I was born in Rochester, NY then moved to Alpharetta, GA and lived there throughout grade school. After graduating from high school in 2010, I attended the University of South Carolina where I majored in chemistry and conducted undergraduate research in the lab of Dr. Brian Benicewicz. My research projects focused on the synthesis and characterization of responsive polymer nanocomposites for applications in drug delivery and biological imaging. I developed a fundamental understanding of polymer synthesis materials and how ubiquitous polymers are to materials science and everyday life.
In addition to my work in the Benicewicz labs, I also participated in the Magellan Ambassadors program, which encouraged undergraduate participation in research. The Magellan Ambassadors program offered me an opportunity to present my research with fellow students and promote undergraduate research. Connecting with my community through these presentations was equally as impactful as the research itself and I knew it would continue to be an integral part of my future.
After visiting the Polymer Science & Engineering Department at UMass, I was sure this was the Department where I could conduct high-impact research and further develop my understanding of polymers. I enrolled in PSE in the fall of 2014 and joined Todd Emrick’s group where I synthesize water-processable electronically active materials to enhance performance and stability of organic solar cell devices and fluorescent sensors.
Shortly after joining PSE, I became involved in the ‘Polymers All Around Us,’ a student-led program which conducts polymer science-related classroom experiments and presentations with K-12 students in the Western Massachusetts area. In September 2016, I took on the role of outreach program coordinator. Over the past several months I have expanded the program’s activities to new schools and developed partnerships with programs such as the Holyoke Boys and Girls Club, with the goal of encouraging students with diverse backgrounds to pursue careers in science, technology, mathematics, or engineering.
After completing my doctoral work, I would like to pursue a research and development position in an industrial or national laboratory. Ultimately, I would like to return to academia to educate students with a passion for science and disseminate knowledge to the public.