University of Wisconsin–Madison




Portrait of Dan ThomaDan Thoma earned his PhD in metallurgical engineering and minor in chemistry at UW-Madison in 1992. He joined UW-Madison as the institute director in June 2014. Prior to that, he was deputy division leader for the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) Materials Science and Technology Division. Early in his career at LANL, he was charged with creating an alloy design and development team, then moved on to direct the laboratory’s Materials Design Institute, a collaborative research program with the University of California. In that role, his responsibilities included interacting with several universities and developing a talent pipeline for the lab. He also became an adjunct professor of materials science and chemical engineering at UC-Davis, where he taught classes and supervised student research. In 2013, he took over as deputy division leader for the LANL Materials Science and Technology Division, a 220-person organization that focuses on materials processing and research. Contact Dan: (608) 265-7953,



Felix Lu

Assistant Director for Industrial Outreach


Felix grew up in southern California, studied engineering physics and materials science at UC San Diego and worked at the Boeing Satellite Development Center in El Segundo. At Boeing, he worked on technology qualification of electronic and optical materials and components for satellites, in particular, III-V HBTs and HEMTs, as well as radiation performance of optical fiber and electronic subsystems. He then moved to North Carolina and worked as a research scientist at Duke University. At Duke, he worked with Prof. Jungsang Kim on Si/III-V fusion bonding for avalanche photodetectors for applications in quantum computation. The following year, Felix and Jungsang co-founded a startup company, Applied Quantum Technologies, building MEMS based arrays of high performance, non-blocking, optical switch systems, doing everything from the MEMS design, post processing, characterization, packaging, and optical and electronics system integration. After spending 8 years at the startup Felix then moved to Madison, Wisconsin, where he has worked as a staff member in the clean room before moving on with teaching responsibilities and becoming the industry outreach liaison for the MRSEC and the Grainger Institute for Engineering. Contact Felix: (608) 262-6099,


Page Metcalf

Program Associate

pagemetcalfPage Metcalf joined the Grainger Institute for Engineering in March 2016. Prior to that, she worked in higher education in Boston where she managed business operations and coordinated governance and development efforts. Contact Page: (608) 265-7953,


adrienne nienow

Science Writer and Graphic Artist

headshot-2015Adrienne joined the Grainger Institute for Engineering in August 2017 after three and a half years in the advertising industry where she wrote extensively for clients in state economic development, healthcare IT, genetic engineering, water technology and electrical services. Before that, Adrienne took care of the marketing and communications for a high-efficiency electric charger OEM. A graduate of UW-Madison’s Life Sciences Communications program, Adrienne will be putting her science writing, editing, graphic design and marketing-communications skills to work in pursuit of research funding for the College of Engineering. Contact Adrienne:


Angela Pakes

Assistant Director for New Technology Directions

pakes_ahlman_angela_78-2Angela Pakes earned her BS in Geological Engineering with a BS in Geology/Geophysics at UW-Madison in 1996, and her MSE in Civil & Environmental Engineering from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor in 1997. She joined the Grainger Institute for Engineering at UW-Madison in August 2016. Prior to that, Angela led two research centers in the College of Engineering, held a leadership position as the external relations manager for the UW Office of Sustainability, and led the green building design and development of several major building projects for UW-Madison including Union South, the Wisconsin Energy Institute, Human Ecology and the School of Education Building. Prior to joining the UW, Angela was Senior Engineer for Ford Motor Company Land Development Corporation. At Ford, Angela managed construction and engineering aspects of various Ford Motor Company facility projects worldwide utilizing Lean engineering, Six-sigma and LEED design principles and practices. She also led a revitalized branding and marketing design development for retail facilities worldwide. Prior to working at Ford, Angela was the Midwest Regional Director for ENTRIX where she built a consulting operation from the ground up while becoming a well-established expert in environmental due diligence and large facility and infrastructure decommissioning. Since joining UW-Madison, Angela became an adjunct professor of geological engineering where she has developed and led classes as well as supervised student researchers. Contact Angela: (608) 890-4966,


Mythili Thevamaran

Assistant Researcher

dsc_0014Mythili Thevamaran earned her B.Sc.Eng. (Hons.) degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka in 2008, and M.S. degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Houston in 2017. She joined the Grainger Institute for Engineering in August 2017. Prior to that, she worked as a Research Assistant at the California Institute of Technology, and at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich), Switzerland. Before moving to USA, she was a Project Engineer at the Mahaweli Authority of Sri Lanka, which is responsible for major dams and reservoirs in Sri Lanka. Contact Mythili: (608) 265-1444,


screen-shot-2016-01-02-at-6-46-28-pmMadeline Watchmaker

Marketing and Communications Coordinator

Contact Madeline: (608) 890-1562,