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Introducing the MEM·C AYRA Program Particpants


UW MEM·C is excited about its first cohort of undergraduates in our new Academic Year Research Accelerator Program (AYRA). The AYRA program was created to give local undergraduate students the opportunity to continue to develop the research skills they gained in a previous research experience. Participants  spend 10-20 hr/week on research for two or three academic quarters and participate in science journal clubs to help them advance along the STEM pathway. Each student receives a $2100 stipend each quarter.

With the additional students welcomed this winter quarter, our now 10-person cohort is researching the following topics:

  • Annabella Li
    • Prof. Cole DeForest’s lab
    • Researching: Biomaterials, protein engineering, photo-activated chemistry
    • In Annabella’s words: My research helps develop novel light-triggered platforms to control the activity of proteins spatially and temporally. These methods could be applied to increase the precision of protein-based therapeutics and confer finer control over the behavior of cells in hydrogels used in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.
  • Gerardo Salgado Pagoaga
    • Prof. Xiaosong Li’s lab
    • Researching: 3D visualization of quantum reactions
    • As Gerardo summarizes: I created a method to visualize molecular orbitals through data from standard and relativistic Hartree-Fock and Density Functional Theory calculations. This can be used to represent molecular interactions in a 3D visual format.
  • Emily Toph
    • Prof. Dave Cobden’s lab
    • Researching: two-dimensional materials, low temperature instrumentation
    • As Emily says: We developed a novel two-axis sample rotation scheme which uses piezoelectric stepper motors held near room temperature to achieve independent, two-axis rotation of a sample held at 3He dilution refrigerator temperatures at the field center of a solenoid. The ability to measure the angle of the magnetic field reliably and efficiently at low temperatures for two-dimensional (2D) materials is needed to study the graphene quantum Hall effect, 2D superconductor critical fields, helical quantum wires at the edges of 2D topological insulators, fermiology of small Fermi surfaces, and other effects.
  • Alex Sanchez:
    • Prof. Matthew Yankowitz’s lab
    • Researching: Twisted trilayer graphene, high pressure
    • As Alex puts it: In my research in the Yankowitz lab, we are working on taking measurements on twisted trilayer graphene van der Waals heterostructures under high hydrostatic pressure. This hasn’t been done before for twisted trilayer graphene, so doing so could lead to exciting new physics.
  • Dylan Soh:
    • Prof. Scott Dunham’s lab
    • Researching: Neural Networks for Semiconductor Impurities
    • Dylan’s take on things: So far, I’ve researched existing computational software that utilizes high-dimensional features to analyze the supercells within semiconductors. In my research, I seek to improve upon an existing neural network that predicts the transitional levels and fermi energies once a defect atom is introduced by introducing new methods and algorithms to the current code. This will help improve the efficiency of fabricating and designing new semiconductors in electronics without going into so much mathematical rigor.
  • Kevin Hoang:
    • Prof. Xiaosong Li’s lab
    • Researcher: Spectroscopy, Data Science, Computational Chemistry
    • As Kevin explains: I have developed Fasma, an automatic data parsing and visualization open-source Python package that plots molecular absorption spectra and supports multiple different computational chemistry software and calculation methods. Fasma requires minimal human input to ensure accessibility to all chemists regardless of their coding knowledge and follows industry coding standards to ensure code maintainability and modularity.
  • Julie Schwartz
    • Prof. Daniel Gamelin’s lab
    • Researching: air-free synthesis of optically active nano-materials
    • Julie’s synopsis: I have succeeded in making a nanocrystalline lattice, and have attempted to dope it with an optically active 4+ transition metal with hopes to use it in LED or laser technologies
  • Meghna Shankar
    • Prof. Xiaodong Xu’s lab
    • Researching: Ferroelectricity in 2D transition metal dichalcogenides
  • Harvey Yang
    • Prof. Xiaodong Xu’s lab
    • Researching: Dimensional Devices for Emerging Computing

(Our 10th AYRA student is researching: Silver nanoparticle synthesis, Machine Learning)