Summer 2021 MSE Newsletter

Greetings from MSE Department Chair Lara Estroff

Lara EstroffGreetings from Professor Lara Estroff, MSE Department Chair

Greetings Alumni, Colleagues, and Friends, Summer is in full swing in Ithaca – the first of the sweet corn is available at farm stands, Cayuga Lake is full of boaters, the streets of Collegetown are under construction, and afternoon thunderstorms rumble through the valleys.  As we emerge from the COVID-19 restrictions and fully reopen campus in anticipation of an in-person, at-density Fall 2021 semester, I am delighted to share with you a few of the highlights and accomplishments of our students, faculty, and alumni over the past semester.  In May, we celebrated our graduates in the class of 2021.  Please join me in welcoming them as our newest alumni!  Our faculty and students were recognized with multiple awards and the NSF-funded materials innovation platform, PARADIM, was renewed for another five years, ensuring continued leadership in the design and synthesis of new inorganic materials for electronic applications.  In this issue of the newsletter, we also share recent examples of our continued research excellence, some spotlights of our wonderful students, and the story of one alumnus’ contribution to the fight against COVID.  As our community continues to strive to provide a supportive, open, and inclusive environment, I am proud to introduce our new initiative, MSE JEDI (Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion).  The MSE JEDI is jointly led by our students and our newly appointed JEDI faculty liaison, Prof. Julia Dshemuchadse.  A group of committed students, faculty, and staff have been meeting regularly since January and have developed an ambitious agenda to be implemented in the coming months and years. 

We are excited to announce several new hires including Prof. Judy Cha, who will be joining us from Yale University in July 2022, Prof. Mostafa Hassani, who started as an Assistant Professor in July, 2021 and is jointly appointed in MAE and MSE, and Prof. Hari Nair, who started as an Assistant Research Professor in January 2021.  These new faculty bring research expertise to the department in areas ranging from topological and 2D nanomaterials to solid-state additive manufacturing of structural materials to novel oxide materials for optoelectronic devices.  In department leadership, we welcome Prof. Eve Donnelly as our new Director of Graduate Studies and thank Prof. Jin Suntivich for his service as DGS during the last two years, which were some of the most challenging any of us will face in our academic careers!

Finally, I would like to draw your attention to an event we are planning to celebrate and remember the life and work of  Prof. Steve Sass next spring.  We are looking to connect with alumni of Prof. Sass’ laboratory and others who would like to join us in this event.  We are so proud of all of our alumni, and without you, we would not be recognized as one of the top materials science and engineering programs in the world, or advance beyond where we are.  Please stay connected with us, opportunities to support the growth of MSE are listed on our website.  I look forward to hearing from you!

Warm regards,

Lara Estroff, Department Chair