Kozen Selected for Future Faculty Program

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MSE graduate student Alexander Kozen was selected to participate in the Clark School's Future Faculty Program.

The Department of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) extends its congratulations to graduate student Alexander Kozen, who was one of only 20 students from throughout the Clark School chosen to join this year's Future Faculty Program cohort. Kozen is advised by Professor Gary Rubloff (MSE, Institute for Systems Research).

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.

Kozen explains that an equal love of research and teaching has inspired him to pursue a career in academia. "I believe that both are strongly intertwined," he says, "and that research should be used as a vehicle for the education of the next generation of scientists. I want to be able to help pass on the excitement and pursuit of knowledge."

That next generation of scientists might one day learn about the next generation of energy storage devices from him. His research currently focuses on the use of atomic layer deposition (ALD) for the fabrication of nanoscale battery components, which offer higher power and energy density than those currently available. Kozen is also concerned about the impact these new products might have on the environment, and says that the need to replace the toxic materials and energy-intensive manufacturing processes used to make batteries motivates him as much as the opportunity to invent new ones.

Kozen was attracted to the Future Faculty Program because he felt it would prepare him for a career in academia by covering "peripheral" topics that are usually not part of a formal graduate curriculum. He also feels it will set his expectations about the responsibilities and challenges he will face as a professor.

He has already had a taste of teaching college-level courses, most recently as a TA for one of MSE professor and chair Robert M. Briber's courses, ENMA 150: Materials of Civilization.

"I led my own discussion section with about 35 students, which was really scary at first," he says. "Once I got the hang of it, the rest of the class was awesome! For me, one of the most important aspects of teaching is being able to have the students relate the material to their lives in a meaningful way. I believe...[that] is the best way to maintain interest and develop an independent and active pursuit of the course material outside of class. There is no greater reward than watching students learn, grow, and eventually apply their knowledge from class in the future."

Published February 10, 2012