“It’s Alright to Rely on Others, and to Ask Questions”

By Alec Arbia, Written Communications Assistant 

photo of Benjamin Labkovsky, undergraduate materials science and engineering (mse) major at UConn.

Benjamin Labkovsky, undergraduate materials science and engineering (mse) major at UConn.

“I stumbled upon materials science and engineering,” said Ben Labkovsky, senior materials science and engineering (mse) major at UConn. “I started as a physiology and neurobiology major and found that it was a terrible fit for me immediately. When searching for a new major, I decided to read the descriptions for the majors at UConn. Once I saw materials science and engineering, a field I’d never even thought of before, I was instantly intrigued and wanted to give it a try. Thankfully, I did, and I’ve been in love with it ever since!”
When asked what professor impacted him most, Labkovsky decided he would have to say Professor Leek. “Between classes being moved online, being a commuter student, and transferring late into the major, I found myself really disconnected from the rest of my class. Once we were back in person, I started taking Professor Leek’s lab classes. I was able to find a new appreciation for mse, especially since her passion for the subject is contagious. She’s helped me many times during the two years I have known her. This past year alone with she wrote a letter of recommendation for me and helped me through Senior Design. I feel that I have newfound confidence in myself and the questions that I ask because of her.”
For three semesters now Labkovsky has worked as a teaching assistant. “Being a TA has expanded my communication skills and time management, and has helped me retain the knowledge taught in the courses. It’s fulfilling to help students with problems and be supportive of them when they need it. Although it can be overwhelming when a class has a large number of students, I’m glad I decided to do it.”
One of Labkovsky’s favorite parts of the mse major is how tight-knit of a community it is. “I’ve been able to communicate with other students in the major, and we’ve been able to help each other and be sources for each other. I feel I’ve been able to excel since I have friends who I can bounce ideas and questions off of.”
This relates to Labkovsky’s advice to other mse students: “It’s alright to rely on others, and to ask questions. I found myself enjoying my education and understanding material the most when I was discussing topics with my friends, and we were working together to solve problems.”
In regards to the future, Labkovsky’s current career goal is to become a patent lawyer. “I’ve always wanted to be a lawyer, but I was never sure of what to pursue until the end of high school. With the way materials and equipment are advancing, I thought being a patent lawyer for material science would be a great idea. Material selection can be a defining characteristic for a patent to succeed, and I hope to use my knowledge to help those coming up with patents for material-based needs. My degree in mse should make me more approachable and a better candidate for these matters.” Labkovsky will be graduating in August 2023.

Published: April 28, 2023

Categories: news, undergraduate laboratories, undergraduate students

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