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Three Delaware students win SAMPE recognition

June 21, 2002--Three University of Delaware students won high honors during the 2002 Society for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering Student Symposium International Competition, held as part of the 47th International SAMPE Symposium and Exhibition May 12-16 in Long Beach, Calif.

Erik Thostenson earned a first-place award in the Ph.D.-level category for his work on “Multi-Scale Hybrid Composites: Carbon Nanotubes as Selective Reinforcement in Carbon Fiber Composites.” As the winner, Thostenson will receive a society-sponsored trip to the SAMPE Europe conference in March 2003.

This is the second year in a row in which a member of the UD chapter of SAMPE has placed first in the competition. Maureen Foley was the winner in 2001.

Witchuda Suwanwatana also competed in the Ph.D. level at the May conference, winning fourth place and a $300 cash award for work on “Hysteresis Heating Behavior of Ni Particulate Polymer Films.”

Participating at the master's degree level, Prakriti Tayalia won third place and a $300 cash award for work on “Structural Monitoring via Embedded Magnetic Wires.”

Judges use several criteria, including technical content, originality, significance of ideas and delivery, in making their decisions. "It is always nice to receive any award, but it's particularly meaningful when it's based on technical merit as judged by others in your field," Thostenson said.

Suwanwatana and Tayalia both gave credit to their adviser, John W. Gillespie Jr., a professor and director of the University's Center for Composite Materials.

In the Baltimore/Washington regional student symposium, Suwanwatana won second place in a poster session and fellow graduate student John Brody won third place for his presentation. Honing his skills for future competitions, John Yakubic, a junior working on a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering, received a SAMPE Engineering and Science Undergraduate Award of $1,000, one of only 10 available nationwide.