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Amanda Pentecost Amanda Pentecost

Amanda is an undergraduate student in the Drexel University Department of Materials Science & Engineering, doing research in Dr. Yury Gogotsi's NanoMaterials Group

What are you doing in the lab?

I am working on the dispersion of nanodiamond powders in aqueous solution. Currently, nanodiamond powders form aggregates which are micron-sized. My goal is to separate the individual nanodiamond particles, which are each 5 nm. After completing this task, I hope to incorporate this nanoscale nanodiamond into other materials to improve mechanical and thermal properties, as well as aid in drug delivery methods.

Why did you decide to perform research in the lab as an undergraduate?

Ever since I was young, I always knew that I wanted to be a researcher. There was always something elusive about the freedom to discover new things which could be used to benefit the world. From the time I started my freshman year, I began to get involved and take part in research within the exciting new field of nanotechnology.

What is the best part about working in the lab?

Besides gaining tons of hands-on experience which gives you an edge when applying to jobs, I believe that the best part about working in the lab is the cultural diversity. Having gone to Catholic schools in South Jersey all my life, I was never exposed to much cultural diversity among my peers. When I started working in the Nanomaterials lab, I was surprised to note that nearly all of my peers were from different countries – even different continents! Through listening to their stories of their lives back home, I have learned much about different cultures and traditions all over the world. Because of this, I have become inspired to seize any opportunity I possibly can so I can travel and see the world!

Why are you majoring in MSE?

When I was deciding what major to apply for during the college application process, I was a bit confused. I knew I liked chemistry, physics, and math, but I didn’t know which major would particularly suit me best. One day, I attended an open house at Drexel and was introduced to the exciting world of Materials. It seemed to me that, with a background in MSE, you can do anything. You can help build bridges, design cars, create solar cells –you name it! The possibilities of what you can do with an MSE degree are endless!

What advice do you have for prospective students?

Don’t be afraid to get involved early! All through high school, I was always shy and kept to myself. However, in college, I learned that you must be forward and outgoing in order to get ahead. If you are interested in a professor’s work, stop by their office or email them to tell them so. If you need help with homework, stop by the Materials lounge and anyone is more than glad to assist you: undergrads, grad students, post-docs, and professors alike. The more people you meet, the more connections you can build, which truly come in handy whether you are looking to apply for a co-op job or wondering where you should go out for dinner in the city!

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Last updated Monday, May 17, 2010