I am from Orocovis, a small town at the geographical center of Puerto Rico. At the University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez (UPRM) I graduated from Chemical Engineering, as Magna Cum Laude, with a minor in Environmental Engineering.
While in college, I conducted research in a variety of areas including phytoremediation, optimization of catalyst nanostructures and mechanical characterization of block copolymers. During my senior year, I did an NSF REU at Georgia Institute of Technology, mentored by Dr. Elsa Reichmanis, aimed at developing a facile method to optimize organic field effect transistors based on poly(3-hexylthiophene). This experience was so enjoyable and I realized immediately that I wanted to continue research in organic electronics and polymer science.
During my graduate studies, I received a 2011 Northeast Alliance Fellowship, and a 2013 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. In regards to the latter, my ambition was to serve as a role model to engage the community in working towards improvements in renewable energy. The NSF Graduate Fellowship was a great honor that allowed me to follow my curiosity and develop my independence as a researcher, while giving me greater freedom to participate in national conferences, as well as outreach and mentoring activities, in order to inspire diverse populations of students in the community to be the next generation of scientists.
Why did I come to UMass? I have always enjoyed talking about research with others; I envisioned a place where these conversations are promoted within an academically diverse group of scientists to efficiently deliver solutions to our current issues. When I visited the facilities, it was obvious that PSE was that kind of environment. I could see that the Department interfaced my favorite subjects: physics, chemistry and engineering. My visit revealed an amicable place that possessed state of the art research facilities to freely collaborate and share ideas with an exceptional group of faculty and students.
At PSE my research focused on solution state assembly of semiconductors for organic electronic devices, using poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT) as the main building block. I developed a novel method to template P3HT crystallization from graphene. During the crystallization, P3HT formed nanofibers capable of improving the performance of field effect transistors. The results contributed to a better understanding of the nanofiber assembly processes, and paved the road for hierarchical assembly of these building blocks into larger structures for other electronic devices.
With the knowledge I obtained at PSE and my collaborations with great scientists at UMass, I advanced to become a Process Engineer at Apple. Currently, I use my experience and knowledge in polymer science to engineer solutions for developing process/equipment of future products.