Originally from Papillion, Nebraska, I received a B.S. in Polymer Science and Engineering, summa cum laude, from Case Western Reserve University in 2010. In 2016, I received a PhD in Polymer Science and Engineering from UMass Amherst (Thesis: Engineering Advanced Morphologies for Structurally Reinforced Polyolefins).
At Case Western Reserve University, I contributed to several research projects within the Biomedical Engineering Department. As part of the NSF REU program in Professor Roger Marchant's research group, we synthesized peptide fluorosurfactant polymers to facilitate endothelial cell adhesion to biomaterial substrates, with intended applications for coronary artery prosthesis.
Why did I choose PSE? I was initially attracted to UMass PSE by the prestigious faculty and academic record. When I visited PSE, I discovered the uniquely cooperative approach to research. Collaborations and ideas flow freely between research groups in a diversity of disciplines. I also appreciated the exceptional facilities and resources available within the department. As a second year student, I was awarded a 2012 National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Research Fellowship (NDSEG).
My thesis work, under the direction of Professor E. Bryan Coughlin and Professor Alan J. Lesser, centered around developing new methods to enhanced the mechanical properties of thermoplastic semicrystalline polymers. The research included two complementary methods to produce reinforced Isotactic Polypropylene (iPP)-nanographite nanocomposites, the first through an in-situ metallocene-catalyzed polymerization technique, and the second via a processing strategy. Additionally, Brian developed a compounding process referred to as Melt-Mastication (MM) and showed how MM may be exploited to generate unique crystal morphologies resulting in improved thermal stability and mechanical strength/toughness for iPP.
In June 2016, I joined the R&D division of the Altuglas group at Arkema, Inc., and currently develop polymeric materials and processes for new and existing markets, and also lead cross functional teams in product development initiatives.