page contents
University of Wisconsin–Madison


Kaila Bertsch, Postdoctoral Researcher

Kaila is a postdoctoral researcher working in the Materials Science and Engineering Department in collaboration with the Grainger Institute for Engineering and Dr. Dan Thoma. Her research focuses on investigating mechanical properties and microstructure of additively manufactured metals for the UW 2020 initiative, as well as solidification processes, advanced manufacturing techniques, and alloy design. Kaila obtained her PhD in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in December 2017 under the tutelage of Dean Ian Robertson. Her previous research areas focused on utilizing microstructural analysis of metals across length scales, particularly electron microscopy, to study mechanical properties and hydrogen embrittlement, with a focus on grain boundaries, dislocation interactions, and the evolution of plastic deformation. She was awarded the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship in 2013 and the NSF Graduate Research Opportunities Worldwide (GROW) scholarship in 2014 in collaboration with the Technical University of Denmark at Risø. She graduated magna cum laude with her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Texas A&M University in May 2012. Contact Kaila:

Felix Lu, Assistant Director for Industrial Outreach

Felix studied engineering physics and materials science at UC San Diego. Putting his education to work at the Boeing Satellite Development Center in El Segundo, he focused on technology qualification of electronic and optical materials and components for satellites—III-V HBTs and HEMTs—as well as radiation performance of optical fiber and electronic subsystems. Following his work at Boeing, Felix joined Duke University as a research scientist where he worked with Professor Jungsang Kim on Si/III-V fusion bonding for avalanche photodetectors for applications in quantum computation. The following year, Felix and Jungsang co-founded Applied Quantum Technologies, building MEMS based arrays of high performance, non-blocking, optical switch systems. After 8 years with the startup, Felix joined UW, initially working as a staff member in the clean room before moving on with teaching responsibilities and becoming the industry outreach liaison for MRSEC and the Grainger Institute for Engineering.  Contact Felix: (608) 262-6099,

Page Metcalf, Executive Assistant

Page joined the Grainger Institute for Engineering in March 2016 where she serves as the Institute's primary liaison and point of contact, and manages projects and flow of work. Prior to that, she worked as an executive assistant in a research laboratory at Boston Children's Hospital where she supported several principal investigators, including a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. Before that, she spent several years in the non-profit industry managing operations, governance, and development efforts. Contact Page: (608) 265-7953,

Rhiannon McCarthy, Administrative Assistant

Rhiannon is a junior at UW-Madison studying Advertising & Public Relations, with a certificate in Graphic Design. She joined the Grainger Institute for Engineering in February 2017 as an Administrative Assistant. Contact Rhiannon: (715) 302-5587,

Adrienne Nienow, Science Writer and Graphic Artist

Adrienne 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

Angela joined the Grainger Institute for Engineering in August 2016. Prior to that, Angela led two research centers in the UW 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 UW building projects, including Union South, the Wisconsin Energy Institute, and the School of Human Ecology and School of Education buildings. Since joining UW-Madison, Angela has also become a geological engineering adjunct professor, developing and leading classes and supervising student researchers. Prior to joining UW, Angela was Senior Engineer for Ford Motor Company Land Development Corporation. At Ford, Angela managed facility construction and engineering worldwide, utilizing Lean engineering, Six-sigma and LEED design principles and practices. She also led a revitalized branding and marketing design initiative for retail facilities worldwide. Prior to her time 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. She earned her BS in Geological Engineering with a BS in Geology/Geophysics at UW-Madison, and her MSE in Civil & Environmental Engineering from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. Contact Angela: (608) 890-4966,

Mythili Thevamaran, Laboratory Manager

Mythili 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,

Leave a Reply