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CBL Scholar Spotlight

Meet current and former members of the program:

Hannah Maret '16, Materials Science

"My experience as a Clare Boothe Luce Scholar has been incredibly rewarding. As a member of the Strandwitz research group, my work has been focused on thin films generated using atomic layer deposition (ALD) and more specifically, on the crystallization of ALD alumina to produce the sapphire phase. Sapphire thin films are used for applications as scratch-resistant and optical coatings as well as for microelectronics, but fabrication of sapphire substrates from the molten state requires temperatures above 2000°C. My focus has been on creating large-grained polycrystalline sapphire films at low temperatures via seeded lateral solid phase epitaxy.

"In order to understand this crystallization behavior, I have had the opportunity to use impressive technology. From using an ALD machine that deposits alumina at a rate of .1nm/cycle to observing nanoparticles in the scanning electron microscope (SEM), I have learned that there is extensive information that can be gathered from tiny samples if you have the right tools and resources. I am also currently getting trained on the transmission electron microscope (TEM) to perform analysis on an even smaller scale. Aside from the technology, one aspect of research that I have come to appreciate is its collaborative nature. As part of a group, I not only get to learn about my own project, but also about those of my other team members.

"Through my research experience, I had the opportunity to attend the Materials Research Society Fall 2014 conference in Boston to present a poster. In two days I was surrounded by more information than I knew what to do with. It was the kind of intellectual exhaustion that I can only compare to study abroad immersion, especially with respect to language and terms, except there was a whole additional dimension for image interpretation (plots and micrographs and diagrams galore). Despite the fact that I only truly understood a fraction of the talks I listened to, one observation that definitely stuck was the general appreciation and respect for good science. After every oral presentation there were plenty of questions, and each question was framed by “Thank you for a very nice talk.” “Beautiful” is a word you expect to hear at art exhibits or concerts, but I have to admit, I wasn’t expecting to hear it so many times at the conference. Whether it was a “beautiful molecule” or “beautiful data,” there was a definite appreciation for aesthetics.

"It’s this enthusiasm for knowledge that has inspired me to want to apply to graduate school to continue my learning and research experience."

Lauren Boller '15, Bioengineering

"As a Clare Boothe Luce scholar, I have been studying the protein signaling cascades involved in epileptogenesis after traumatic brain injury. I have been working under the guidance of professor Yevgeny Berdichevsky.

"Participating in research has undoubtedly been the best experience of my undergraduate career; it has taught me patience, diligence, hard work, and how to be an effective critical thinker. The hands-on experience I have gained has been so valuable in reaffirming my desires to attend graduate school.

"After obtaining my B.S. in bioengineering, I hope to continue onwards to obtain my PhD in bioengineering. I am extremely grateful towards both Lehigh and the Luce Foundation for giving me the tools and resources to succeed in undergraduate research."