Sposito Named L-3 Undergraduate Scholar

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MSE senior Alex Sposito (second from left) with his Hinman CEO teammates at a business plan competition in Beijing, China in 2010.

Department of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) senior Alex Sposito has been named a 2011-2012 L-3 Undergraduate Scholar by Clark School Corporate Partner Company L-3 Communications. The $4,150 merit-based scholarship is one of several funded by a $1 million gift to the Clark School from the company last year. The scholarships support students majoring in materials, electrical and computer, mechanical, and aerospace engineering, and are designed to encourage the recruitment of Clark School graduates into L-3 Communications' ranks.

For the past year, Sposito has worked as a research assistant in the Clark School's MEMS and Microfluidics Lab, directed by Department of Mechanical Engineering professor Don Devoe. There, he and his colleagues are using microfluidic technology to synthesize novel macroporous polymer microbeads, which they hope to functionalize for use in biosensing and explosive detection systems. Sposito is the co-author of a paper on the work scheduled to be presented at the 15th International Conference on Miniaturized Systems for Chemistry and Life Sciences in Seattle, Wa. in October.

"Alex's success can be attributed to the unusual combination of creativity, enthusiasm in working at the interface of multiple disciplines, and a strong entrepreneurial bent that helps him see the potential of the research output in serving real-world needs," says DeVoe.

Sposito has been active in research and internships off-campus as well. In the summer of 2011, he was an intern in General Electric Healthcare's Operation Management Leadership Program. He has also participated in consulting projects for Science Application International Corporation, in which he outlined emerging technologies and markets in the alternative energy and nanotechnology sectors. He is spending the Fall 2011 semester working as an Intern Analyst for Lux Research, a firm that provides strategic advice to companies utilizing emerging technologies, while studying abroad at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

Sposito, who minors in technology entrepreneurship, is a member of the Hinman CEOs program. In 2010, the venture he co-founded with his Hinman team was among the top five in the University of Maryland's Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship's China Business Plan Competition, held in partnership the Guanghua School of Management at Peking University in Beijing.

After graduation, Sposito plans to pursue a graduate degree in mechanical engineering to continue his research in MEMS and microfluidics. "Eventually," he says, "I hope to use my background in both engineering and entrepreneurship to spin off a business venture from my research."

Published September 23, 2011