This has been simply an amazing adventure. I am a mechanical engineer by training, but my Ph.D. will be in chemical engineering. I remember my Dad suggesting me entering chemical engineering when I was deciding my major in college. Like many sons, I decided to go against his suggestion and entered ME. Things have come full circle, and now I am doing exactly what he wanted me to do at the beginning. But I also want to do it to honor his memory, my Dad passed away last September 2010.
I finished my MS in MEMS (micro-electro-mechanical systems) with the IMG (Interdisciplinary Microsystems Group) at the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (f.k.a. AEMeS) at the University of Florida. Just as another recession (2001-2003) was sweeping the country, and many people were struggling finding work, all this made my employment prospects pretty gloomy, so I decided to start a Ph.D. I would have love to stay at IMG, but there was no room for me. I started looking for another advisor at MAE. I talked to three professors and only Dr. Nicolaie D. Cristescu promised to think about it. At that time, I decided to join a group of friends in a trip to Peru, the experience was amazing. I still feel the peace of walking through the Andes mountains, hearing the water dripping from the glaciers and walking the steps the Incas walked centuries ago, I will never forget that visit.
A few days before coming back, I received an email from Dr. Cristescu asking me to come to his office because he might have an opportunity at PERC (Particle Engineering Research Center). After I arrived, the next Monday I went to his office and he walked me to the PERC building and introduced me to Dr. Brian Scarlett and Dr. Kerry Johanson. I remembered going into Dr. Scarlett's office for an interview with both of them, both made lots of questions about my background in optics, especially photoelasticity.
Next week Dr. Cristescu offered me the position and there I went into Particle Technology and Science.