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MSE Design Team Wins ASM Competition

Four MSE seniors won ASM International’s 2017 Undergraduate Design Competition for their senior design project, “Tuning Mechanical Properties of Aerogels from Poly (ether ether Ketone).” Sponsored by the ASM Materials Education Foundation, this national competition was launched in 2007 to “encourage and strengthen design curricula in materials science engineering departments.”

The idea for the project stemmed from research performed by Robert Moore, a professor in the chemistry department and the Macromolecules Innovation Institute. That research resulted in the discovery that the polymer, poly (ether ether ketone) or PEEK, was capable of forming high surface area aerogels that are hydrophobic and oleophilic (they shed water and soak up oil), characteristics that make them an excellent material for use in cleaning up oil spills in the ocean and other bodies of water.

Moore served as the advisor for the design team, assisted by his graduate student, Samantha Talley. He put his team to work very early in the year creating and analyzing aerogel samples as they independently explored the impact of four key processing variables. According to Talley, the team created over 2,000 samples within the first six months. 

Results of their work lead to publication in Polymer in May 2017 of “Mechanically Robust and Superhydrophobic Aerogels of Poly(Ether Ether Ketone),” co-authored by Moore, Talley, and the four senior design team members, Christian AndersonSchoepe, Christopher Berger, Kaitlyn Leary, and Samuel Snyder.

The entire team, including Moore and Talley, traveled to Pittsburgh in October to receive the award, which was presented at a luncheon held during the MS&T ’17 conference. The team received $2000 plus travel assistance to attend the conference. In addition, Virginia Tech’s materials science and engineering department received monetary support for future design teams.




MSE Graduate students finalist and winner at the Paul E. Torgersen Research Excellence Awards.

Two of our graduate students participated in the finals for the very prestigious Paul E. Torgersen Research Excellence Awards on May 2, 2017. The competition night included 11 finalist poster presentations and 6 finalist oral presentations from M.S. and PhD students across the College of Engineering. Finalists were selected from more than 75 applications received.

Yanxi Li (top) was a finalist in the Ph.D. Poster Category. Yanxi presented his work in Architectured Nanocomposite of Functional Film. Yanxi has recently completed his PhD under the supervision of Prof. Viehland and Prof. Jie-Fang Li.

David Hicks (bottom) won the first prize in the M.S. Poster Category. David presented his work in Meso-scale Continuous Electrospun Polymeric Fibers to Establish Multi-scale Porosity in Ultra High Temperature Ceramics. David is doing his M.S. research under the supervision of Assist. Prof. Carolina Tallon through the MSE Accelerated UG/GR Program. David will complete his M.S. in May 2018.



Congratulations to Andre Stevenson, recipient of the 2017-2018 David W. and Lillian Francis Scholarship

This award provides graduate fellowships for research emphasizing longer, safer, healthier lives. It carries a stipend of $18,000 and tuition is covered for one academic year.

Dean DePauw made the announcement at a recent MSE Graduate Student Diversity Coffee Hour.


Julia Ross named dean of the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech

Read More 


  Congratulations to Ms. Sreya Paladugu, who received The Adhesive Manufacturers Association Award for undergraduate research. The award included an invitation to present a poster at the 40th annual meeting of The Adhesion Society in St. Petersburg, Florida, Feb. 26 to Mar. 1, 2017. Sreya is a member of Dr. Johan Foster's Advanced Materials Group in MSE.


First Place, Speaking Contest: Wyatt Surbey. 2nd VT student to win this competition.

First Place, Geodesic Dome Competition: Casey Clark & team. Third year in a row VT took 1st place.

Second Place Geodesic Dome Competition:  Kate Fowler & team. Second year in a row VT took 2nd place.

MSE wins Material Advantage Achievement Award of the year!




Johan Foster named Thomas G. Digges and Thomas G. Digges Jr. Faculty Fellow

September 7, 2016 - Professor Johan Foster has been named the first recipient of the Thomas G. Digges and Thomas G. Digges Jr. Faculty Fellow in Materials Science and Engineering.  This fellowship was established through a gift from the estate of Virginia Tech alumnus Robert H. Digges and recognizes excellence in teaching and research.  Thomas G. Digges Jr. is a current member of the MSE Advisory Board. Click here to read more about this award. 


LGP2 welcomes 2 professors specializing in nanocellulose

Professor Johan Foster was one of two North American professors with nanocelluose materials expertise who spent time this summer at LGP2, a center of innovative research in Grenoble, France, teaching classes, giving seminars, and co-presiding over Nano 2016, an international conference on nanocellulose and nanotechnology for renewable materials. Click here to read more.


Journal of Undergraduate Materials Research, Volume 5 now available! Click on photo to preview.

Professor Kathy Lu Receives 2016 Alumni Award for Excellence in Research

Congratulations to Professor Kathy Lu, who has been honored with the university's 2016 Alumni Award for Excellence. Sponsored by the Virginia Tech Alumni Association, this award is presented annually to as many as two Virginia tech faculty members who have made outstanding research contributions. Read the full article here.

   Professor Abby Whittington Receives Auburn University Outstanding Alumni Award

The Department of Polymer and Fiber Engineering at Auburn University presented its 2016 Outstanding Alumni Award to Abby Whittington, who graduated Summa cum Laude from the department in 2000 with a degree in Textile Chemistry. She was specifically noted for her Ph.D. in MSE from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2006, more than 20 publications in peer reviewed journals, recent promotion to associate professor with tenure in chemical engineering and MSE at Virginia Tech, and her patent application in the development of new imagible polymers specifically designed for pediatric medical devices. She was honored on April 8, 2016, during Auburn University's Samuel Ginn College of Engineering Annual Awards Ceremony in Auburn, Alabama.


2016 MSE Outstanding Senior

Congratulations to Ms. Priya Venkatraman, who has been named the Outstanding Senior for the Department of Materials Science and Engineering for 2016. Priya models exemplary skills in leadership and service. She is co-founder and president of BioactiVT, the biomedical engineering design team that won second place in the Engineering World Health design competition last fall. She is also president and founder of the first undergraduate biomedical organization at Virginia Tech. Priya is a member of Professor Johan Foster’s Advanced Materials Group in MSE where she is engaged in undergraduate research in the area of anti-bacterial scaffolds.  She has participated in internships at Adolphe Merkle Institute in Switzerland and the National Centre of Biological Science at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in India. She also serves as a student ambassador for MSE. Priya is interested in pursuing research and development in materials science and biomedical engineering.

Yanxi Li Receives GEMS Sapphire Award

Mr. Yanxi Li, a Ph.D. candidate in Virginia Tech's MSE department, has been awarded the Graduate Excellence in Materials Science (GEMS) Sapphire Award given by the American Ceramics Society (ACerS).

Yanxi is advised by Prof. Dwight Viehland and co-advised by Dr. Jiefang Li. His research is focused on epitaxial growth and characterization of multifunctional solid oxide thin film materials with magnetoelectric and multiferroic properties.

This GEMS award, organized annually by the Basic Science Division of ACerS, recognizes the outstanding achievements of graduate students in materials science and engineering. It is based on the quality of student's research, the academic and scientific accomplishments of the student, as well as the overall quality of the student's oral presentation at the Materials Science & Technology Conference, held this year on October 4-8 in Columbus, Ohio.


College of Engineering Spotlight on New Faculty 

Carolina Tallon and Hang Yu will join the MSE faculty in January.

Virginia Tech students win second place for medical prototype

Engineering World Health is a non-profit educational organization whose mission is to create a global network of engineers and engineering students around the world who improve healthcare in low-resource environments. The Engineering World Health Design Competition challenges students to create innovative designs of medical equipment appropriate to very low resource areas. Plenty of hospitals in Africa, Latin America and Asia operate without steady electrical power under hot and dusty conditions with unclean water, all of which can contaminate and render equipment unusable. Many Engineering World Health chapters around the globe enter the annual design competition, which focuses exclusively on designing and building instruments that are low-cost and functional in these environments.

BioactiVT won second place for creating a low-cost, thermoelectrically generated pulse oximeter for use in developing nations.  MSE student, Priya Venkatraman, is a co-founder of BioactiVT and is President of the current team.  Read more here .

Virginia Tech Honors Paul Huffman, Jr. for Career Achievements

April 22, 2015 - Paul Huffman, Jr., a 1978 MSE graduate and MSE Advisory Board member, is a 2015 inductee into the College of Engineering Academy of Engineering Excellence, joining an elite group of 135 individuals out of more than 60,000 living engineering alumni. The Academy was founded in 1999 by F. William Stephenson, past dean of the college of engineering, and the College's Advisory Board. Inductees are Virginia Tech engineering graduates who have made continuous and admirable engineering or leadership contributions during their careers.

Paul is the founder and President of Dominion Metallurgical (DOMET) located in Roanoke, Virginia. As a member of MSE's advisory board, he played a key role in fund-raising efforts to establish VT FIRE and the Kroehling Advanced Materials Foundry. He also designed and constructed the Skipper II cannon at no charge, following in his father's footsteps. Paul Huffman, Sr., cast the first Skipper, also at no charge.




Sean McGinnis, CIDER Teacher of the Week! - Monday, April 11, 2016

Congratulations to Prof. Sean McGinnis, who is the CIDER Teacher of the Week.Visit the MSE NEWS page to read more.

MSE SHOWCASE - Friday, March 25, 2016

Adwoa Baah-Dwomoah is a Ph.D. candidate in VT's MSE department. She completed her B.S. in MSE at Virginia Tech in 2010 and her M.S. in MSE at UF in 2012. Click here to read more about Adwoa.

AIST Scholarship Recipients - Monday, January 25, 2016
Four MSE undergrads are among this year's AIST Scholarship winners. Congratulations to Joseph Ogea, Mattie LaPrada, Mackenzie Jones, and Zachary Corey. These students will participate in paid summer internships in the steel industry and each will receive a $6000 one-year scholarship for 2016-2017. 
Austin Scherbarth, MSE, 1 of 3 COE Sudents Awarded Rolls-Royce Fellowships - Monday, January 25, 2016

MSE graduate student, Austin Scherbarth, received one of three Rolls-Royce Fellowships. this doctoral award comes with an annual $30K stipend, full tuition and fees, health insurance, and an annual travel budget of $2500.  Congratulations Austin!

YOU MAY HAVE TO SAVE A LIFE ONE DAY! - Monday, July 09, 2012

 This short video will show you how to be the one to save someone's life someday instead of being a by-stander and watching them die.  I encourage all of you to watch it.  Let's everyone in MSE take care of each other!

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