The Materials Processing Center and the Center for Materials Science and Engineering have selected 12 college interns from around the U.S. to work as MIT Summer Scholars from June 7 to August 8. They were chosen from among 156 applicants.
This year's group includes the joint first author of a Nano Letters publication about improving signal-to-noise ratio at high bandwidths in solid-state nanopores; a flute player in a collegiate wind ensemble; and a materials science and engineering major with prior summer experience with the Advanced Rheometric Expansion System.
"I hope to confirm that graduate school is the right path for me and refine my research interests as I prepare for graduate study and potentially a career in research or academia," says Olivia Fiebig, a Rowan University junior majoring in chemistry and physics. Based on her work in Timothy Vaden's lab at Rowan, Fiebig was first author during her sophomore year of a paper in the Journal of Physical Chemistry B on the thermodynamics of myoglobin unfolding in ionic liquids. She used fluorescence spectroscopy and other techniques to determine that the anion component of the ionic liquid affects the unfolding thermodynamics of myoglobin.
A National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates (NSF REU), the nine-week research internship program is supported under the NSF Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers program (grant number DMR-1419807).
This year's Summer Scholars are:
- Lena Barrett, a junior at Lehigh University majoring in chemical engineering and business information systems;
- Alexander Constable, a Pennsylvania State University, junior majoring in materials science and engineering;
- Mariely Caraballo Santa, a University of Turabo sophomore majoring in mechanical engineering;
- Olivia Fiebig, a Rowan University junior majoring in chemistry and physics;
- Stephen Gibbs, a University of Florida junior majoring in chemical engineering;
- Katharine Greco, a University of Massachusetts at Amherst junior majoring in chemical engineering;
- Zhenni Lin, a Rutgers University junior majoring in materials science and engineering;
- Bartholomeus Machielse, a University of Pennsylvania junior majoring in physics;
- Jahzeel Rosado Vega, a University of Turabo junior majoring in mechanical engineering;
- Lisa Savagian, a Hope College junior majoring in chemistry;
- Jonah Sengupta, a University of Maryland junior majoring in electrical engineering; and
- Nathan Zhao, a Columbia University junior majoring in physics and mathematics.
University of Pennsylania physics major Bartholomeus Machielse says, "I'm looking forward to meeting scientists from around the country and to experiencing the unique research environment that MIT offers, while continuing to develop the skills I'll need to one day run my own lab." Machielse was lead co-author of a 2014 Nano Letters paper, "Improving Signal-to-Noise Performance for DNA Translocation in Solid-State Nanopores at MHz Bandwidths" under co-senior author Marija Drndić, professor of physics at Penn.
Nathan Zhao plays the flute in the Columbia University Wind Ensemble. The junior physics and mathematics major says he hopes this summer to develop an expanded laboratory skill set and deeper knowledge of frontier experiments in solid-state physics. Based on his summer 2014 work at the Caltech program to study gravitational waves using the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO), he was lead author of a paper, "Enhancement of Second Harmonic Generation for Squeezing in a LIGO." The paper showed a set of mechanical design improvements that reduced to a few days what had been a month-long process to align the SHG cavity.
Rutgers materials science and engineering major Zhenni Lin was a summer 2014 REU intern at Lehigh University, where she performed viscosity measurements on bioactive glass-beta-GP salt-chitosan (polymer) mixtures using the Advanced Rheometric Expansion System (ARES). The MIT Summer Scholars program, she says, "provides me a chance to gain deeper understanding of materials science and engineering, which could potentially help me figure out what I would like to pursue in my graduate studies. In addition, meeting students from other universities will make my college experience more colorful and memorable."
After they arrive on campus in June, students hear presentations from faculty and tour MIT labs before choosing their graduate-level materials research projects. Recent Summer Scholars have published alongside MIT faculty and graduate students in peer-reviewed journals and won national awards for their poster presentations. Off-hours activities include kayaking on the Charles, watching Red Sox games, and exploring the Boston-Cambridge area.