MatSE Marvels

Our alumni and students marvel the world with their innovative materials, real-world solutions to global problems and the impact they make in their communities. These are their stories.

Salil Paranjape, '23

Doctoral student at Cornell University, where he'll continue his materials science and engineering journey.

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Ahyoung Kim, '22

Post-doctoral scholar at the University of California—Berkeley. Recently selected as a Schmidt Science fellow — one of the most prestigious scientific postdoc awards in the world. 

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Lehan Yao

Current MatSE doctoral student who is making nanomaterial improvements — from electronic devices, medicines to environmental protection.

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Fujia Zhao

Current MatSE doctoral student who transitioned from the master’s program in 2018. He focuses on the in-situ characterization of solid/liquid interface

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Janna (Eaves) Rathert, '15

Staff scientist at Form Energy, Inc., which aims to develop a new class of cost-efficient, multi-day energy storage systems that’s pioneering cost-efficient storage systems that will enable reliable and fully-renewable electric grids.

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Vineet Tagare, '21

Process integration engineer at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, a semiconductor manufacturer headquartered in Hsinchu, Taiwan.

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Lauren (Smith) Fey, an '18 MatSE alumnus and now computational researcher and doctoral student at the University of California, Santa Barbara, is all smiles in her graduation regalia outside the Materials Science and Engineering Building on Green Street in Urbana, Ill.

Lauren (Smith) Fey, '18

Computational researcher and doctoral student at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she aims to understand how a new type of metal alloy, called multi-principal element alloys, deform. This has the potential to provide fuel efficiency of jet engines.

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Sanak Mishra, '70, '73

Former vice president and CEO of India Projects of ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steelmaker. He become the first secretary general of the Indian Steel Association, where he helped establish India’s National Steel Policy and set up the Steel Research and Technology Mission of India.

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Maddie Weller, '22

President of Material Advantage, MatSE at Illinois' student society that organizes service, professional and social events for members. Weller went from feeling like a 'girl stuck in her shell' to president of an RSO that offers freshman mentorship, member connections, social mixers and much more.

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Marie Mayer, '07

Director of QuantumScape, a solid-state lithium-metal battery company in San Jose, Calif. that aims to develop batteries that charge faster, go further and last longer. She has served QuantumScape in various roles for more than 10 years. Investors for the company include Bill Gates and Volkswagen. 

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Yan Yu

Gerald Wilson, '07

President and CEO of Autonomic Materials, Inc., where he leverages his MatSE at Illinois knowledge creating self-healing functionality to design protective coating systems.

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Edgar Mejia, '18, '26

A MatSE at Illinois grad student whose research focuses on studying potential avenues to recycle hard plastics, which was once was thought impossible.

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Yan Yu, '09

An associate professor at Indiana University, building upon tools learned as a MatSE at Illinois grad student by developing nanotechnology-enabled methodologies for immune cells.

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