Welding engineering graduate student earns accolades
Lee, who will complete her M.S. in Welding Engineering in May, recently received a Microscopy and Microanalysis Student Scholar Award from the Microscopy Society of America, and she took first place in the Best Poster competition at the Minerals, Metals and Materials Society’s annual meeting.
She describes the opportunity to participate in scholarly events like these as “a great experience. I was nervous beforehand, but having a mental script really helps. And practice makes – almost – perfect, as they say. All of my presentations start off pretty rough, and practicing in front of peers and mentors and being open to their advice and suggestions have played the biggest part in polishing up my posters and presentation skills.”
Her research focuses on submicron characterization of solid-state dissimilar metal welds. “Specifically, I’m using transmission Kikuchi diffraction (TKD) in the SEM as well as other characterization techniques to identify microstructures and intermetallics between Ni-steel and Al-steel welds made by friction stir welding and vaporized foil actuator welding,” she explained.
That kind of welding research is essential for industries like automotive manufacturing looking to reduce vehicle weight and improve fuel efficiency.
“I chose to pursue a graduate degree in welding engineering because I enjoyed the research and development aspects of my internships here as an undergraduate,” Lee said. “I loved the innovation and creativity that was required to work towards solving problems with new processes and products.”
That love of research – and aptitude for it – led her to second place in the 2016 Richard J. and Martha D. Denman Undergraduate Research Forum in a field of more than 100 participants from the College of Engineering, and 500 from across Ohio State’s entire campus community.
Her faculty mentor, Professor Antonio J. Ramirez, has helped guide her research efforts in her shift from B.S. to M.S. candidate. He hired her as a lab worker during her time as an undergraduate, and he watched as she blurred the line between undergraduate and graduate, emphasizing independent research efforts. She was initially self-funded as a graduate student, but she eventually fell under the funding auspices of the Center for Design and Manufacturing Excellence and the Department of Commerce.
“I chose Ohio State because it’s the leading graduate program for welding engineering,” Lee said. “That, and there’s no better place to be, especially during football season.”
That said, she’s looking for a change of place after graduation, focusing on professional opportunities in Chicago as she finishes up her thesis defense and gets ready for commencement.