As we come to the end of an academic year like no other in modern memory, I am reminded of this quote from Colin Powell, “Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.”
MatSE faculty and staff have remained perpetually optimistic as they worked hard all year to ensure that MatSE students received a meaningful educational experience despite the constraints put in place to keep everyone safe from the global pandemic. You can read about the ways in which these efforts were recognized with awards and accolades from the department, college, and University in this newsletter.
In addition, our students have been perpetually optimistic, as well as incredibly industrious, despite the challenge of largely remote instruction. We were able to celebrate the graduation of our students in May in unique ceremonies in Beaver Stadium that were welcome steps towards normalcy.
Optimism additionally encompassed strong research productivity across the department as indicated by the stories in this newsletter. Of special note is the fact that the National Science Foundation renewed funding for the Materials Innovation Platform national user facility at Penn State, the Two-Dimensional Crystal Consortium (2DCC) for $20.1 million over the next five years. This is a significant accomplishment that recognizes the strength at Penn State in the growth, characterization, and modeling of two-dimensional materials. The 2DCC has thrived under the leadership of Joan Redwing, who will continue as the director of the 2DCC for the next five years.
This was also a year of change in the leadership of the department. After serving 14 years as associate head for undergraduate education, Allen Kimel will be stepping down from this position on June 30. Allen has had a tremendous positive impact on the department and will continue to do so as associate teaching professor. I am very pleased that Amy Robinson has agreed to serve in this key position and look forward to working with her.
I am also pleased to welcome Enrique Gomez to his new role as MatSE associate head for diversity, equity, and inclusion. He hit the ground running and, as you can see, brings tremendous energy and enthusiasm to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion.
This year we celebrate the rich history of the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences in this, its 125th anniversary year. While honoring the accomplishments of the past, I look with optimism to the future as we work to safely return to in-person instruction, research, and service this fall. I hope that I will be able to meet with you at an upcoming event or on the beautiful University Park campus later this year.
Susan B. Sinnott
Professor and Head of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering