Yomery Espinal’s Road to the Doctorate

By Allison McLellan

Yomery Espinal

Yomery Espinal, Ph.D. student in the Department of Materials Science & Engineering

Yomery Espinal is a Ph.D. student in materials sciences and engineering who is motivated to succeed by her passion for science.

Yomery received a joint B.S. from Fordham and Columbia University in chemistry and chemical engineering, and a M.S. in chemistry from City College of New York. She aligned her chemistry studies with materials sciences and engineering when she came to UConn in 2013 as Ph.D. student, attracted by the array of interesting research opportunities.

Upon arriving at UConn, she was awarded the LSAMP- Bridge to the Doctorate Fellowship (2013) and the UConn Multicultural Scholar Award (2013). Reflecting on this honor, she says, “It reassured me that coming to UConn was indeed the best decision for my future. Both the fellowship and award provided me a support system I need when I began my PhD. They also gave me the freedom to work on a wider range of research projects.”

Figure 1 Crystal structures of four commonly used pyroelectric materials: (a) PbTiO3 ; (b) xPb(Mg1/3Nb2/3 )O3 –(1 – x )PbTiO 3 (PMN–PT) in the rhombohedral phase; (c) LiTaO 3 ; and (d) poly(vinylidene difl uoride) (PVDF), –(C2H2F2)n –. The direction of spontaneous polarization (P) is also shown.

Figure 1 Crystal structures of four commonly used pyroelectric materials: (a) PbTiO3 ; (b) xPb(Mg1/3Nb2/3 )O3 –(1 – x )PbTiO 3 (PMN–PT) in the rhombohedral phase; (c) LiTaO 3 ; and (d) poly(vinylidene difl uoride) (PVDF), –(C2H2F2)n –. The direction of spontaneous polarization (P) is also shown.

Her research interests include synthesis of functional thin films via untraditional fabrication methods and investigating the inclusion of these films in sensors and actuations during additive manufacturing. Currently, she is working on developing methods to embed a ferroelectric material within a dielectric matrix in order to improve the properties of the ferroelectric material. These materials are used in applications such as tunable and microwave devices and often are utilized in military technology. She works to improve the properties of the devices in order to decrease manufacture costs and improve device lifetime.

Her advisor, Dr. Pamir Alpay, is also the head of the MSE Department. Under his guidance, Yomery is grateful to have been able to do experimental work within a research group that predominantly works on theoretical problems, as well as direct her research focus towards functional materials.

Dr. Alpay is proud to have Yomery as a member of his group, commending her work and accomplishments. “Ms. Espinal has been an excellent addition to our group of graduate students. She was heavily recruited by other institutions and we were pleased that she chose UConn MSE to carry out her Ph.D. studies. Ms. Espinal has been working in my research group, concentrating on experimental work on the synthesis of ferroic composites for advanced charge storage applications. Her research has already resulted in two publications in Applied Physics Letters and Journal of Materials Science.

Outside of her studies, the Ph.D. student stays busy as the president of the Keramos UConn chapter, a national professional ceramic engineering fraternity. Not only that, but she is also a member of the Student Association of Graduate Engineers and a mentor for students in UConn’s First in Family Engineering program.

Driven by her tenacity, curiosity, and desire to keep learning, Yomery has a bright future ahead. Her goals for the future include working in government research on materials with military applications. Additionally, she wants to continue her mentoring and teach students, allowing her to spread her love of learning.

Categories: news, research, student chapter, students

Published: October 21, 2015

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