Spring 2021 Letter from the Chair

Michele Manuel, Ph.D.
Michele Manuel, Ph.D.

Dear alumni, colleagues and friends,

I hope that this letter finds you and your loved ones well.

As vaccination numbers steadily increase and COVID-19 infection rates continue to decline, we’re finally beginning to see the signs of recovery we’ve looked for over the past 12 months.

Amidst constant, significant changes and uncertain times, more than ever, we are proud of our accomplishments, broad capacities and intentionality on creating a better future. With that in mind, I am pleased to present some of our inspiring stories from over the past year in this edition of 1959, our biannual digital newsletter.

Over the past year, three of our faculty members were recognized for their contributions to science and our society. Distinguished Professor Brij Moudgil, Ph.D., was selected as a 2020 recipient of the KONA Award, presented to a researcher for lifetime achievement in the powder and particle science and technology field. Rhines Rising Star Assistant Professor Erika Moore, Ph.D., was named to the 2021 Forbes 30 Under 30 list in the Healthcare category. Her current research focuses on why certain diseases affect women and minorities at disproportionate rates. Matt Zaluzec, Ph.D., was elected to the prestigious National Academy of Engineering. Dr. Zaluzec is a materials scientist with nearly three decades of expertise in the automotive industry and currently teaches Material Selection and Failure Analysis at UF. Congratulations to each of them on their outstanding achievements.

These are exciting times in and around the department with the growth of innovative research and new initiatives. I encourage you to take some time today to read about Assistant Professor Tori Miller, Ph.D., who recently received the National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program Award. You can also get to know MSE alumni Bryan Wilson as he shares his experiences leading up to launching a mobile testing startup during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On a more somber note, Edward T. Dugan, Ph.D., a University of Florida alumnus and Department of Materials Science & Engineering nuclear engineering professor emeritus, passed away in January at 74 years of age. In 2019, the Edward T. Dugan American Nuclear Society Professional Excellence Award was established by nuclear engineering students at UF to honor Dr. Dugan’s unwavering commitment to students and their development both professionally and personally. He is dearly missed.

Throughout the spring of 2021, just as all through of 2020, the Gator Nation has once again shown its resourcefulness and resilience. I have no doubt we will continue to do so in the future. Thank you all for your continued generosity and support for the department’s students, faculty and staff.