Karki Selected for Future Faculty Program

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MSE graduate student Khim Karki working at a transmission electron microscope.

The Department of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) extends its congratulations to graduate student Khim Karki (advised by Assistant Professor John Cumings), who was one of only 20 students from throughout the Clark School, and one of two from MSE, chosen to join this year's Future Faculty Program cohort.

The Future Faculty Program, launched in 2007, was created to prepare students for academic careers in top-50 engineering schools by helping them hone their skills in areas such as technical and grant writing, curriculum development, teaching, research, oral presentations, and interviewing. The program includes seminars, a teaching practicum, and a research mentoring practicum, and takes three to five semesters to complete. Participants are known as Future Faculty Fellows.

Karki is a member of both the Cumings Group and the Nanostructures for Electrical Energy Storage (NEES) research program, the university's Department of Energy-sponsored Energy Frontier Research Center (EFRC). The goal of his work is to understand the behavior of new nanostructured materials for lithium-ion battery technology using in situ transmission electron microscopy (TEM) techniques pioneered by the Cumings Group.

"We fabricate a prototype nanobattery and put it inside the transmission electron microscope," he explains. "Using the in situ nanomanipulation capability of TEM, we operate that battery and simultaneously observe its behavior in realtime."

Karki has chosen a career in academia so he can remain involved in cutting edge research and pursue collaborations while maintaining intellectual freedom. He also looks forward to passing his enthusiasm on to the young scientists who will one day be part of his own research group. He applied to the Future Faculty Program to gain the insight he will need to meet the challenges of teaching effectively and navigating the tenure process.

"It is more or less homework or preparation for the job," he says of the program, "because once you hop to it you are on your own!"

Karki has already completed TA assignments with MSE professors Luz Martinez-Miranda and Sriramamurthy Ankem, supporting them in ENMA 310: Materials Lab I: Structural Characterization, ENMA 311: Materials Lab II: Electromagnetic Properties, and ENMA 362: Mechanical Properties. He says he enjoyed assisting students with their lab exercises and experiments, and that the feedback on his performance he received from them was especially valuable. He describes his interactions and discussions with the students as the "most rewarding" benefit of his experiences.

Published February 16, 2012