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Sam Figueroa

Hi, I'm Sam

I am an AEP CAMP, McNair and TRELS Scholar and a Muir College student, majoring in Nanoengineering. My pronouns are he/him/his.

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UC San Diego AEP undergrad scholar

Area of Research

Ultra-high temperature resistant alloys and ceramics

Why did you decide to get involved in undergraduate research?

Coming to UCSD as a freshman, I dreamed of the opportunity to use my intellectual abilities to serve a grand purpose and was eager to start my journey in STEM and find my place in the massive world of scientists and engineers. During events at UCSD like Triton Day or the IDEA Center's Summer Engineering Institute (SEI), many student panels described undergraduate research as a chance to contribute to the scientific community while discovering a genuine passion for a particular field of study. I decided that I had to get involved in undergraduate research as soon as possible, in a sense following my calling towards becoming an engineering scientist.

How did you get your start?

I began by googling my major department website and sifting through faculty member profiles. I came across Dr. Marc Meyers' bio and immediately I was drawn to the description of his research in the mechanical characterization of bioinspired nanostructures. I found his laboratory's website, read some of his papers, and the following week, I went to his office and introduced myself. I told him I was fascinated by his work and asked questions about some of his papers I had read. I stated that I would love to work in his lab, and after a couple weeks of staying in contact and attending his lab group meetings, he gave me a position in his lab and the rest is history.

My Future Plans

I want to pursue a Ph.D. in materials science and engineering conducting research on the mechanical analysis of bioinspired nanostructures. My career goal is to work as a project scientist at a government agency developing next-generation armor technologies. In the later future, I hope to be a professor at an educational research institution where I can help mentor and support young students within my own lab group.

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