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Multi-Tasker Extraordinaire: James Bosse

James Bosse, who is completing his B.S. degree in Materials Science & Engineering this term, is a master multi-tasker who manages to juggle demanding coursework with original lab research and a part-time job. Oh, and he’s also a nationally competitive bowler who participates in tournaments about once a month.

James, who hails from Berlin, CT, has worked in the research laboratory of Dr. Bryan Huey – assistant professor of Chemical, Materials & Biomolecular Engineering – since the summer of 2007. He has conducted a variety of studies involving atomic force microscopy, or AFM, a technique that allows researchers to image objects and processes at a fraction of a nanometer.

“When I began working with Dr. Huey,” he said, “my work involved the use of AFM to efficiently and accurately separate DNA and protein strands by mass. I also researched the mechanisms behind ferroelectric domain switching and stability.”

His current research, conducted for his Honors Program thesis, involves the precise application of electrical voltages across ferroelectric/piezoelectric materials to view domain switching and actuation. James has made this type of measurement numerous times in the lab already, even presenting a poster at last year’s Materials Research Society conference. For the next step, the goal is to enhance measurement speed, requiring writing software using National Instruments’ LabVIEW to integrate, command and control a range of lab equipment. The project exploits his skill in the use of this object oriented programming language that he acquired as an industrial intern at Emhart Glass Research Center.

Throughout most of his high school years, James planned a career steeped in the mechanics’ milieu, like his father. College was nowhere on his horizon. However, a fateful meeting with his guidance counselor, and the counsel of an insightful chemistry teacher, placed him on a different career track. “In high school, I always enjoyed mathematics and science. My guidance counselor told me I should consider becoming an engineer.” James applied to just one school, UConn, and liked what he heard at an open house where engineering faculty and students discussed the engineering professions and displayed intriguing demonstrations.

He found a home in the Materials Science & Engineering (MSE) degree program. “Materials science has the best faculty – a lot of young, energetic professors who are doing interesting research,” he said. He also dove into an array of activities that consume his days. During his first three years at UConn, James provided his peers with tutoring services in general engineering and MSE subjects as well as math, physics and chemistry. He also contributed his time as an officer in the Material Advantage chapter, serving as tutoring and scholarship chair, and began an internship with Windsor-based Emhart Glass in May ’08. He continued working in Emhart’s process automation and simulation group throughout the school year, logging an average of 30 hours per week last semester.

At Emhart, James said, “I write LabVIEW software to automate data collection systems, such as thermal history via pyrometers and thermocouples. I also automated a density comparison system.” He recently cut back on his work hours to allow for more time in the lab. During his years at UConn, he has also stayed active as a top bowler, maintaining a schedule of league play twice weekly and competing in major tournaments monthly. He has won numerous national titles as a junior bowler and recently won his first adult tournament.

A top student, James made the University’s Dean’s List for three consecutive years and is an Honors Program student. James’s undergraduate education has been financed by academic merit and needs-based scholarships, including the ASM International George A. Roberts Scholarship, ASM Hartford Chapter Scholarship, the Capitol Scholarship Program, and a SMART Scholarship. Thriving amid a demanding, rigorous slate of activities comes naturally to James. “I owe my driven personality to three very influential people: my father, my maternal grandfather, and my old bowling coach, Bill Clay. They all stressed the importance of education, and a career filled with not only success, but also enjoyment. They have provided me with infinite wisdom over the years.”

With a view to his post-graduation plans, James said “I plan to earn my doctorate in materials science, hopefully at UConn. I also plan to go for an MBA in finance. I’ve grown very interested in business and investing over the past year. As for my career, I’d like to ascend to a senior vice president, CEO, or CTO position.”