The active learning provided from the main courses in materials science and engineering inspired me to look more carefully at the science behind the next generation of batteries
Victoria Castagna Ferrari, Ph.D. '24
Hometown: Sao Paulo, Brazil
Victoria Castagna Ferrari was passionate about energy storage devices when she was an undergraduate student. But while studying the fabrication processes of semiconductors, she discovered that she needed more than just a technological background. She would then come to the University of Maryland to gain expertise in materials science.
As a doctoral student graduating next May, Castagna Ferrari focuses her research on the correlation between the nature of thin-film solid-state batteries and its manufacturing challenges. She works on the engineering of thin-film battery interfaces–a layered structure of moving particles with positive and negative charges that affect device performance, as well as the development of an optimization protocol for manufacturing.
“The active learning provided from the main courses in materials science and engineering inspired me to look more carefully at the science behind the next generation of batteries,” said Castagna Ferrari.
She says that the opportunity to apply fundamental concepts to research experiments has allowed her to move away from aimless testing trials and get closer to the scientific answers she was looking for. As a researcher, she aspires to serve as an inspiration for other Latina women STEM.
Professor Gary Rubloff helped Castagna Ferrari identify the focus of her doctoral thesis, and is an active supporter of her scientific endeavors. She recalls their first interaction, in which Rubloff opened up her mind to many scientific questions she would later find the answers to. His mentorship has been an influential force in her formative years as a future faculty member.
“My decision to continue in academia was inspired by the research community that Rubloff created,” she said.
The doctoral student is the recipient of 2023-2024 Ann G. Wylie Dissertation Fellowship, the 2022 Outstanding Research Assistant Award and was also nominated to the Future Faculty and Flagship Fellowships.
Following graduation, Castagna Ferrari plans to work as a postdoctoral researcher to later transition into a faculty role in a United States institution.