Hello, and welcome to SWENext! My name is Allison, and I will be SWENext K-8 Newsletter Reporter for the third year in a row. I am so grateful to the women in STEM who taught me how exciting Engineering can be. I hope that I can do the same, and inspire you, as well!
I would like to take a moment to share a bit about myself. I grew up in lots of places, including Washington State. I am studying for my PhD in Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Texas at Arlington. There, my research is in electronic materials. I plan to graduate in December 2021. I earned my Master’s Degree from the University of North Texas in 2018, where my research was in plastic materials. I earned my Bachelor’s Degree from Washington State University in 2016.
My current research is in electronic materials. The kinds of materials that I work with are used in things like computers, cell phones, cars, and airplanes. I look at what is called packaging, which protects microchips while helping current flow through them. I break these little parts called solder joints, which hold microchips onto the green plastic boards that are in computers.
For now, my research is done using a computer. I make models using a computer-aided-design program, or CAD for short. Then I run simulations to study what happens in solder joints when they have current flow through them and when they get hot.
In summer 2020, I got to intern at Texas Instruments. I was so lucky to have that experience. I will be working at Texas Instruments after I graduate in December. There, I will get to work with Electrical Engineers, Computer Engineers, Mechanical Engineers, Materials Science Engineers, and Chemical Engineers. It is pretty cool that so many different types of engineers work on the little parts that make your computer work!
The reason why so much work goes into such little parts is because we want to make sure that they last a long time. We also want to make sure that they do not break easily. Sometimes, if you drop your phone, it will be broken. Engineering helps us solve that problem. Materials Science Engineers are kind of like the detectives of engineers. They will study how something broke and how to design the material or process so that the same type of part in your phone may not break as easily.
The professor that I work with does really fun research with an organization called the Semiconductor Research Corporation, which we call SRC. SRC brings companies like Texas Instruments, Samsung, Intel, and NXP together with universities. They provide research students like me with projects to work on. We get to go to conferences and present our research and get to meet important people in industry.
Because my research is mostly with SRC and Texas Instruments, I have been really lucky to meet some awesome engineers. I also was awarded with a fellowship paid for by Texas Instruments. This helps me pay for everything I need while I study for my PhD. Companies like Texas Instruments want to see you succeed and try really hard to help you along the way. Materials Science and Engineering can be hard, but it is also fun.
I think that if you are interested in this field or any other type of engineering, you will definitely do well if you work hard. I promise that I will show you that this year as I introduce you to engineering students and show you all of the fun opportunities for different kinds of engineering. The possibilities are endless for engineers!