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Tripathy Fellows Honored for Outstanding Research

Each Student Received $6,500 Summer Stipend

Tripathy Fellows Abhishek Kumar and Jisun Im

By Edwin L. Aguirre

Two Ph.D. candidates — Abhishek Kumar in Physics and Jisun Im in Chemistry — have each been awarded the 2011 Tripathy Memorial Endowed Graduate Fellowship in recognition of their academic accomplishments and multidisciplinary research in the areas of materials science and polymer science. Each award consists of a $6,500 research stipend for the summer. 

Kumar received his master’s degree from the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur, India, in 2005. His current investigation deals with the development of a highly sensitive optical sensor that uses organic fluorescent materials to detect trace amounts of explosives in the air. His adviser is Prof. Jayant Kumar, director of UMass Lowell’s Center for Advanced Materials (CAM).

Kumar is also this year’s recipient of a $1,000 College of Sciences Graduate Research Scholar Award and has been named an Outstanding Graduate Student in Physics. He is currently involved in organizing the bi-annual Canadian-American-Mexican Graduate Student Physics Conference to be hosted this fall by the American Physical Society in Washington, D.C.

“I’m chairing the conference’s international organizing committee and it’s a great honor for me,” he says. “After I graduate, I plan to apply for a post-doc position and stick to doing research and teaching.”

Im received her master’s degree from Pusan National University in South Korea in 2005. She is now working on developing the “Mini Mutt,” a chemical sensor designed to detect organic vapors and explosives using gold nanoparticles and conducting polymers. Her adviser is Prof. James Whitten, chair of the Chemistry Department. Im and her co-researchers described the Mini Mutt in detail in the August 2011 issue of the journal Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical.

“Like Abhishek, I intend to apply for a post-doctoral fellowship so I can continue my research in polymer science and perhaps land an academic teaching position,” says Im, who was named the department’s Outstanding Graduate Student in Polymer Science for 2011.

Every year since 2003, the Tripathy fellowship is given in memory of the late Sukant K. Tripathy, an internationally recognized leader and renowned researcher in materials science and the founding director of the Center for Advanced Materials. He was a professor of chemistry and also served as the University’s provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs.

For more information about the Tripathy Memorial Endowed Graduate Fellowship, visit the CAM website.