MSE Alumna Profile: Dr. Jacquelynn Garofano

By Giorgina Paiella


Dr. Jacquelynn Garofano as featured in Connecticut Magazine’s “40 Under 40” article in January 2013.

Name: Dr. Jacquelynn Garofano
Hometown: Milford, CT
Graduating Class: Ph.D. in (Sept) 2011 – Participated in 2012 Commencement

Why did you choose to study at the University of Connecticut? 
I chose to attend graduate school at UConn because I wanted to stay in CT and pursue a new discipline. (I studied physics as an undergrad.)  I learned about UConn from my undergraduate advisor and she recommended the MSE program and Dr. Aindow to me. I was interested in materials research with a focus on electron microscopy characterization and I knew this was the program I wanted to be in, as it was highly regarded.  

What first attracted you to the Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) graduate program?
I studied physics and chemistry as an undergrad. I graduated with a B.S. (Honors) in Physics at Southern CT State University (SCSU). During my undergrad, I started to do research in the lab and it was then that I learned about materials science. Prior to this, I had no idea what materials science and engineering was about. MSE was attractive to me because it was an interdisciplinary field with a lot of breadth. Having studied the fundamental sciences (physics and chemistry), I knew I wanted to venture into a science and engineering discipline that would be challenging and different for my graduate studies.

What was your favorite MSE class and why? 
I think that the MSE program has great faculty. I enjoyed all of the classes that I took; most notably, I really enjoyed taking classes with Dr. Alpay – he has a way of making difficult content interesting and comprehensible. If I had to choose, I’d have to say that the “Transmission Electron Microscopy” course taught by Dr. Aindow was my favorite class. I was able to learn much more about TEM which helped to reinforce my research and it had a hands-on (lab) component which I appreciated.

What research, extracurricular activities, internships, or other experiences were you involved with as a student?
At UConn, I founded the Materials Research Society (MRS) University Chapter in 2008 and served as its President for two years (2008 – 2010). I served on the Executive Committee of the Material Advantage Student Chapter for three years (2006 – 2009). Material Advantage was an organization that did a great deal of outreach both on campus and within the local community. I also served as a Chapter Representative on the MSE Faculty-Student Liaison Committee for two years (2007 – 2009).

What work did you complete for your thesis/dissertation?
My expertise is in materials characterization, primarily transmission electron microscopy (TEM). My Master’s thesis research focused on high-resolution electron microscopy characterization of laser-processed Ni-based superalloys. My doctoral dissertation research involved microstructural characterization to study the phase evolution and homogeneity of magnesia/yttria nanocomposites for optical components.

What have you been doing since you graduated and how has your materials education influenced your job or other involvements?
I joined United Technologies Research Center in East Hartford in Sept. 2011 (after finishing my Ph.D.). I am a Senior Research Scientist in the Measurement Science group. Working in industry, I am exposed to a lot of different materials and applications, learning new things all the time. While I find that on-the-job training and inquiry is necessary at times, I am still able to leverage my characterization skills/talents (e.g. electron microscopy techniques) and my knowledge of MSE to contribute to projects.

Looking back on your time at UConn, do you have any advice or recommendations for students to have the best experience here?
My advice to students would be to try to gain as much experience as you can: research experiences, extracurricular activities and university service/volunteerism. All will serve you well and will make you an attractive candidate for either graduate studies or entering into the workforce. Networking is important so take advantage of opportunities. Don’t be afraid to be inquisitive.  Be mindful that it’s acceptable, and sometimes better, to say “I don’t know” rather than trying to speak to something you are not familiar with.

What are your future academic and career goals?
I’ve been in the working world for two years so I feel that I am still in the formative years of my career. I think at this point in my life, I’d just like to continue to learn and grow and see where my career will take me.

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