After completing his BS and MS in Taiwan, Chung-Hao Liu came to the US to join UConn’s Polymer Ph.D. Program. He worked under the guidance of Prof. Mu-Ping Nieh to learn the principles of self-assembly and structural characterization using neutron, x-ray, and light scattering. Chung-Hao was a productive student in scientific output with 3 lead-author, and 14 coauthored publications in prestigious peer-reviewed journals (including Journal of American Chemical Society, Angewandte Chemie, Advanced Functional Materials, Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, Nanoscale, Macromolecules, ACS Macro Letters, etc.) and more to come.
Reflecting on his experience at UConn, Chung-Hao says he loved the collaborative nature of the Institute of Materials Science with both faculty and students. The interdisciplinary research projects allowed him to speak with chemists and engineers from various backgrounds. He also noted that faculty were always open to providing help whenever he encountered problems. Chung-Hao also enjoyed freedom in research the pursuit of research projects without being micromanaged.
Chung-Hao completed his dissertation defense, “Encapsulation and Polymerization in the Fluid Phase of a Well-Defined Bicellar Template,” in spring 2023 and has started his new journey as a postdoctoral scientist in the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tennessee, in July 2023.
UConn’s Future Climate Venture Studio has created a fellowship program designed to provide tangible experiences for students interested in learning in start-ups, marketing, commercialization, venture development, and research around climate change. Materials Science PhD. student, Amy Pollock, is one of three UConn graduate students to receive the fellowship. Fellows were selected for their excellent writing skills, science, technical, or business background, interest in the entrepreneurial process, interest in addressing climate change, and their ability to work independently and handle confidential material. The program partners each student with 2 start-up companies that need advice and/or assistance within a specific discipline. This enables the companies to have access to scientist working in their field while the students gain insight regarding the many challenges of creating and maintaining a startup company. The program is one more example of UConn’s support of entrepreneurship for both students as well as faculty.
The polymer program honored Dr. Jaime A. Gómez as the 2023 Distinguished Alumni.
Dr. Gomez completed his Polymer Ph.D. at UConn in 1989 before beginning his career as a scientist and organizational leader. He has had a successful career including both research and leadership roles. On Friday, September 8, he opened the fall 2023 Polymer Seminar series with his talk titled, “Unexpected Challenges in the Life of a Polymer Scientist”. The talk included stories of research, product development, and exploring various real world challenges during his 30-year career as a polymer scientist. The theme of his presentation is that scientists build a foundation of knowledge and skills during their academic career, but face new and unexplored fields in the industrial setting.
Dr. Gómez received a BS in Chemical Engineering from Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana in Colombia, an MS in Organic Chemistry from Wichita State University, Kansas, and a Ph.D. in Polymer Science from the University of Connecticut. In addition to his scientific education, Dr. Gómez received an MBA from New York University (Stern School of Business) with concentration in International Business, Finance & Marketing. Dr. Gómez has 30-years of industry experience that includes plastics, specialty chemicals, and materials handling—industries where he has conducted basic and applied research, evaluation and acquisitions of technologies and companies, international business development, and corporate strategic planning. Gómez is currently President & CEO of Equitech, a company dedicated to the in-line measurement of chemical concentration, and color and film thickness for a myriad of industries.
Dr. Gómez has been an active member and leader of the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) for the past 35 years. He joined the Society ofPlastics Engineers in 1987 while pursuing his Polymer Ph.D. here at the UConn, serving as the SPE’s Student Chapter President for two terms. He also served as a member of SPE’s Extrusion Division Board of Directors for six years and helped establish the Next Generation Advisory Board (NGAB). Dr. Gómez has been a member of SPE’s Board of Directors since 2013 and has served as SPE’s Secretary, Treasurer, VP Marketing & Communications, VP Events, and President-Elect. He received SPE’s President’s Cup in 2014 and the Excellence in Mentoring Award in 2017. He also invented and directed The Plastics Race™, an event that promotes networking and knowledge exchange between SPE members. Gómez was named President of SPE for the 2020-2021 term.