A Home in the Sciences

On a given day, you might find Ryan Fox in the lab synthesizing new high-performance polymer-graphene nanocomposites or volunteer teaching elementary school students about polymers. It’s all par for the course as a Ph.D.candidate in the Department of Applied Physical Sciences, the first new science department launched in the UNC College of Arts & Sciences in nearly 40 years.

Fox’s nanocomposite research in the lab of Professor Theo Dingemans has potential applications in a variety of industries, such as aerospace and automotive engineering. Strong yet lightweight and able to withstand extreme temperatures, these new structural and multifunctional materials, whose physical properties can be controlled, will “open the door to unforeseen applications,” said Fox. Beyond the lab, the college’s professional development and career-building opportunities set students like Fox up for success. “These programs are invaluable to students looking for guidance and support as we pursue our postgraduate career goals,” said Fox.

Ultimately, Carolina is the only place Fox could flourish: “I was drawn to apply to Carolina, and specifically the Department of Applied Physical Sciences, because of the world-class research being conducted here and the outstanding opportunities for personal and professional growth. Being surrounded by some of the best faculty in the world allows me to learn and expand my knowledge further than what I could accomplish at another institution


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