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.

Abinash Kumar

President
Abinash Kumar
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Erica Stevens

Past-President
Erica Stevens
PhD Student, NDSEG Fellow
Materials Science & Engineering
University of Pittsburgh

 

Aubrey Penn

President-Elect
Aubrey Penn
North Carolina State University

 

Louisa Mezache

Secretary
Louisa Mezache
Ohio State University

 

Jackson Spurling

Treasurer
Jackson Spurling
University of Tennessee - Knoxville

 

Piyush Haluai

PMCx60 Chair
Piyush Haluai
Arizona State University

 

Joseph Kim

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

 

Berit Goodge

Christopher Blackwell

Communications Chair
Christopher Blackwell
University of Wisconsin-Madison

 

Yingjie Yang

Dara Laczniak

PMCx60 Social Chair
Dara Laczniak
Purdue University

 

Laura Wilson

Regional Liaison Chair
Laura Wilson
FCase Western Reserve University

 

Stephanie Ribet

Region II Liaison
Stephanie Ribet
Northwestern University

 

Stephen Funni

Region III Liaison
Stephen Funni
North Carolina State University

 

GM Jonaid

Surya Kamal

Region V Liaison
Surya Kamal
Rochester Institute of Technology

 

Mai Tan

Region VI Liaison
Mai Tan
Arizona State University

 

Tim Eldred

Region VIII Liaison
Tim Eldred
North Carolina State University/p>

 

Saptarshi Mukherjee

Region X Liaison
Saptarshi Mukherjee
Indian Institute of Technology (BHU), India

 

Alexander Zintler

Region X Liaison
Alexander Zintler
Technical University of Darmstadt, Germany

 

President

Abinash Kumar

Abinash Kumar
Department of Materials Science & Engineering
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

I am a second 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 involve working with teams in organizing events during my college’s cultural and technical festival and mentoring few undergraduates. These experiences helped me to develop good communication and decision taking 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 to lead in developing a large association for students across the globe with the help of several microscopy societies.

Past President

Erica Stevens

Erica Stevens
University of Pittsburgh

I am a nearly-graduated PhD Candidate at the University of Pittsburgh, studying Materials Science and Engineering. My advisor is Dr. Markus Chmielus, and my work focuses on the additive manufacturing of magnetocaloric materials. Though my daily research activities don’t usually require complicated or high-tech microscopy, I have always loved the capabilities of microscopy and microanalysis to reveal the small and hidden aspects of the materials that build our world. Microscopy is both scientifically relevant and indescribably beautiful. In addition - as I discovered at my first M&M in 2016 in Columbus, OH - the microscopy community is the best one I have ever been a part of. I was at the Annual Meeting alone and yet was greeted and welcomed, leaving the event with new contacts, friends, and knowledge. This experience at M&M 2016 led me to get involved with the Student Council as the Regional Liaison Chair in 2017 and President Elect in 2018. I am excited to complete my StC leadership path as the 2019 Past-President of the MSA Student Council.

President-elect

Aubrey Penn

Aubrey Penn
North Carolina State University

I am a fourth-year graduate student in Materials Science and Engineering at North Carolina State University working with Profs. James LeBeau and Divine Kumah. My research is focused on explaining interfacial phenomena in complex oxide thin films using scanning transmission electron microscopy imaging and spectroscopy. Before coming 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 three years, and served as Secretary last year. As president-elect, I will actively pursue diversity and inclusivity to strengthen MSA, increase outreach efforts worldwide through Regional Liaison involvement, and create an outlet for post-doctoral researchers to be more integrated into the Society. Additionally, I will work to maintain the welcoming community I have come to know and appreciate.

Secretary

Louisa Mezache

Louisa Mezache
Ohio State University

I’m 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 by the opportunity to continue participating. If selected, my intention will be to help broaden participation from untapped groups in MSA, both social and scientific, by increasing year-round engagements through social media.

Treasurer

Jackson Spurling

Jackson Spurling
University of Tennessee - Knoxville

The opportunities to serve as Region VIII Liaison during 2017-18, as Secretary during 2018-19, and as Treasurer during 2019-20 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 would like to continue to contribute to the Student Council by supporting these and other methods of outreach to student members through the position of Treasurer. I have been honored to serve with StC these last three 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.

PMCx60 Chair

Piyush Haluai

Piyush Haluai
PhD Student
Materials Science & Engineering
Arizona State University

I am a 2nd year Materials Science PhD student at Arizona State University with Dr. Peter Crozier. My keen interest in the field of electron microscopy led me to this. My project involves studying oxygen vacancy defects and dopant migration in metal oxide materials with high time resolution imaging and electron energy loss spectroscopy. 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. I would like to meet more fellow “wanna be” electron microscopists like me and bring them to this beautiful thing called “Microscopy Society of America”.

PMCx60 Physical Sciences Co-Chair

Berit Goodge

Berit Goodge
PhD Candidate
Applied Physics
Cornell University

Atomically-engineered quantum materials host a plethora of exotic phases including multiferroicity, charge order, and superconductivity. My research seeks to understand these phenomena at the atomic scale by using high resolution microscopy techniques such as STEM, EELS, and EDX to probe the connections between lattice and electronic structure. My work with Prof. Lena F. Kourkoutis is focussed mostly on the complex oxide perovskites, though I always enjoy the opportunity to branch out and get something new in the microscope (spanning anything from Antarctic geologic samples to human tooth enamel).

From the newest students to the most senior researchers, the enthusiasm of microscopists can only be described as “infectious”. As a graduate student, I am incredibly grateful for this friendly and welcoming community I have enjoyed getting to know over the past five years. As PMCx60 Co-chair, I hope to extend a network of support, encouragement, and shared expertise among a broader community of young microscopists throughout the northeast (and beyond!).

PMCx60 Biological Sciences Co-Chair

Joseph Kim

Joseph Kim
PhD Student
Physical Chemistry
University of Wisconsin-Madison

I am a third year PhD physical chemistry student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where I utilize cryo electron-tomography, cryo-correlative light and electron microscopy, and primary cell culture techniques to study neuroscience. I hope to understand more about neuronal cell and molecular biology and one day hope to apply these findings to study the cell and molecular mechanisms of memory or neurodegeneration at high-resolution.

I attended my first M&M in 2019 in Portland, Oregon, and was immediately drawn in to the vibrant and enthusiastic microscopy community. I immediately applied to become a part of MSA StC afterwards and served for one year as Communications Chair. This year, I will help organize the PMCx60, hoping to both ensure smooth operational procedure of the event itself while also providing a biological perspective that will greatly serve the participants of PMCx60.

Communications Chair

Christopher Blackwell

Christopher Blackwell
University of Wisconsin-Madison

I’m a first-year PhD student at the University of Wisconsin--Madison studying the photophysics of carbon nanomaterials under Dr. Michael Arnold. Before UW, I attended The Ohio State University where I studied materials science and engineering with a concentration in electronic materials and a minor in English. My undergraduate research involved the extensive use of optical and electron microscopy which led me to present at M&M 2020, the best virtual conference I have ever attended. Despite the lack of physical proximity, I still found the microscopy community to be warm and welcoming, and I endeavored to join the MSA student council soon after. As Communications Chair, I’m excited to be a voice that can spread ideas among the microscopy community and the general public alike.

Co-chair of the Education and Outreach Committee

Yingjie Yang

Yingjie Yang
UPhD Student
Materials Science and Engineering
University of California, Irvine

I am currently a 5th year PhD student working with Prof. Martha Mecartney in University of California, Irvine. My research interest focuses on ceramic materials, specifically flash sintering. I aim to explore the physical phenomena and explain the mechanisms of flash sintering through microscopy and other characterization methods. I have experience in working with various techniques on the scanning electron microscope including EDS, EBSD, and FIB. I work with users in the university as a student employee to provide training and consultation to operate and utilize the techniques. I learnt about the MSA student council when I attended M&M for the first time in 2019. The StC is a great platform for networking and connecting with the microscopy community. I aim to serve as the facilitator to expand the influence of StC through the new events and workshops.

PMCx60Social Chair

Dara Laczniak

Dara Laczniak
Purdue University

I am a 3rd year PhD student studying planetary science under the advisement 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 Liaison Chair

Laura Wilson

Laura Wilson
Case Western Reserve University

I am a 4th 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 had the opportunity to be Region III Liaison for the 2019-2020 year, and now as RL Chair, I hope to take what I’ve learned and integrate it with all of the Regional Liaisons. 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 II Liaison

Stephanie Ribet

Stephanie Ribet
Northwestern University

I am a third year PhD Student in the Materials Science and Engineering department at Northwestern University in Professor Vinayak Dravid’s group. I work on developing nanocomposite materials for environmental remediation and characterizing these complex materials with a variety of microscopy and spectroscopy techniques. I’m looking forward to connecting with more members of the MSA community and finding opportunities to broaden our outreach initiatives.

Region III Liaison

Stephen Funni

Stephen Funni
North Carolina State University

I am a 3th year graduate student in the MSE department at North Carolina State University and will be transferring to Carnegie Mellon University in the spring 2021 semester. As a member of Dr. Elizabeth Dickey’s research group, I specialize in characterizing ceramics for electronic applications. The focus of my research is on using TEM techniques to understand how atomic structure influences the properties of technologically important materials like relaxor ferroelectrics. Prior to my graduate career, I studied Mechanical Engineering at the U.S. Naval Academy and served as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps. I hope to use the skills I’ve gained from these experiences to advance the fields of materials science and electron microscopy. As an MSA regional liaison, I’m excited to help students in the microscopy community connect with one another and find ways to serve in their communities.

Region IV Liaison

GM Jonaid

GM Jonaid
Penn State

I am a 3rd year graduate student in Bioinformatics and Genomics program at Penn State. My research interests include developing algorithms and tools for Cryo-electron microscopy (EM) structure reconstruction. My ultimate goal is to implement deep learning method for Cryo-EM structure construction. Currently, I am working with Dr. Deb Kelly as a graduate assistant. Our current research includes understanding the structure of p53 and BRCA1 proteins (both wild type and mutants). Recently, I started woking on COVID19 N protein. We have submitted a paper on 3D cryo-Em structure of N protein.

I am also a crazy football (soccer) fan. My favorite team is Real Madrid. I hardly miss any Madrid’s game.

Region V Liaison

Surya Kamal

Surya Kamal
Rochester Institute of Technology

I am a 3rd year Ph.D. student in Imaging Science at Rochester Institute of Technology, (RIT) NY, USA. I work in the NanoImaging Lab with Prof. Richard Hailstone and Prof. Nathan Cahill. My research aims to improve the resolution of a SEM by using electron optics modeling. Before RIT, I worked as a project associate at the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, India and was involved with microscopy research since my undergrad. I attended the M&M 2020 virtually and saw the opportunity to get involved with the MSA student council. As a RL for Region V, I will try to communicate more about MSA in the optics community and other related areas in general. I am really excited about being a part of the student council and look forward to this experience.

Region VI Liaison

Mai Tan

Mai Tan
Arizona State University

I am a 2nd year Material Science Ph.D. student at Arizona State University working with Dr. Peter Crozier. Currently my research is mainly focused on developing a fundamental understanding of oxygen exchange, transport mechanism, and measuring oxygen exchange rate at the surface for fluorites and perovskites using in-situ TEM. My first interaction with the MSA student council is in M&M 2020. I get to communicate with so many driven, like minded peers that I can constantly learn from, which make me want to be involved in the student council to help build a bigger community. As a Regional Liaison, I am very excited to bring a positive attitude and enthusiasm to expand the network and promote MSA to more people affiliated with microscopy research.

Region VIII Liaison

Tim Eldred

Tim Eldred
North Carolina State University

I am a 4th year graduate student in the MSE department at North Carolina State University. As a member of the Wenpei Gao group, my main area of interest research-wise is exploring and enhancing 4DSTEM as a method of interrogating structure. I work on applying NBED and other techniques to look at structural phenomena, polarization, and strain in materials ranging from semiconductor devices and magnetic materials to metallic glass. Prior to my time at NCSU, I studied nanoparticle design and polymer synthesis at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte under Dr Jordan Poler. As a non traditional student with a background ranging from Litigation technology to healthcare, and an academic background going from physical chemistry to electron microscopy, I look forward to working with an ever broadening group of collaborators and colleagues in the year to come.

Region X Liaison

Saptarshi Mukherjee

Saptarshi Mukherjee
Indian Institute of Technology (BHU), India

I am a 3rd year research scholar in the department of metallurgical engineering at Indian Institute of Technology (BHU), Varanasi. My thesis advisor is Dr. Joysurya Basu while it is co-supervised by Prof. N.K. Mukhopadhyay. I shall be earning my PhD degree once I satisfactorily explain the phase stability and microstructural evolution in Vanadium-based and Aluminium-Lithium alloys at the atomic scale. My work heavily relies on transmission electron microscopy, it is centered around in-situ heating TEM for addressing critical phase transformation issues. I’m most interested in materials for alternative energy. Just like the “stone age” did not end because we ran out of stones, similarly I dream of a future where the current oil/coal age will completely be replaced not owing to its scarcity, but because of constructive scientific progress under sustainable development. Meanwhile, I am extremely fascinated by the field of electron microscopy, especially TEM, which is both an equipment “of research” as well as “for research”. The last two decades has seen massive strides in its capabilities, by which I’m quite simply awe-struck.

M&M-2020 has been my first experience interacting with a host of accomplished and budding electron microscopists alike, specifically people from MSA. This virtual conference was the best thing that had happened to me in a world of crisis due to the pandemic. The MSA StC is full of vibrant, amiable fellow researchers who conducted the PMCx60 extremely well and thus caught my attention. Hence my decision to apply for this position. I’m elated and excited to be on-board and together look forward to the days of prosperity to come.

Region X Liaison

Alexander Zintler

Alexander Zintler
Technical University of Darmstadt, Germany

I am a 3rd year PhD student in the group of Advanced Electron Microscopy at the Materials Science department of the TU Darmstadt in Germany. In my work I focus on the resistive switching properties of Hafnia thin films. Preparing samples on MEMS chips for in situ biasing and heating experiments via FIB as well as high resolution STEM imaging and analytics are the tools I use most of the time.

During my Bachelor studies I became a part of the microscopy group in Darmstadt by joining the conventional preparation lab as a student worker and was totally blown away when I saw high resolution TEM for the first time. Since then I focus on learning more and more techniques available at the microscopes, teaching students the use of the preparation routines and machines and digging more into the materials science aspects of electron microscopy.

After attending the M&M in Portland 2019 I got involved in the StC as a RL for region X and I’m really happy to be a part of the student council. I love the idea of giving students and young researchers more possibilities to expand their network, discuss and collaborate on an open platform and I hope to adapt some of these ideas for the community I’m in here in Europe.