COSAM News Articles 2019 October Physics Graduate Student Earns Alabama EPSCoR Graduate Program Scholars Research Award

Physics Graduate Student Earns Alabama EPSCoR Graduate Program Scholars Research Award

Published: 10/01/2019

By: Maria Gebhardt

Miles Blanchet was motivated to become a self-funded graduate student so he could focus on more in-depth research. He wrote a proposal and is the recipient of a renewable grant that will provide $25,000 per year in funding through the Alabama Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR).

Blanchet will be able to concentrate on characterizing and investigating the physical and electrical properties of thin films grown in the very lab he works in, the Films, Interfaces, and Nanostructures of Oxides (FINO) Lab. His work will be synergistic with Prof. Ryan Comes’ research that is supported by a National Science Foundation grant.

“This EPSCoR grant will help me excel towards my path to earn my doctorate degree in physics,” Blanchet explained.

By examining the different properties of oxide thin films and nanocomposites, he will be able to learn more about their physical properties such as the ratio of metals in the films and the distances between atoms. 

“I am really proud of Miles for how hard he has worked the past three years and the effort he put into this research proposal,” shared Dr. Comes. “He started in the lab by helping assemble vacuum hardware from nuts and bolts and has developed into an excellent scientist. His work on oxide thin films with this EPSCOR grant has the potential in fuel cells that can help create affordable renewable energy solutions.”

Blanchet, who worked for three years in the semiconductor industry before returning to graduate school, shares his advice to students who are interesting in pursuing a degree in science.

“A bachelor’s degree in physics is incredibly lucrative in today’s job market,” he shared. “Employers know that students who earned this degree have a solid foundation in both mathematics and science, plus have the ability to directly correlate the knowledge to real-world applications in an array of high-tech industries.”
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