What do you do?
I design and make nanoparticles called quantum dots that interact with light in specific ways. Our goal is to create materials that absorb low energy light and emit higher energy light, which is a process called photon upconversion. These materials can be used in many applications such as improving solar cell efficiency and in photo release drug delivery. My work in the lab mostly consists of making nanostructures via wet chemical synthesis. We then characterize them using electron microscopy (we shoot electrons at them to get images) and optical measurements (we shine lasers at them and they glow).
Why did you choose this field?
I loved chemistry in high school because it seemed like discovering a whole other world within our world. Working in chemistry labs throughout undergrad at SUNY Geneseo and in summer research programs helped cement my interest in research. I decided to pursue a graduate degree in materials science and engineering because it is a very interdisciplinary and applications-based field.
What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?
I wish younger me would have known that scientists can also be artists, musicians, athletes, activists, or really anything. Despite the typical left-brained nerd stereotype, I think that scientists are typically very creative and multifaceted.
Why do you love working in STEM?
I like that working in STEM means building upon existing knowledge to solve new problems. I love connecting ideas across disciplines and constantly learning.
Best advice for next generation?
Don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself and don’t sell yourself short. It’s easy to discount your accomplishments and credentials (thanks, imposter syndrome!), especially when life in the lab can be incredibly frustrating. It’s important to have a network of friends and mentors to help validate and support you.
Inspo quote / fun fact / role model
My favorite stress-relievers are playing trumpet, figure skating, and knitting.