Dear Students and Colleagues:

Have you ever asked yourself what got you involved in Materials Science and Engineering? For many of us, the answer is the same—a mentor, advisor, or friend who shared their excitement of the discipline with us. Professor Larry Hench is responsible for my choosing MSE as a career. I was an average student with a burning desire to do something to change the world in a positive way. Larry helped me to believe that I could achieve that dream. He did the same for countless others. What makes MSE unique and indispensable is the diversity of people and ideas that it represents. Our ranks include physicists, chemists, mathematicians, computational scientists, theoreticians, doctors, lawyers, astronauts, and of course engineers. What we have in common is our enthusiasm and love for research and discovery. The expression on Priya Venkatraman’s face on the cover of this volume captures this enthusiasm perfectly.

Each year I conduct face to face exit interviews with our seniors. In addition to the typical questions regarding employment and graduate school, I also ask them what they enjoyed most about MSE. Always at the top of the list is their laboratory and research experiences. The quality of research resulting from these experiences, especially the senior design capstone courses, is excellent and could provide a valuable resource to the larger materials community. This brings me to the reason that the JUMR was started and why it plays an important role in our future. The JUMR was designed to foster enthusiasm in the youth of our discipline by providing them with a venue to publish their research. Like other journals, publication is not guaranteed. Every paper is carefully critiqued and returned to the student author for any necessary modifications. The editorial board, comprised of graduate students and a faculty advisor, makes the final determination regarding publication.

Although the JUMR began as a local publication for Virginia Tech undergraduates, it has quickly evolved to include research articles from undergraduates at other universities. The range of topics covered in this volume illustrates the diversity of our discipline. I believe that you will be impressed with the quality of the research and communication skills that our undergraduates are receiving. The faculty are to be commended for their mentorship of these students. There is no doubt that many of these students will be inspired to continue their efforts thereby insuring the future of our fantastic discipline.

I would like to close with a special tribute to my mentor and advisor, Larry Hench. He was best known for his research in biomaterials, especially for his discovery of Bioglass. I first met Larry when I was a sophomore and he was an assistant professor. I was very close to dropping out but Larry convinced me that engineering and science through research was the pathway to a better future. Two days after meeting Larry for the first time I was working side by side with him in the laboratory helping to develop a new fiber glass insulation. The excitement of being part of a team developing something useful for society was contagious. That excitement has never faded. Sadly, he passed away in December 2015, leaving a legacy that will live for decades and continue to transform the lives of many individuals.

David Clark signature

David E. Clark
Professor and Head
Materials Science and Engineering
Virginia Tech

Edited by TL


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