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Student Highlights

Degree being sought: Polymer Science and Engineering BS
Institution: University of Southern Mississippi
Research group: Wiggins Research Group
Hometown: Mobile, AL

Give a brief synopsis of research/work being done:

In my research we postulate that the constrained space in the vicinity of an additive in composite materials acts to influence interphase morphology. To study this, we synthesized fully cured epoxy-amine microspheres using isophorone diamine (IPDA) and the following epoxides: TGDDM, Araldite 510, Araldite 610, DGEBA, DGEBF, EPONEX 1510. Then, we blended microspheres in the self-same matrix material at 1, 5, and 10 weight percent.  Through thermomechanical analysis and fracture testing, the effects of the epoxide’s free volume, aromaticity, and functionality on network formation and the composite material’s mechanics can be assessed.

From your current perspective, what do you see as an ideal fit for your skills, goals and career moving forward?

I believe my skills and goals are fit for pursuing a PhD in Polymer Science. By the time I finish my undergraduate career I will have 3 ½ years of research under my belt. In that time, I have built my confidence as an independent researcher and I have become familiar with many laboratory techniques, so it only seems natural to further my education. After obtaining my doctorate I see myself working in some sector of the transportation or energy departments.

What's an interesting (personal) fact about yourself?

I once auditioned for the TV show The Voice. The song I performed had death metal vocals. It had the judges stunned!

What USM-related scholarships did you receive?

Toyota-Haley Barbour Scholarship

Honor's Keystone Scholarship

Academic Excellence Scholarship

USM Grant

Awards won

Rails-to-reels film award

2015-2016 Dean’s List Fall 2015

2015-2016 Dean’s List Spring 2016

Publications

Frazee, Andrew S.; Winetrout, Jordan; Weigand, Jeremy; Wadkin-Snaith, Dominic; Jackson, Matthew; Wiggins, Jeffrey S. Correlating Molecular Architecture to Physical State via Molecular Dynamic Simulations

Palmer, Travis; Winetrout, Jordan; Wiggins, Jeffery Ghost Particles: Effect of constrained space on glassy polymer network formation and mechanics

Frazee, Andrew S.; Palmer, Travis; Weigand, Jeremy; Winetrout, Jordan; Wiggins, Jeffrey S. One-Step Continuous High-Shear Reactor for Synthesizing Benoxazine Monomers Monomers. In Progress

Frazee, Andrew S.; Palmer, Travis; Weigand, Jeremy; Winetrout, Jordan; Wiggins, Jeffrey S. One-Step Continuous High-Shear Reactor for Synthesizing Benoxazine Monomers Prepolymers. In Progress

While at USM, what other accomplishments/activities are you most proud of? 

I am definitely proud of being a part of the Ultimate Frisbee club here at USM. Traveling to tournaments was some of the most fun I have had in my college career. The best tournament has to be the one hosted by LSU. They make a mean jambalaya over there in Louisiana, and they serve it to us for free at the tournament! I also got a chance to bond with some of the fellas. I found the current house that I’m staying in, because there were a bunch of frisbee players who were looking for a roommate. It was an awesome find.

What are your plans for next year and beyond?

I plan to pursue a doctorate in polymer science and engineering. I am not sure where or what project just yet, but my initial inspiration for pursuing a polymer science and engineering degree was because I found the properties of spider webs to be fascinating. For nature to create a material that has tensile strengths higher than steel while being antimicrobial and biodegradable is astounding. Through my undergraduate degree and research experience I have obtained knowledge of the ubiquitous nature of polymers. From the segments of an airplane to food in the kitchen, a certain amount of understanding of polymers is needed to appreciate the world we currently live in.  I ultimately see myself working in some sector of the transportation or energy department. This may include alternative fuel research, improvements to solar cells, or working with aerospace materials. However, my fascination with polymer science has not been limited to just those areas of research. I am also interested in learning more about biopolymers, biomaterials, and magnetorheological fluids.