MRSEC Travel Award Offers Graduate Student a Chance to Network and Share Research at MRS

Samuel Marks, a University of Wisconsin-Madison Materials Science and Engineering graduate student working in Professor Paul Evans’ lab was supported through the MRSEC Honored Scholar Travel Award to attend the Fall 2021 Materials Research Society (MRS) meeting in Boston. The meeting provided an opportunity to share experimental and computational materials science findings with researchers from around the world.

With in-person activities still ramping up following the pandemic, the total number of on-site participants was relatively low. Marks felt that this actually made it easier to see a wide variety of talks and to connect and network with graduate students, postdocs, and faculty from different institutions.

This was Marks’ first MRS meeting. Marks gave a talk about his experimental findings from research done as a member of the Wisconsin MRSEC. He presented results showing a new method for epitaxial thin-film synthesis of the transparent conducting oxide SrVO3. The audience consisted of researchers from the photovoltaic materials community and they had several questions about the overall thermal budget required in the synthesis, which is relevant for device design in which lower temperatures are more favorable.

“Besides the invigorating experience of giving a talk, I was able to take in many exciting presentations from Nobel laureates, widely-known researchers, and passionate students and postdocs.,” said Marks. “Of particular note was a presentation by Prof. Pupa Gilbert from the Department of Physics at UW-Madison, who gave a talk about biomineralization from the perspective of convergent evolution–fascinating research that resonated with my passion for materials synthesis and characterization and with childhood memories of collecting oddly shaped seashells.”