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Fulbright Winners Take Vol Engineering Around the Globe


By Randall Brown.

Samantha Maness and Logan White, both 2021 MSE graduates, were able to show off the Engineering Vol research spirit to colleagues across Europe through 2022 Fulbright Scholarships.

Samantha Maness in Luxembourg

Maness lived in Esch-sur-Alzette, Luxembourg, while working as a materials scientist with Professor Daniel Schmidt’s polymer research group at the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology.

“My proposed project had two focuses,” she said. “First, to set up a new 3D printing machine that would provide LIST with the ability to study direct-ink write additive manufacturing (DIW AM) alongside their existing fused-deposition modeling (FDM) and stereolithography (SLA) AM capabilities. Secondly, to use this new DIW AM machine for formulation of a 3D-printable aerospace-grade polymer composite based on novel bioderived benzoxazine polymers that LIST’s chemists had recently begun developing.”

Maness credits her time as an undergraduate researcher in Associate Professor Brett Compton’s interdisciplinary materials and mechanical engineering research group with providing the experience she needed to undertake her challenging Fulbright project. Compton’s academic relationship to Schmidt was another key factor in her decision to pursue the Fulbright research grant.

“This connection allowed me to network with other LIST scientists during my senior year of undergraduate and learn about their existing polymer synthesis work,” said Maness.

Her time at LIST was positive and productive. She set up new DIW AM–capable machinery and related tasks, and taught LIST scientists how to operate the equipment.

“I was essentially my own independent project leader, which often required me to think on the fly and solve problems intuitively as the resident DIW AM expert,” she said. “This greatly improved my confidence in working as an independent researcher and relying on my own knowledge and experience.”

Logan White in Prague

White’s Fulbright project aimed to take advantage of, and learn from, the expertise in neutron experimentation at Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic.

“My research experiences at the University of Tennessee and at Los Alamos National Laboratory often involved this experimental technique, but I wanted it to be the focus of my project,” said White. “Because of the effort of my host at Charles University, I was able to participate in classes, gain hands-on laboratory experience, and make significant progress.”

Outside of his project work, White and wife, Jennifer Betz, appreciated the opportunities to take in the sights and culture of the Czech Republic.

“The city of Prague had inspiring architecture that I now often miss seeing every day,” he said. “The surrounding countryside made for wonderful weekend excursions.”

White found the daily immersion in a foreign culture to be refreshing and a valuable first lesson in how different other parts of the world can be.

“Most importantly, my time in the Czech Republic allowed me to form promising professional relationships that have opened many opportunities for current and future collaboration between myself, my affiliations in the United States, and my hosts at Charles University,” he said.

White returned from his Fulbright term and spent summer 2022 as a research assistant at Los Alamos National Laboratory.