University of Wisconsin–Madison

Staff

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DAN THOMA

Director
Portrait of Dan ThomaDr. Thoma joined the Grainger Institute for Engineering as Director in June 2015.  Prior to that, he was the Deputy Division Leader for the Materials Science and Technology (MST) Division at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), a 250 person organization ($100M annual budget) focused on materials processing and research. From 2005 to 2013, he was the Director of the Materials Design Institute at LANL, a collaborative educational research program with the University of California, Davis, College of Engineering, where he is still an adjunct professor. He received his B.S. degree in Metallurgical Engineering from the University of Cincinnati and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Metallurgical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dr. Thoma’s research interests include physical metallurgy, with a particular focus on microstructural development during materials processing.  He has over 125 publications and 300 presentations, and his technical efforts have been devoted to alloying theory, the thermodynamics and kinetics of phase transformations (both liquid/solid and solid/solid transitions), and property response as a function of microstructural evolution.  Dr. Thoma has been active within The Minerals, Metals, Materials Society (TMS), having served as 2003 TMS President, on the Board of Directors as Programming Director, and as chair and member of multiple committees.  He was also active within the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers (AIME), where he was the 2008 President.  Dr. Thoma was also President of the Federation of Materials Societies (FMS) in 2009-2010, and a member of the Board of Trustees for the United Engineering Foundation (UEF) in 2008-2011. He received the Distinguished Service Award from both TMS (2007) and AIME (2011), LANL’s 2007 Fellow’s Prize for Leadership, and was US Chair for a Joint Working Group on Nuclear Materials with the United Kingdom.  His materials expertise was recognized in 2008 by being elected as a Fellow of ASM International as well as the University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Engineering Distinguished Achievement Award (2010). Contact Dan: (608) 265-7953, dthoma@wisc.edu

 

Staff

Felix Lu

Assistant Director for Industrial Outreach

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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, fplu@wisc.edu

 

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, pmetcalf@wisc.edu

 

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: ahee@wisc.edu

 

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, angela.pakes@wisc.edu

 

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, mthevamaran@wisc.edu

 

MADELINE WATCHMAKER

Marketing and Communications Coordinator

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Madeline is a senior in the Wisconsin School of Business studying Marketing and International Business with a certificate in Spanish. She joined the Grainger Institute in September 2016, and after taking a semester off to study abroad in Spain, she has now returned as our new marketing and communications coordinator. Contact Madeline: (608) 890-1562, mwatchmaker@wisc.edu