Three named Mavis Future Faculty Fellows

05/06/2016
 
Three graduate students in MechSE have been selected as Mavis Future Faculty Fellows (MF3) for 2016-2017. This program is designed to help doctoral students in the College of Engineering become the next generation of great engineering faculty. 
 
Hector Lopez-Hernandez, Rajavasanth Rajasegar, and Cai Mike Wang were among this year’s fellowship winners.
 
The MF3 program facilitates training of the next generation of engineering professors, and focuses on three components: research, teaching, and mentoring. Fellows will have opportunities to attend a variety of workshops, seminars, courses, and other events to improve their knowledge of faculty responsibilities, in addition to mentoring an undergraduate student and completing a teaching assignment. The activities in each area are designed to enhance the students’ experiences in their department. 
 
Hector Lopez-Hernandez
Hector Lopez-Hernandez
Hector Lopez-Hernandez
, a master’s student in MechSE, studies the degradation of metastable polymers. These polymers are designed to be functional for long periods of time but can also be triggered to depolymerize on demand. They may help open the door to applications in transient electronics, recycling, and sacrificial templating, to name a few. 
 
“I have always wanted to be a professor so that I can teach the next generation of engineering students. I am really interested in learning how to become a great instructor and mentor. I hope that upon graduation I get the opportunity to move on to that role. The Mavis fellowship will really help me, because it will provide a lot of useful information and training. The fellowship is aimed at educating graduate students interested in academia and I plan to take full advantage of what it has to offer,” he said.
 
His advisor, Aerospace Engineering professor and MechSE affiliate Scott White, said, “Hector’s research has pioneered a new area for our research group in collaboration with [materials scientist] John Rogers on transient polymers. These types of materials hold great promise for reducing the waste stream that go into our landfills and for enabling the efficient and cost-effective recycling of polymers and composites. Hector’s paper in Advanced Materials in 2014 was the first demonstration of a transient, engineered polymeric material in the scientific literature.”
 
Cai Mike Wang
Cai Mike Wang
Doctoral student Cai Mike Wang’s research revolves around strain engineering and self-assembly of 2D materials such as graphene and transition metal dichalcogenides. In assistant professor SungWoo Nam’s lab, Wang is tailor-designing their morphologies to enable novel optoelectronic, catalysis and separation phenomena. He is also working on the scalable manufacturing of 2D materials and is investigating ways to make their production less chemical- and energy-intensive.
 
His career goals are to continue fundamental research on the coupling between mechanical forces on nanomaterials and how they can be used to deterministically tune their various material properties, ideally within an academic setting where he can work with likeminded peers and students. Wang said he is honored by the opportunity to participate in the Mavis program and hopes to improve his academic and research acumen through its well-structured programs to become a great PI in the future.
 
“Mike’s research has been focused on understanding and developing a unique approach to generate 3D topographies of 2D materials based on buckling/crumpling mechanics principles. Mike's most recent five works have been published in high-profile journals, such as Advanced Materials, Nano Letters, and Langmuir,” said Nam.
 
Rajavasanth Rajasegar
Rajavasanth Rajasegar
The research of doctoral candidate Rajavasanth Rajasegar is focused on application of advanced laser-based diagnostic techniques for understanding the combustion dynamics of high-speed reactive flows with emphasis on thermo-acoustic instabilities. His work also involves implementing both active and passive methods for combustion instability control including plasma-enhanced combustion, electro-sprays, and flame interaction in meso-scale combustor arrays.
 
His advisor, Associate Professor Tonghun Lee said, “Raja has been working on applying advanced laser and optical diagnostics to understand a phenomenon called combustion instability in practical propulsion systems. For aviation relevant engines, combustion instability remains one of the most difficult problems to overcome during the design of the engine architecture. Unlike previous studies that have attempted to find operating conditions that are less plagued by this problem, Raja is seeking to actively mitigate these effects through the use of novel methods such as plasmas. Hopefully, some of the work he is carrying out can become integrated into a new generation of engines in the future.”
 
“The [MF3] program will provide me with exceptional opportunities that will help me gain valuable insights about new, ever-changing, and challenging facets of academia. As an aspiring faculty, I am sure that this fellowship will be a rewarding learning experience, and will help me further my acumen and develop an all-around personality with the necessary competencies expected of a world-class academician. I am confident that this esteemed fellowship will fast-track my career growth to a great extent and certainly help in achieving my long-term goal of serving as a successful faculty member. As a foreign student, I have developed a keen and sincere appreciation for international collaborations through my past and current research experiences. I sincerely hope that this invaluable experience will come a long way in truly serving my long-term aspiration of returning to India with a vision to advance the Indian engineering education system and thereby be a pioneer in empowering and motivating young Indian minds to be creative by taking up a research-oriented career and contribute to the country’s development,” said Rajasegar.