Students

The Student Council (StC)

Students,

Welcome to the Microscopy Society of America (MSA) Student Council (StC) website! We are excited to provide a platform for students, postdocs, and early-career professionals to network, share experiences, discuss research, and simply get involved with the most dynamic group of young professionals that microscopy and microanalysis has to offer. Undergraduate and graduate students, now is the time to take advantage of opportunities to meet people from your discipline and others to develop collaborations and begin to build your professional network. MSA StC is a great place to get started. Our Pre-meeting Congress (PMCx60) has proven to be a perennial success bringing together medal winners, student scholars and sponsoring exhibitors. The PMCx60 provides the opportunity for young microscopists to communicate their research through a weekend of presentations and posters. Additionally, social activities create an unparalleled opportunity to network with MSA council members and industry representatives. The PMCx60 is the premier event for students, postdocs, and early-career professionals – unlike any other, unmatched by any other society! We provide opportunities for leadership through the growing StC and PMCx60 planning committee. This year we are introducing mid-year programming to enhance professional skills.

As a growing community, and an international one, we hope to take advantage of electronic communications and social media platforms to connect students and young scientists world-wide. Postdocs and early-career professionals, we value your experience and insight and hope to foster mentorship opportunities for our emerging students in the field. Involvement in MSA StC builds more than just your professional network, it fosters friendships and bolsters your professional skills. Consider membership in MSA and get involved in StC – We need you to help our community grow! Email StC for more information on leadership opportunities and follow us on social media for updates on events.

Best Regards,

The Student Council
Email: Email

Get to know the Student Council officers. Each year new students are elected to these positions to develop new programs and events for students at the yearly M&M meetings. Click on the office title to learn more about the responsibilities involved in holding leadership within the Student Council.

Erica Stevens

President
Erica Stevens
PhD Student, NDSEG Fellow
Materials Science & Engineering
University of Pittsburgh

 

Cameron Varano

Past-President
Cameron Varano
Research Assistant Professor
Center for Structural Oncology
Biomedical Engineering
Penn State University

 

Abinash Kumar

President-Elect
Abinash Kumar
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

 

Aubrey Penn

Secretary
Aubrey Penn
North Carolina State University

 

Jackson Spurling

Treasurer
Jackson Spurling
University of Tennessee - Knoxville

 

Eric Hoglund

PMCx60 Chair
Eric Hoglund
University of Virginia

 

President

Erica Stevens

Erica Stevens
PhD Student, NDSEG Fellow
Materials Science & Engineering
University of Pittsburgh

Nothing excites me more than microscopes and microscopy. The ability to see matter from a vastly different perspective, the unique opportunity to fuse art and science, and the possibilities for reaching non-technical audiences through visual appeal is absolutely the best of all worlds for me.

I am a fifth-year Materials Science and Engineering PhD student at the University of Pittsburgh with Dr. Markus Chmielus. My primary research focuses on additive manufacturing (3D printing) of functional materials, particularly magnetocaloric materials (which change temperature when a magnetic field is applied). I use scanning electron microscopy, electron backscatter diffraction, and micro-computed tomography as primary characterization tools.

When I first discovered my passion for microscopes, I made the decision to attend the Microscopy & Microanalysis conference in 2016 in Columbus, OH — the experience fully solidified my resolve to work towards a career in microscopy. Throughout the conference, with each new person I met, all I could think is, "these are my people, I belong here." It is a combination of this feeling of community and my overwhelming love for microscopy that led me to the StC; I want to meet more people, help other student/early-career microscopists connect with each other, and share my microscope-induced excitement. I served as the 2017-18 Regional Liaison Chair, and was elected to the President-Elect position at M&M 2018.

My hope is that everyone who finds their way to the StC will have an avenue for learning and networking and ultimately will think: "these are my people, I belong here."

President-Elect

Abinash Kumar

Abinash Kumar
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

I am a second year PhD student at Massachusetts Institute of Technology working with Prof. James LeBeau. Currently, I am working on finding the atomic scale origin for relaxor behavior in materials along with implementing machine learning algorithms in electron microscopy. I have been involved with the area of electron microscopy since my undergraduate at Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India. My previous experiences involve working with teams in organizing events during my college’s cultural and technical festival and mentoring few undergraduates. These experiences helped me to develop good communication and decision taking skills. As MSA StC provides a great platform for networking, I would like to expand this association by reaching out to many schools and the general public by organizing several events including fundraisers. It would be good to see MSA StC to lead in developing a large association for students across the globe with the help of several microscopy societies.

Past-President

Cameron Varano

Cameron Varano
Research Assistant Professor
Center for Structural Oncology
Penn State

I recently completed my doctorate at Virginia Tech. I work at the in the Center for Structural Oncology in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Penn State. My research is aimed at examining the link between protein structure and function in human disease. My work is predominantly focuses on the effects of post-translational modifications to the BRCA1-BARD1 protein complex in metastatic breast cancer. I combine biochemical assays and cryo-EM to gain insights into the mechanisms of disease progression. The goal is to elucidate how BRCA1, an imperative tumor suppressor, is silenced. The knowledge gained could impact how metastatic disease is both screened and treated.

My interest in service on the MSA Student Council stems of a desire to have a wider interaction with individuals within the world of microscopy. In 2016 I attended and gave a talk at M&M in Columbus, OH. It was an incredible professional development opportunity. It was in Columbus that I had a serendipitous selfie and tweet which connected me to the MSA Student Council. I participated in the many events at the meeting and was extended a formal invitation to join the Student Council and serve as Secretary. Having benefited greatly from these experiences, I am enjoying the opportunity to help shape the Student Council.

At the 2017 Student Council meeting, I was elected to serve as president elect for the MSA Student Council. My goal as president is to provide a platform for professional and technical network, while enhancing engagement and involvement in the society throughout the year. I hope to see you in Portland, OR in August.

Treasurer

Jackson Spurling

Jackson Spurling
University of Tennessee - Knoxville

The opportunities to serve as Region VIII Liaison during 2017-18 and as Secretary during 2018-19 have allowed me to become involved with the MSA StC leadership, particularly in the area of member outreach. In these positions, I have assisted the MSA Student Council chiefly through its goal to provide networking platforms to student members. This has been accomplished through having dialogue with regional members as well as through activities like webinars and social media outreach. I would like to continue to contribute to the Student Council by supporting these and other methods of outreach to student members through the position of Treasurer. I have been honored to serve with StC these last two years, and I hope to be given the opportunity to continue to make MSA a welcoming organization for new and current members by supporting current and future outreach initiatives.

Secretary

Aubrey Penn

Aubrey Penn
North Carolina State University

I am a third-year graduate student in Materials Science and Engineering at North Carolina State University working with Profs. James LeBeau and Divine Kumah. My current research is focused on explaining interfacial phenomena at the atomic scale in complex oxide thin films using a variety of scanning transmission electron microscopy techniques. Before coming to NCSU, I received my master’s degree in chemistry from Western Kentucky University, where I first became acquainted with electron microscopy. Since then I have grown in my knowledge of the technique and love of the microscopy field, in part, through my association with MSA. I have been a member for two years and had the pleasure to attend my first M&M Conference in Baltimore in 2018. It is an honor to serve the Society and its members as the Student Council Secretary. As secretary, I will work to maintain the welcoming and supportive community I have come to know.

PMCx60 Chair

Eric Hoglund

Eric Hoglund
University of Virginia

I am currently a PhD student at the University of Virginia working with Prof. James Howe. My research focuses on characterizing the electronic, vibrational, and structural state of grain boundaries and interphase boundaries. My interest in community involvement takes many aspects, from teaching other graduate students through a teaching fellowship to teaching grade school students in the Charlottesville area through NANO days. Serving on UVA’s MSE Graduate Student Body council has also provided another means of allowing the local scientific community to thrive. After being made aware of the Postdocs and Early-Career Professionals in Microscopy and Microanalysis (PMCx60) at my first M&M meeting in St. Louis, MO I made sure to attend the next year in Baltimore MD. The great experiences in Baltimore, MD encouraged me to seek a position and serve as PMCx60 Physical Sciences co-chair for M&M 2019 so that I could help provide the same opportunity to other students in the larger Microscopy and Microanalysis community. Now I hope to do the same as PMCx60 Chair.