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Thomas Bowen – Fulbright Research Grant to Germany

Name: Thomas Bowen

Class Year: 2014

Hometown: Fredericksburg, VA

Major(s): Physics & Engineering

Minors or Concentrations: German

Opportunity and Year: Fulbright Program for U.S. Students, 2014-15

Project Summary: I will be working on developing stronger, more efficient biodegradable alternatives to plastic foams such as styrofoam, using the microscopic structure of chestnuts and hickory nuts as inspiration.

How did W&L prepare you for this opportunity? My strong connection with my advisor and the many research positions I held under his direction have given me both experience in working in a laboratory as well as appropriate expectations for my research project.

Why did you apply for this opportunity? I applied to this fellowship due to the encouragement and reminders from my minor advisor, who not only informed me of the Fulbright but made me believe it was within my reach.

Post-graduation Plans: I hope to work with a firm focused on sustainable urban development or on the creation a more environmentally friendly manufacturing ethic/process.

How will this opportunity help you achieve your goals? My host in Germany specializes in bridging the gap between biomimetic (bio-inspired) research and industry. Under his direction I believe that I will learn a fair amount on incorporating cutting edge, ‘green’ technologies into businesses and industries whose interest in the environmental impact of their work is steadily growing.

Extracurricular Involvement:

Outing Club

Off-campus Experience:

Two semesters abroad (Germany, Spring sophomore year; New Zealand, Winter and Spring junior year), two summer internships with robotics engineering firm HDT (Hunter Defense Technologies)

Research Experience:

Independent Research with Professor Erickson for two semesters, Summer Research internship with Professor Erickson between Junior and Senior Year, Senior research with Professor Erickson Fall Semester Senior year

 

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