• Matt_s Swirls

Sarah Ward

Student

I’m from Corpus Christi, Texas, a coastal city in South Texas.  In 2012, I graduated from Texas A&M University (College Station, TX) with a B.S. in Chemistry.  I worked in two groups while at TAMU: with Dr. Jaime Grunlan, where I did research on layer-by-layer assemblies of polymer films for gas barrier properties, and with Dr. Karen Wooley, where I did synthesized hybrid polymeric/magnetic nanoparticles for the environmental remediation of crude oil from water systems.

During my sophomore year, when I started working in Dr. Grunlan’s group, I became very interested in polymer science.  My interest in polymer chemistry grew while working in Dr. Wooley’s group.  I selected PSE for its focus on polymers and the outstanding resources and faculty, and it’s clear that everyone here is enthusiastic about their work.

My research focus is on synthesizing novel zwitterions having interesting and directly embedded chemical functionality for a wide range of applications. I’m also working on developing new therapeutics for treating brain cancer, specifically through the incorporation of biocompatible zwitterions and chemotherapeutics into polymer prodrugs or implantable systems. In addition to my research, I’m involved in the PSE Outreach Program (Polymers All Around Us), and I enjoy going to local schools for polymer-related demonstrations and presentations that spark the interest of K-12 students in polymer science.  I’m also part of the organizational committee for the ASPIRE program. I love being able to mentor creative and curious students and guide them through hands-on laboratory experiments.  Since coming to UMass, I’ve received an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship and the Santos Go Memorial Award.