Student News

Undergraduate students Daniel Violette and Rodney Sutherland received prestigious honors recently. Read about them below.

Daniel Violette Awarded the James B. Willett Educational Memorial Scholarship Award
By Giorgina Paiella (CLAS ’16)

Daniel VioletteThe Department of Material Science and Engineering is pleased to announce that UConn senior Daniel Violette (Engineering Physics) has been awarded the James B. Willett Educational Memorial Scholarship Award, a prestigious accomplishment awarded on behalf of the Universities Space Research Association (USRA).

Founded in 1969, USRA’s mission is to advance the space-related sciences and exploration by way of innovative research, technology, and educational programs. Through its member institutions, USRA promotes cooperation and collaboration among universities, research organizations, and the United States government with the goal of increasing knowledge in space science and exploration. All USRA scholarships are awarded to students who have exhibited career interests in science or engineering, with a particular focus on either space research or space science education.

The James B. Willett Educational Memorial Scholarship Award honors the late Dr. James B. Willett. A native of Lexington, Kentucky, Willett received his B.S. degree in physics and astronomy from the University of Kentucky in 1962 and continued on to earn a Ph.D. in physics from Indiana University in 1969. He was an accomplished astrophysicist who collaborated with USRA through his work at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and NASA headquarters. The award consists of a letter of recognition from the organization and a check for $1,500. 

With the encouragement of Dr. Harold Brody, Distinguished Professor of Materials Science & Engineering, Violette applied to the scholarship by way of the USRA’s website. The scholarship committee was impressed with Violette’s application, namely his scholastic records, letter detailing his educational and career goals, and supplementing letters of recommendation. He was selected as the recipient of the scholarship from a large pool of applicants and a highly competitive selection process. 

UConn Student Receives Presidential Scholar Enrichment Award
By Jayna Miller
(CLAS Dec. ’13)

Rodney Sutherland, an undergraduate researcher working with Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering assistant professor Dr. Anson Ma, is the recipient of a Presidential Scholar EnRodney Sutherlandrichment Award. The Presidential Scholars Program was established by the University of Connecticut to support educational enrichment in a variety of subject areas, providing up to $2,500 for undergraduate students.

The grant will be used to fund Sutherland’s research on constructing an experimental platform for understanding the fundamentals of inkjet and 3D printing. The research aims to improve the reliability and the resolution of existing printing technology for digital fabrication. The project will impact many practical applications – most notably, perhaps, is the potential for flexible electronics.

Flexible electronics are elastic, bendable devices that may have several advantages in applications such as cell phones, cameras, and e-book readers.

Another promising application relates to the medical field. Sensors, for example, can be printed on the skin as a “temporary tattoo” to monitor the health of patients. Similarly, skin grafts may also be printed to accelerate healing in the case of burns or extensive wounds.

Lastly, with improvements of printing reliability and resolution, it may one day be possible to use this technology to print organs. This means that essential organs can be designed and manufactured in the lab, and patients in need of a transplant will not have to endure a long waiting period. Dr. Anson Ma is currently advising two CBE Senior Design teams working on the 3D printing of artificial kidneys.

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