MII Alumni Highlights: Joannie Chin
In late 2021, Joannie Chin was appointed Director of the Engineering Laboratory at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). MII is proud to celebrate her accomplishment, as she graduated from Virginia Tech in 1994, having earned her master's degree in chemistry and her Ph.D. in Materials Engineering Science. Her advisor was J.P. Wightman.
Dr. Chin reflects on her time with the Center for Adhesive and Sealant Sciences (CASS), which evolved into what we now know as MII, by saying:
"I had the opportunity to work with a fantastic group of faculty and students from other departments on interdisciplinary projects, and that really impressed upon me the need to seek solutions at the intersections of different scientific and engineering disciplines. Before coming to VT, I didn’t realize that adhesion was such a multidisciplinary problem – I was aware of the chemistry and surface components, but did not have a clue about the mechanics of an adhesive bond! MII/CASS provided a wonderful community of researchers that brought their perspectives to research issues in adhesion and composites, via joint research projects, academic courses, project reviews, and seminars.
"Both my M.S. and Ph.D. research at VT were focused on adhesive bonding of fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) composites, and after graduation, I was hired by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to carry out research on the use of FRP materials in civil infrastructure. So I have to credit and thank MII/CASS for starting me down a path that eventually led to my appointment at NIST. MII/CASS also provided resources for my research, including fellowships, travel to conferences, and other great benefits that enhanced my graduate school experience.
"When I think back to my graduate school days, I have to honestly say that they were among the best times in my life. And I would be utterly remiss in not acknowledging my awesome advisor, Dr. James Wightman (aka Doc), who was also the director of CASS while I was there at VT. Under his guidance, I learned how to ask the right questions and to look for creative ways to understand scientific problems. Doc’s passion for what he did was evident every day. He always said to me “there is no better job than the one I have, teaching and working with students!” I also have to thank my fantastic Ph.D. committee, which consisted of Dave Dillard, John Dillard, Tom Ward, and Ron Kander. We worked hard but also had a ton of fun; it was truly a time that I think back on very fondly. "