I attended all 13 years of my public education in the Meridian school system at Linder Elementary, Meridian Middle School, and Meridian High School.
Academically, I was gifted in mathematics. I took various science electives along the way including biology, chemistry, and physics. In high school, I found a passion for technical work, excelling in a CNC machining course, which lead to student competitions, teaching assistant work, and exciting projects using CNC mills, lathes, and laser etchers. My affinity for technical work extended to the garage, where fixing and improving vehicles was a common passtime.
Finding a passion for film-based photography, I spent free time in the dark room, processing film and prints. I also spent time as a teaching assistant for a photography course, applying my technical abilites to the clean room processing chemicals and hardware.
I finished my high school courses a semester ahead of my classmates and walked with them in spring of 2005.
Bachelor of Arts
During my first undergraduate experience, I sharpened my skills in communication, leadership, public speaking, graphic design, and video production. Media production, both still and video, allowed me to blend my technical and artistic talents. My work in media production manifested in graphic design of t-shirts during employment at McU Sports and volunteering for video coverage of the winter Special Olympics in Boise, Idaho.
I honed by skills in public speaking through public speaking courses and participation in the Talking Broncos debate team. I further honed my critial thinking skills by study of media and its effects on society, as well as courses in logic and philosophy.
I graduated in December of 2009, at the depth of the Great Recession.
Bachelor of Science
My interest in materials science and engineering had its nexus in a friendship I established with two students of the materials science program at Boise State University through serendipitous circumstances. I started the program in the fall of 2011.
Although lacking mathematical practice for 6+ years, I found success early in the program. My honed college student skills and maturity allowed me to engage with the physics, chemistry, and calculus avalanche in a fullfilling way, creating a strong foundation for the upper division courses, where I was able to apply the knowledge to materials science problems.
Involvement in the Functional Ceramics Research Group, under the leadership of Dr. Rick Ubic, was my first exposure to research. Through this, I learned about solid state processing and materials characterization methods. I used my public speaking skills to present the findings of the work at multiple conferences through poster presentations.
During my undergraduate years, I spent two summers in the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship program at the National Institute of Standards and Technology and received an internship at Micron Technology during my senior year.
I spent two terms as a Presidents Council of Student Advisors Selected Delegate for the American Ceramic Society, during which I attended business meetings and developed outreach materials for the organization with a team of other students from around the nation. For this, I was awarded the Ambassador award upon graduation from the program.
The capstone project of my senior year focused on surface morphology and surface particle reduction of thermal plasma-sprayed ceramic coatings for reaction vessels manufactured by NxEdge.
I graduate with highest honors in the spring of 2015.
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
In the fall of 2015, I began my graduate studies in the Materials Science program at Colorado School of Mines. The doctoral program challenged my level of understanding though a select set of intensive courses, culminating in the qualification exam, which I passed in the spring of 2016.
Beyond the classroom, duties as a teaching assistant required the development and execution of undergraduate labs, facilitating homework help sessions, grading, and various other department responsibilities. I excelled in these roles and was recognized in 2017 as an Outstanding MME Teaching Assistant by the Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering.
My graduate research was conducted at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory as part of the high-throughput materials discovery team. Here, I worked on a team funded by the National Science Foundation's Designing Materials to Revolutionize and Engineer our Future (DMREF) program to investigate new potential piezoelectric nitride materials. This work also took me to synchrotron radiation sources for beamline experiments.
I presented the results of my research at multiple conferences, both domestic and international. I drafted and managed teams of authors to produce published manuscripts of the work, while contributing to other publications as well.
In the effort to push high-throughput materials discovery methods forward, I spent a significant amount of time developing hardware capabilities of vacuum deposition systems and thin film characterization instruments. I also led a team of scientists in the creation of a experimental data management package known as COMBIgor for Igor Pro.
I graduated in 2019 and my dissertation was awarded the 2020 Morgan Medal and Global Distinguished Doctoral Dissertation Award by the American Ceramic Society.