Students

The Student Council (StC)

Students,

Welcome to the Microscopy Society of America (MSA) Student Council (StC) website! We are excited to provide a platform for students, postdocs, and early-career professionals to network, share experiences, discuss research, and simply get involved with the most dynamic group of young professionals that microscopy and microanalysis has to offer. Undergraduate and graduate students, now is the time to take advantage of opportunities to meet people from your discipline and others to develop collaborations and begin to build your professional network. MSA StC is a great place to get started. Our Pre-meeting Congress (PMCx60) has proven to be a perennial success bringing together medal winners, student scholars and sponsoring exhibitors. The PMCx60 provides the opportunity for young microscopists to communicate their research through a weekend of presentations and posters. Additionally, social activities create an unparalleled opportunity to network with MSA council members and industry representatives. The PMCx60 is the premier event for students, postdocs, and early-career professionals – unlike any other, unmatched by any other society! We provide opportunities for leadership through the growing StC and PMCx60 planning committee. This year we are introducing mid-year programming to enhance professional skills.

As a growing community, and an international one, we hope to take advantage of electronic communications and social media platforms to connect students and young scientists world-wide. Postdocs and early-career professionals, we value your experience and insight and hope to foster mentorship opportunities for our emerging students in the field. Involvement in MSA StC builds more than just your professional network, it fosters friendships and bolsters your professional skills. Consider membership in MSA and get involved in StC – We need you to help our community grow! Email StC for more information on leadership opportunities and follow us on social media for updates on events.

Best Regards,

The Student Council
Email: Email

Get to know the Student Council officers. Each year new students are elected to these positions to develop new programs and events for students at the yearly M&M meetings. Click on the office title to learn more about the responsibilities involved in holding leadership within the Student Council.

Aubrey Penn

President
Aubrey Penn
North Carolina State University

 

Abinash Kumar

Past-President
Abinash Kumar
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Louisa Mezache

President-Elect
Louisa Mezache
Ohio State University

 

Jackson Spurling

Secretary
Jackson Spurling
University of Tennessee - Knoxville

 

Piyush Haluai

Treasurer
Piyush Haluai
Arizona State University

 

Helen Donelick

PMCx60 Program Chair
Helen Donelick
University of Utah

 

Joseph Kim

PMCx60 Biological Sciences Co-Chair
Joseph Kim
University of Wisconsin-Madison

 

Stephanie Ribet

Neerja Zambare

Post-Doc Liaison
Neerja Zambare
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, WA

 

Huiming Guo

Communications Chair
Huiming Guo
University of California, Irvine

 

Laura Wilson

Regional Liaison Chair
Laura Wilson
Case Western Reserve University

 

Dara Laczniak

Region III Liaison
Dara Laczniak
Purdue University

 

Surya Kamal

Region V Liaison
Surya Kamal
Rochester Institute of Technology

 

Yifan Wang

Region VI Liaison
Yifan Wang
Arizona State University

 

Milena Hugenschmidt

Region X Liaison
Milena Hugenschmidt
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany

 

President

Aubrey Penn

Aubrey Penn
North Carolina State University

I am a Research Specialist at MIT.nano and recent graduate from Materials Science and Engineering at North Carolina State University, where I worked under the advisement of Profs. James LeBeau and Divine Kumah. My research was focused on explaining interfacial phenomena in complex oxide thin films using scanning transmission electron microscopy imaging and spectroscopy. Before going to NCSU, I received my master’s degree in chemistry from Western Kentucky University, where I first became acquainted with electron microscopy. Since then I have grown in knowledge of the technique and love of the microscopy field, in part, through my association with MSA and MSA Student Council. I have been a member for four years and have served on the MSA Student Council as Secretary, President-elect and now President. In the coming year, I will actively pursue diversity and inclusivity to strengthen MSA, increase outreach efforts worldwide through Regional Liaison involvement, and promote microscopy education with events and content focused on practical microscopy. Additionally, I will work to maintain the welcoming community I have come to know and appreciate.

Past President

Abinash Kumar

Abinash Kumar
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

I am a third year PhD student at Massachusetts Institute of Technology working with Prof. James LeBeau. Currently, I am working on finding the atomic scale origin for relaxor behavior in materials along with implementing machine learning algorithms in electron microscopy. I have been involved with the area of electron microscopy since my undergraduate at Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India. My previous experiences involved working with teams in organizing events during my college’s cultural and technical festival and mentoring undergraduates. These experiences helped me to develop good communication and decision making skills. As MSA StC provides a great platform for networking, I would like to expand this association by reaching out to many schools and the general public through several events. It would be good to see MSA StC lead in developing a large association for students across the globe with the help of several microscopy societies.

President-elect

Louisa Mezache

Louisa Mezache
Ohio State University

I am a PhD student at The Ohio State University in Dr. Sai Veeraraghavan’s lab, where I study the functional effects of structural remodeling of the cardiac intercalated disc. I was introduced to microscopy while working for a small start-up, but have gained a greater appreciation for it while working with Dr. Veeraraghavan. Prior to returning to school, I worked as a clinical research coordinator in neuromuscular diseases. There I helped patients with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) access a novel millions-of-dollars drug treatment. I attended my first M&M in 2019 and joined the MSA Student Council as the Biological Sciences Co-chair, and I’m excited to continue to help broaden participation from untapped groups in MSA, both social and scientific, and bring microscopy to the masses.

Secretary

Jackson Spurling

Jackson Spurling
Pennsylvania State University

The opportunities to serve as Region VIII Liaison during 2017-18, as Secretary during 2018-19, and as Treasurer during 2019-21 have allowed me to become involved with the MSA StC leadership, particularly in the area of member outreach. In these positions, I have assisted the MSA Student Council chiefly through its goal to provide networking platforms to student members. This has been accomplished through having dialogue with regional members as well as through activities like webinars and social media outreach. I will continue to contribute to the Student Council by supporting these and other methods of outreach to student members by serving again as Secretary. I have been honored to serve with StC these last four years, and I hope to be given the opportunity to continue to make MSA a welcoming organization for new and current members by supporting current and future outreach initiatives.

Treasurer

Piyush Haluai

Piyush Haluai
Arizona State University

I am a 4th year PhD student at Arizona State University working with Dr. Peter Crozier. My current research is focused on in situ electron microscopy of visible light harvesting photocatalytic materials. I attended my first M&M in 2019, Portland. It was an amazing experience for me to be a part of this conference and interact with the other members. Since my first M&M meeting in 2019, I have been honored to be a part of MSA StC, serving as the Regional Liaison Chair (RLC) in 2019-2020 and as the Program Chair for PMCx60 in 2020-2021. I have enjoyed my time serving at these positions and am excited to continue my services as a Treasurer.

PMCx60 Program Chair

Helen Donelick

Helen Donelick
University of Utah

I am a 5th year PhD candidate studying biochemistry at the University of Utah working with Dr. Brenda Bass and Dr. Peter Shen. My research focuses on a double stranded RNA binding protein, called Dicer. I utilize biochemical and structural (cryo-electron microscopy) techniques to study how the protein’s structure relates to its function. I attended my first M&M meeting in 2021, and was amazed by the community in M&M, specifically at the trainee level in the student council. I decided to join the MSA student council, and I am excited to be part of this amazing team!

PMCx60 Physical Sciences Co-Chair

Stephanie Ribet

Stephanie Ribet
Northwestern University

I am a 4th year PhD candidate in Prof. Vinayak Dravid’s group at Northwestern University. I work on developing nanocomposite materials with applications in environmental remediation and using correlative microscopy and spectroscopy to characterize these structures. I first joined the council after my first M&M (2020) as a Regional Liaison, and it was a pleasure to get to know the MSA team and other microscopists in my region. I am excited to now be serving on the PMC committee, and look forward to seeing you there!

PMCx60 Biological Sciences Co-Chair

Joseph Kim

Joseph Kim
PhD Student
Physical Chemistry
University of Wisconsin-Madison

I am currently a 4th year chemistry PhD candidate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Professor Elizabeth Wright’s lab. My research interests are developing and applying cryo-electron tomography techniques for applications in cell biology and neuroscience. Through these studies, I hope to help discover new insights on properties and mechanics on memory as well as neurodegeneration. I joined the MSA Student Council after my first M&M in 2019 in Portland as the Communications Chair, and then served as the PMCx60 Biological Sciences Co-Chair for the 2020-2021 year. I am once again looking forward to helping organize PMCx60 for the 2021-2022 year.

Post-Doc Liaison

Neerja Zambare

Neerja Zambare
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, WA

I am a Linus Pauling Distinguished Post Doctoral fellow at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, WA. I received my PhD at Montana State University in Bozeman, MT. My background is chemical and biological engineering, and I currently work on biomineralization projects in the Environmental and Molecular Sciences Lab. I use correlative techniques including plasma FIB, SEM, STEM, TEM, and some synchrotron based STXM. I am excited to serve on the PMC Planning Committee and hope to bring in more post-doc participation and engagement at M&M events in the future.

Communications Chair

Huiming Guo

Huiming Guo
University of California, Irvine

I am a 2nd year graduate student at University of California, Irvine with Dr. William Bowman. I focus on ionic transport across grain boundaries in solid electrolyte for batteries and fuel cells. Electron microscopy and spectroscopy are powerful tools to analyze atomic arrangement, composition and field at grain boundaries, which greatly help me to find the relation between materials structure and properties. I attended the M&M Meeting in 2020 and 2021 which are the best online conferences I have ever joined. Scientists and researchers get together each year and share the most advanced electron microscopy techniques and their experience with each other at the M&M meeting. I really broadened my horizons and consolidated my interest in electron microscopy. Now, I joined the MSA Student Council and concentrate on communication and programming. I feel greatly delighted and excited that I can contribute to the setup and development of this excellent networking platform for young scholars and facilitate more scholars to use electron microscopy to decipher matter structure.

Region Liaison Chair

Laura Wilson

Laura Wilson
Case Western Reserve University

I am a 5th year PhD student studying Material Science and Engineering at Case Western in Dr. Jennifer Carter’s group. I use microscopy in my research now, and have enjoyed and heavily utilized microscopy techniques on my MS work (in Geology, from Miami University) and while working at GE Aviation (as the microprobe specialist). I have been on MSA StC for the previous 2 years as RL-III and RLC, and I’m returning as RLC for this year. It will be a great opportunity to grow on what we accomplished last year and work with a new group of RLs! I’m excited to be on MSA StC with a bunch of wonderful microscopy nerds, and to spread our love of microscopy throughout the regions.

Region III Liaison

Dara Laczniak

Dara Laczniak
Purdue University

I am a 4th year PhD student studying planetary science under the supervision of Dr. Michelle Thompson at Purdue University. My research uses a variety of microscopy and microanalysis techniques (SEM, TEM, FIB, EDX, & EELS) to investigate how solar wind changes the microstructure, chemistry, and optical properties of asteroidal regolith. Results from my work will help inform the analysis samples returned by the OSIRIS-REx and Hayabusa2 space missions, which are visiting carbon-rich asteroids. I love using microscopy to answer big picture questions about our solar system. M&M 2020 was my first experience interacting with the MSA community. Even with the limitations of a virtual platform, the welcoming atmosphere of MSA and the student council was undeniable. As PMCx60 social chair, I hope to facilitate year-round opportunities for graduate students and post-docs to share their experiences—both research and non-research related—and build meaningful, supportive relationships.

Region V Liaison

Surya Kamal

Surya Kamal
PRochester Institute of Technology

I am an M.S.(Physics) and a Ph.D. (Imaging Science) student at the Rochester Institute of Technology, (RIT) NY, USA. Currently, I am working as a Research Assistant in the NanoImaging Lab at the Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science (CIS) with Prof. Richard Hailstone and Dr. Nathan Cahill. My research is focused on the exploration of the quantum nature of electron beams in scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and how we use that to suggest improvements in the instrument. I was a Regional Liaison for Region V for the 2020-2021 year and actively participated in the M&M 2021 Virtual Meeting. The MSA StC has given me the opportunity to connect with amazing people in the field all over the world and I hope to continue enjoying the experience this year too.

Region VI Liaison

Yifan Wang

Yifan Wang
Arizona State University

I am a second year PhD student at Arizona State University working with Prof. Peter Crozier. Currently, I am working on detecting and simulating photonic modes in nanostructure for energy harvesting. The main technique I use is monochromated electron energy loss spectroscopy (EELS). Besides, I also have interest in low-loss EELS including vibrational EELS which studies local phonon properties in materials. I attended my first M&M meeting in 2021. Although it was virtual, the experience was one of the best conferences I have ever attended. It will be a pleasure for me to be the Regional Liaison to help the society expand their impact and get more people to learn and use microscopes.

Region X Liaison

Milena Hugenschmidt

Milena Hugenschmidt
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany

I am a physicist and 4th year PhD candidate at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in Germany. My work focuses on analyzing beam-sensitive metal-organic frameworks by (S)TEM and SEM, and the quantification and mitigation of carbon contamination induced by the electron beam. I enjoyed my first M&M and PMCx60 in 2021 very much, mainly due to the welcoming atmosphere and vivid exchange with other young microscopists. Now I am happy to be a member of the MSA StC team, helping to increase exchange in the worldwide microscopy community.