Mark Palmquist, a graduate student in the Department of Chemistry, won a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowship to support his work on microparticle technology. The fellowship, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), encourages advanced training in science and engineering disciplines of military importance. Each year, 200 NDSEG fellowships are awarded in an array of STEM disciplines. Last year, only about a dozen awards were given in chemistry and chemical engineering.
Working with advisor Jonathan Barnes, Palmquist’s research focuses on the use of microparticle technology as a platform for light-activated manipulation of macromolecular networks.
“Being able to spatiotemporally tune the mechanical properties of bulk materials is particularly important to potential military applications. Research in this area opens the door to specific, localized, and permanent property changes on command, a trait not readily seen in networked gel materials,” Palmquist said. “Our research could enable modification of existing material shape, strength, or ductility as needed to fulfill mission requirements. This is especially relevant to DoD personnel in forward-deployed or aerospace environments where supplies and access to new materials may be limited or altogether impossible.”
The NDSEG Fellowship lasts for three years and covers full tuition and fees in addition to providing a generous monthly stipend and $5000 travel allowance.