended different graduate schools with strong semiconductor physics programs, among those was Penn State. After visiting Penn State, as a prospective student, I was not only impressed with the research facilities and resources here, the faculty also impressed me. Learning about Penn State and its surroundings while visiting was a critical factor in my decision to attend Penn State over other universities’ programs. I was able to see myself living in this community and working in an environment that fosters and incubates knowledge.
What are the advantages to getting a graduate degree in electrical engineering from Penn State?
The faculty and facilities are world-renowned. Faculty often collaborates with private industry, government agencies, and other universities. Through these collaborations we make different connections with people in our area of research beyond the university. This means you are solving relevant problems to the research community. Penn State alumni association is one of the largest alumni associations of its kind in the world. The association strives to keep alumni connected to the University, each other, and the students. In my experience, a large number of Penn State’s electrical engineering alumni support the department via mentoring programs, fellowships, and/or research interactions.
What degree(s) are you pursuing and when will you graduate?
I am a doctorate candidate in the electrical engineering department with an emphasis in materials and devices. I expect to graduate to graduate in Fall 2014.
What are your research interests and which faculty members are you working with?
My current research interests are low-temperature processes for large-area thin-film electronics. Low temperature processes enable putting electronics in unconventional substrates like plastics or paper. This could potentially led to multi-purpose electronics such as flexible displays, large-area sensors, and wearable sensors.
My research is quite interdisciplinary because I am, most foremost, interest in engineering the electrical properties of a material or material system but to be able to effectively engineer a system a broad and multi-disciplinary approach is required. My faculty advisor is Tom Jackson, in the electrical engineering department but I often interact and work with faculty from the materials science and engineering and chemical engineering departments like Susan Trolier-McKinstry, Mike Hickner, and Enrique Gomez.
What are your plans after graduation?
I don’t have any specific plans after graduation. I am interested in obtaining a research position in a place where they have interesting engineering problems and where my skills could make a difference.
Any advice to prospective students?
Try to visit every prospective graduate school you have been accepted. In my opinion, this is the best way to gauge whether a place is a right fit for you. While visiting, talk to as many people as you can, especially faculty and graduate students working for professors you’re interested in. You can learn a lot about the department, facilities, faculty and community by talking to other students. And finally, if time permits, go around the area and see if you can see yourself living in that place.