BUFFALO, N.Y. -- University at Buffalo PhD graduate Luisa
Whittaker has won the Materials Research Society's (MRS) Graduate
Student Gold Award, which recognizes excellence in academic
achievements and materials research.
The Gold Award is the highest honor that MRS bestows on graduate
students, and Whittaker was one of only six graduate researchers to
receive the award at the 2011 MRS Fall Meeting last week. Judges
selected her from a pool of 195 applicants.
Whittaker, a Fulbright scholar who completed her PhD in
chemistry this year, was lead author of seven papers in
peer-reviewed journals while studying at UB.
Her dissertation research focused on vanadium oxide, a material
that could one day find utility in energy-efficient 'smart' windows
that reflect heat only on hot days. As a key member of an
interdisciplinary research team, Whittaker conducted research that
helped demonstrate that preparing vanadium oxide as a nanomaterial
instead of in bulk gave it properties that could be useful in smart
windows and ultrafast microelectronics.
"I am very excited to bring this award to UB, as the school that
gave me the opportunity to pursue my doctorate degree," said
Whittaker, who is now a postdoctoral researcher at Princeton
University. "On the other hand, I feel very pleased to see that the
research performed at UB has impacted the science community and can
also be comparable to research efforts performed at top Ivy League
Whittaker, an international student from Panama, began her
studies at UB in 2007. She completed her PhD in just four
Her success has been a point of pride for Sarbajit Banerjee, the
assistant professor of chemistry who served as her mentor and
dissertation advisor. Banerjee also joined UB in 2007, and
Whittaker was his very first student.
"I am really, really proud," Banerjee said after learning that
Whittaker had won the Gold Award, which he described as the highest
honor a student can receive in recognition of materials research.
"It is incredible that she has won this award. The award is a
testament to her incredible intellect and creativity, as well as
her remarkable work ethic."
Besides receiving the Graduate Student Gold Award, Whittaker
also took second place in the 2011 MRS Fall Meeting's "Science as
Art" competition, winning for an image entitled "A Perfect Night
Under the Microscope."
The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public
university, a flagship institution in the State University of New
York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB's
more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through
more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree
programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of
the Association of American Universities.
About the Materials Research Society Graduate Student Awards: http://www.mrs.org/gsa/
New Research Brings Us Closer to Windows That Block Heat Only on
Hot Days: http://www.buffalo.edu/news/12460
Faces and Voices of UB, Sarbajit Banerjee and Luisa Whittaker: