MSE Alumna Profile: Erin Flanagan
Class of: 2006 (B.S.)
Erin Flanagan (B.S. '06). While attending the University of Maryland, Erin was on the Dean's List four times, won a National Science Foundation Scholarship, and was a member of the University of Maryland Engineering Honors program.
We chatted with Erin to learn more about her experiences at the University of Maryland, and find out what she's doing today.
Why did you choose to study at the University of Maryland?
The University of Maryland was a good choice for me because I could pay in-state tuition while enjoying the benefits of studying in a highly rated engineering program. The school was also large enough to offer a variety of extracurricular activities.
Why did you decide to major in Materials Science and Engineering?
I became interested in materials science when I was looking into nanotechnology, and the more I researched it, the more I realized that materials science was the best place to pursue my interests.
What was the best thing about majoring in MSE, or what was your favorite "MSE Experience"?
I think the best part about majoring in MSE was the opportunity I had to work closely with my professors. The classes were small, so everyone got a lot of individual attention. Since the department was small there were also may opportunities to do research.
What was your favorite class, and why?
If I had to chose, I would say the nano characterization class [ENMA 489T] was probably the most interesting, mostly because we had so many guest speakers who were experts in the field presenting the most up-to-date knowledge. However, I liked all my classes in the department—they were always practical and informative, and I always found myself challenged.
Were you involved in research, internships, conferences, or other activities while a student?
I was a research assistant for 3 years while at Maryland working under Professor [Ray] Phaneuf. My research consisted of epitaxial growth of patterned GaAs wafers. By studying the self organized growth of the surface through AFM [atomic force microscopy] scans we were able to design a computer-based model of the growth pattern. I presented my research at the Applied Physics Conference in March 2006.
What do you recommend students do or get involved in to have the best experience here?
There are a lot of good academic and social activates to get involved in at Maryland. The engineering societies are a good way to meet people in your major as well as get academic assistance. I also gained a lot of leadership experience through my involvement with Engineers Without Borders.
What have you been doing since you graduated? How have your engineering skills helped in your job?
Since graduating I have worked in a flash and DRAM manufacturing facility as a process engineer in Manassas, Virginia. The skills I developed at Maryland have been very useful in my current position. I have been able to draw from the majority of my classes in order to do my job every day. These classes include electronic materials, solid state, kinetics, microprocessing, statistics, x-ray diffraction, nano characterization, materials lab, and others—basically all of the classes I completed for my degree. Long story short, my degree in materials science and Engineering gave me the best preparation I could have gotten to work in the semiconductor industry. (Editor's note: Erin subsequently accepted a position at the U.S. Patent Office. She also serves on the Department's Board of Visitors.)