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Washington State University
CAS Connect September 2014

Aurora Clark to direct materials science, engineering program

A highly accomplished researcher and associate professor of chemistry, Aurora Clark will serve as interim director of WSU’s Materials Science and Engineering Program.

Chemist Aurora Clark will lead the Materials Science and Engineering Program at WSU.
Chemist Aurora Clark will lead the Materials Science and Engineering Program at WSU.

Clark has collaborated with MSEP faculty and supervised graduate students in the interdisciplinary program throughout her nearly 10 years at WSU. Her primary research focuses on designing novel materials and predicting the results of chemical reactions using unique and powerful computer algorithms and data-mining techniques that she developed here. Her pioneering work has been featured in Wired, ForbesGizmag, and other media.

“I am excited to have this wonderful opportunity to showcase the breadth of research in our program,” Clark said. “We have world-class professors tackling fundamental materials science from the atomic and molecular level all the way to device development, manufacturing, and commercialization.”

MSEP is a joint initiative between the College of Arts and Sciences and the Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture. Faculty expertise ranges from designing advanced nuclear energy technologies to making new materials for medical implants.

The program is the largest interdisciplinary doctoral program in materials science and engineering in the Northwest. Numerous graduates have gone on to work in academia, Fortune 500 companies, and national laboratories.

MSEP provides students access to cutting-edge equipment in mechanical, materials, civil, chemical, and biological engineering, as well as physics and chemistry. The facilities are considered among the best in the world, and feature a positron beam, which is used to study the tiny particles (positrons) that could one day allow for the possibility of antimatter propulsion.

“No single department has this kind of flexibility,” Clark said. “It gives current students access to infrastructure and professional development opportunities that are otherwise hard to come by. My goal as director is to grow the synergistic intersection of materials science and engineering.”

Clark, who joined the WSU faculty in 2005, earned her doctoral degree in physical chemistry at Indiana University in 2003 and bachelor’s degree in chemistry at Central Washington University in 1999.