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student spotlight materials sciences
Mitch Materials Science student
Mitch Materials Science student


Mount Horeb, Wisconsin


Materials Science with a nanoscience emphasis.

Have you done research?

Yep, I've been working with two other students and Dr. McEllistrem on graphene. It's been a great experience so far and I strongly encourage any science major to look into getting a research position on campus as soon as possible in your undergraduate career.

What is your research about?

The research that I am doing with graphene is largely about attempting to come up with a better way to produce manageable pieces of graphene. I can't go into the details of the processes that we are using, but the main idea of graphene is that it is a monolayer of connected carbon atoms that is very conductive and heat efficient. It has the potential to change much about the technology world if there were to be an efficient method to produce a large quantity of it. The hope is that the research I am doing will result in a better understanding of the reactance of graphene and allow for the manipulation of pieces of graphene.

What is your favorite course?

My favorite course thus far would be Materials Science 355, Materials Characterization. The work that is done in this course is largely working with the different types of microscopes that we have on campus, which let me look into the world on the nanoscale.

Who is your favorite professor?

I can easily say that all the professors that I have studied under have left a positive mark on my life, no matter what the area of study was. However, I do have to go with the home field advantage here and say that the Materials Science department really has some great professors with Dr. McEllistrem and Dr. Dunham. Both are great guys that you can discuss anything with, ranging from getting help understanding Dirac points to juggling chainsaws. Another professor that I've had that I really think deserves a call out is Dr. Evans for making Physics 232 fun and manageable to learn while being an all around hilarious person.

What advice would you give to freshman?

The advice I would give to incoming freshmen that are looking to a possible field in science is to take Materials Science 100! It's a great course and I really think that it will get you interested in the field. Get involved as fast as you can in any department you end up choosing. And as for the advice you'll hear over and over, go to office hours! Get to know your professors outside of class as they will be more than willing to help you out.

What do you love best about being a materials science student?

I love that no one knows what materials science is, so whenever I meet new people I always get to explain what exactly it is I'm interested in and what the field covers.  It's great to get people thinking about the subject!

"Working with the different types of microscopes on campus allows me look into the world on the nanoscale. Once you achieve imaging on that level you begin to see the world as if you’re some type of miniscule explorer, exploring new terrain and finding things that few, if any, have seen before."

What skills or techniques in materials science have you learned at UW- Eau Claire?

I've learned how to use the SEM, XPS, XRF, and AFM microscopes. In addition to that, I've learned a lot about how materials look and function on the molecular scale, which is really important to the work I've been doing in research. The biggest thing, however, would be the experiences in unique problem solving and data interpretation that seem to be stressed in the materials science courses. 


Favorite place to eat on campus? 

I would have to go with Pacific Traders in the Marketplace on lower campus. Can’t beat a good stir fry! And I love to load up the sauces.


What is your favorite UW- Eau Claire event?

I really enjoy the tennis on campus. My friend is on the women's tennis team, so it's always fun to attend the events and cheer her on.
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