PhD Student Receives Fulbright U.S. Student Award to Austria

Alison Trachet, a Ph.D. candidate in the Materials Science and Engineering department and working under the supervision of Prof. Ghatu Subhash of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, has been awarded the prestigious Fulbright Student Award to Austria.  The award letter reads “I am delighted to inform you that you have been selected for a 2015-16 Fulbright U.S. Student Award to Austria. The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program of the United States.  You will represent the country as a cultural ambassador while you are overseas, helping to enhance mutual understanding between Americans and the people in Austria.”

Alison is a senior graduate student in Prof. Subhash’s research group and has a unique skill set that merges solid mechanics, material science and civil engineering. She leads a major Army grant and has been conducting cutting edge research on advanced ceramics. She will be applying her expertise and research skills on a unique project titled “Unraveling Provenance and Production Techniques of Roman Ceramics from Central Austria” and will work with the Research Group for Archaeometry and Cultural Heritage Computing at the University of Salzburg. Intimate details of everyday life in the Roman era are preserved through pottery and other earthen wares, and the focus of her research is to ‘reverse engineer’ fineware (special-occasion) and coarseware (utilitarian) clay pottery, bricks, and excavated from Iuvavum, the Roman parent of present-day Salzburg. She will apply her skills and modern characterization techniques such as microscopy, spectroscopy and diffraction methods to identify the technologies of that period, evaluate the importation of raw materials and finished ceramics, and share new ancestral information with residents in contemporary Salzburg. The Salzburg Museum will provide access to the Roman ceramic samples, and Alison is excited to help unlock the history stored within these physical relics.