Perez Attends Pan American Advanced Studies Institute

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MSE graduate student Israel "Izzy" Perez works with a transmission electron microscope at the PASI workshop in Santiago, Chile.

This July, Materials Science and Engineering graduate student Israel "Izzy" Perez attended the Pan American Advanced Studies Institute's (PASI) workshop in Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) in Materials Science, held at the Universidad de Chile in Santiago. Perez was one of 48 graduate students and post-docs to invited attend out of a competitive field of 250 candidates from North, Central, and South America. The National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy sponsored his trip. We had the opportunity to talk to Perez to learn more about this rewarding experience.

MSE: What motivated you to attend this particular workshop?

Perez: Recently, I've started to implement TEM as a characterization tool in my research, so the topic was of interest to me. I also have a friend who had gone to a PASI workshop on different topic last summer. He said he learned a lot, had a lot of fun, and that it was free, so I decided to apply.

MSE: What kinds of lab activities and lectures were offered?

Perez: There were four lectures every weekday morning. In the afternoons there were hands-on sessions, discussion sessions and TEM sessions in which the professors were able to give examples pertaining to the lectures they had given.

MSE: How will this experience enhance your own research?

Perez: The wide variety of specialties of the professors, post-docs and students involved gave me a good overview of the powerful uses of TEM in many different fields. The professors at the workshop were very open to sitting down one-on-one with students and discussing how to better implement TEM in their research. I was also exposed to TEM methods that I previously didn't know about, which gave me new ideas on how to use it to my advantage in my research.

MSE: What was your favorite part of the trip?

Perez: I think my favorite part of the trip was meeting and spending time with the other participants at the workshop. The people who attended were almost all from different schools, and in most cases hadn't met any of the other participants. Unlike in a regular conference, where people spend most of their spare time with fellow group members rather than making friends with new people, this situation helped me to branch out and meet a wide variety of people involved in TEM.

For more information about the Pan American Advanced Studies institute, please visit:

Published August 14, 2006