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Gallaudet students complete nanotechnology internships at Howard, Harvard universities

November 7, 2016
By Nathan Ramsier

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Gallaudet students studying within the Department of Chemistry and Physics continue to earn powerful, summer internship experiences as partnerships continue to develop at prestigious institutions.

Christopher Mbochwa, Brandt Marceaux, and Mandy Houghton, ’15, join the list of Gallaudet students who have completed summer internships in nanotechnology.

Over the summer, the students participated in a 10-week internship program. Mbochwa completed his at both Howard University and Gallaudet University, while Marceaux and Houghton performed their nanotechnology research at Harvard University through the Center for Integrated Quantum Materials (CIQM) program.

A nanometer is one billion times smaller than a meter, and the study of these materials holds almost unlimited potential for applications, ranging from new cancer treatment drugs to the design of smarter and smaller electronic devices. Even construction materials and paint production have benefited from nanotechnology and researchers who synthesize, fabricate, and manipulate these “super small” materials.

Mbochwa, Marceaux, and Houghton add to the number of Gallaudet students participating in summer internships focusing on nanotechnology to 14. These opportunities have created collaboration not only at Gallaudet University, Howard University, and Harvard University, but also the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Prince George’s Community College, and the Boston Museum of Science; as a result, relationships among faculty, staff, and students of all these institutions have been strengthened.

“These kind of internships are very helpful to Gallaudet students as it enables them to get access to research facilities and advanced scientific research instruments at larger research institutions,” said Dr. Paul Sabila, professor with the Department of Science, Technology, and Mathematics (DSTM), Chemistry and Physics Program.

Mbochwa’s research focused on the synthesis and analysis of nanomaterials using molybdenum and bismuth telluride; materials with potential applications in the electronic industry and in thermoelectric generators.

After the experience, Mbochwa feels more confident about life after graduation. “The internship helped me prepare for my future career,” he said. “I also learned professional communication, networking, and presentation skills.”

Marceaux worked on the study of emission wavelengths given by the lanthanide materials, europium and terbium. He and Houghton both reaped the benefits of the internship.

“It helped me to narrow my field in chemistry on what I want for the future,” said Marceaux. “I would like to study environmental/analytical chemistry for my future job.”

Houghton embraces how these opportunities will contribute to future deaf scientists. “This experience has given me the inspiration and idea of how I can do more outreach within my community and how I can help bridge the gap between the deaf community and the scientific world,” said Houghton.

Sabila said that several nanotechnology internships will be available for the summer of 2017. To learn more about summer internship opportunities, visit http://www.gallaudet.edu/stm/summer-internship-opportunities.html, or email Dr. Paul Sabila or Dr. H. David Snyder.

Note: This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under NSF DMR 1205608 and NSF DMR 1231319.  Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

7 November 2016
By Nathan Ramsier

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Nathan Ramsier

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