UA Little Rock is highlighting some of our student nanotechnology researchers in celebration of National Nanotechnology Day on Oct. 9. Stephanie Gilchrist is an undergraduate student researcher at the Center for Integrative Nanotechnology Sciences.
A mechanical engineering major, she is a recipient of the UA Little Rock Signature Experience program, which awards students up to $1,000 to support a research project, creative activity, or community service project that is influential to their academic development.
What is your Signature Experience Project?
We are working on creating hydrophobic and antimicrobial surfaces using materials technology and surface technology. An antimicrobial surface is a surface that kills bacteria. A hydrophobic surface is a self-cleaning surface that repels water. It works similarly to beads of water on leaves.
What inspired you to work on this project?
I began this project right when the COVID-19 pandemic started, so I was inspired to find a way to create self-cleaning surfaces. I am excited to see how this project can be applied in real life and help people keep surfaces clean, especially in hospitals.
What is it like to work with your mentor, Dr. Ganesh Kannarpady?
Dr. Ganesh is wonderful. He has really guided me with coming up with this project and applying for the Signature Experience program. Because of him, I am able to have my name on a paper before I graduate, which is wonderful. I am also grateful to other researchers who contributed to this project and helped me: Ahmed Hashoosh, Malik Muhi, and Molly White.
How did you hear about the Center for Integrative Nanotechnology Sciences?
I was looking for a job, ideally related to my field. My friend was working for them at the time and persuaded me to apply. Dr. Alexandru Biris, the director of the center, is the coolest. He fosters a wonderful family-like environment of everyone helping everyone. I think anyone interested in working in a research environment should talk to him.
What are your plans after graduation?
I am interested in the business side of mechanical engineering. This summer I will begin an internship with Southwest Power Pool, a nonprofit electric utility company in Little Rock. I hope to work there after I graduate.