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,



William Aquite Aguilar

Postdoctoral Research Fellow


William earned his PhD from UW-Madison in 2014. He joined the Grainger Institute in 2015.
Contact William:




Betsy Kocour

Administrative Assistant

screen-shot-2016-10-23-at-1-41-57-pmBetsy Kocour will receive her Bachelor’s Degree in Finance and Economics in May of 2019 from the University of Wisconsin- Madison. She joined the Grainger Institute of Engineering in June 2017. She also works as a Financial Director for VETS.
Contact Betsy:


Felix Lu

Assistant Director for Industrial Outreach

lu_felix-2Felix 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 earned her BA degree from UW-Madison in 2010. She joined the Grainger Institute for Engineering in March 2016. Prior to that, she worked in higher education in Boston, MA where she managed business operations and coordinated governance and development efforts.
Contact Page: (608) 265-7953,


Angela Pakes

Assistant Director for New Technology Directions


Angela 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,