Student Scientists Present at AVS International Symposium and Exhibition

Student Scientists Present at AVS International Symposium and Exhibition

Student Scientists Present at AVS International Symposium and Exhibition

To build an interdisciplinary workforce pipeline in science and technology and to diversify its membership, the American Vacuum Society (AVS) encourages undergraduate student scientists to present at the AVS International Symposium and Exhibition and regional AVS chapter meetings.

What is AVS? AVS is an organization that specializes in understanding and applying the science and technology of materials, interfaces and processing. AVS is an international community of scientists, engineers and instrument manufacturers, which strives to promote research and communicate knowledge in the important areas of surface, interface, vacuum, and thin film science and technology for the advancement of humankind.

At this year’s 68th Symposium held in Pittsburgh, PA, from November 6th to 11th, 2022, twenty-five posters and five oral presentations by undergraduate students were accepted. Five of these were authored by students from minority-serving institutions. Undergraduate presenters received special recognition in the program and at their posters. They also had the opportunity to network and explore avenues for career opportunities and graduate schools.

Undergraduate students, including underrepresented minorities and those from minority-serving institutions, are again invited to submit abstracts to AVS-69, which will be held in Portland, OR, from November 5th to 10th, 2023. For those who plan to attend next year, check out the AVS Ambassador program and plan to attend professional development events (careers, diversity, education, welcome and awards receptions, etc) and the exhibit.

To assist newcomers, the AVS offers an Ambassador program, where first-time attendees are paired with researchers that can clearly convey the “why AVS” story. Those who express interest prior to the symposium are connected before the meeting. They start to exchange ideas via email or phone and catch up early in the week of the symposium. First-time attendees are also encouraged to seek out individuals with the AVS Ambassador ribbon on their conference badge and reach out to them.

All student posters were of very high quality and received much attention from the conference attendees. The organizers recognized five undergraduate students with awards for their outstanding posters: Jasmine Dinari (Illinois), Mia-Rose Kayaian (Cal State Fresno), Sean Yuan (Carnegie Mellon), Margaret Brown (Dayton), and Ryan Chapman (Wilkes).

Hannah Umoeka (University of Texas at Arlington, Department of Bioengineering) said that attending the AVS conference in Pittsburgh was an amazing experience for her as an undergraduate student. “I got to hear talks from industry professionals and experts in many different fields. I even got to run in a 5 km race with some of them! It was truly inspiring and I had a lot of fun. The AVS conference is one I would love to return to year after year.”

Hannah also praised the AVS Ambassador program: “Being new to AVS and as an undergraduate student in a place full of professors and industry experts, the AVS Ambassador Program was a gift to me. Through it, I was able to connect with Dr. Caitlin Howell and her students who helped me to navigate the conference, reach out of my comfort zone, and feel at home.”

AVS ScientistsJaden Love, an undergraduate physics major at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, NM, said that she was “…very proud to have had the opportunity to participate in the AVS conference. It gave me information about the kinds of things that are currently at the front of research and the practical ways in which the skills I am learning will benefit my future. I met many wonderful people who have inspired me to dig deeper into the world of science, research, and technology.”

The undergraduate student participation at AVS-68 was coordinated by Erin Iski (University of Tulsa), Ashleigh Baber (James Madison University), Liney Arnadottir (Oregon State University), and Dan Killelea (Loyola University) in collaboration with the AVS Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

Financial support for undergraduate students was provided by the AVS (in the form of poster awards and reduced registration fees), by the New Mexico Consortium in Los Alamos, NM, and by Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, NM.

Top photo: Hannah Umoeka (University of Texas at Arlington, Department of Bioengineering) presents her undergraduate student poster at the poster session on Tuesday evening. 

Photo 2: Undergraduate students Haley Woolf and Jaden Love (New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, Department of Physics) have dinner with members of the newly formed Spectroscopic Ellipsometry Topical Group after their technical session.