• Matt_s Swirls

Feyza Dundar

I received my B.S degree in Chemistry from Koc University in Istanbul, Turkey in 2012. During my undergraduate, I worked in Prof. Iskender Yilgor’s lab on polyurethane thermoplastics. I received a scholarship for a summer REU program at Friedrich Schiller University Jena in Germany and worked with Dr. Jens Langer on organometallics. Exploring the research environment during my undergraduate inspired me to continue with a Ph.D. in polymer science. I chose UMass PSE because it has one of the top polymers research programs in the U.S. with leading, highly respected academics in their field. It offers fellowship and mentorship opportunities and provides comprehensive education on polymer chemistry, physic, and engineering.

I studied under the supervision of Prof. Watkins where I worked on nanoimprint lithography, nanoparticle formulation, and bioinspired surface engineering. I had many great opportunities including the chance to work on several industry and US Army projects. They were, all of them, extremely valuable for my career growth. After our invention on nanostructured surfaces, I received the NSF Innovation Corps (I-Corps) funding, a program supporting start-up ideas. NSF I-Corps was the most challenging program that I faced. It took me totally outside of my comfort zone, provided me entrepreneurship skills, and paved the way for many other opportunities. This experience gave me a significant advantage in getting my first job offer at Dow and then my current job at Facebook Reality Labs. I was so fortunate to work with Prof. Watkins, because, in addition to making a scientific contribution to the field, I gained leadership and management skills. I truly enjoyed my Ph.D. years.

After I completed my Ph.D. in 2018, during a campus interview - I received the job offer and started to work at Dow in the Packaging & Specialty Plastics Division. The entrepreneurship training influenced me to work on application development at customer interfaces. I had a wonderful experience at DOW and had a chance to work with great people. It was very fulfilling to work directly with customers where I was also motivated to work on new business development projects. The entrepreneurial skills I developed motivated me further to work on new technologies. Therefore, in 2019, I accepted an offer from Facebook Reality Labs to work on augmented reality glasses. It is very fascinating to be part of new emerging technologies and also work with top scientists in the field.

When I look back now, I am very happy and grateful that I chose UMass PSE. The friends that I made in PSE were an unexpected benefit that are with me to this day. PSE has a very open, inclusive, and diverse culture that has been a great support to me both personally and professionally. I am so proud to be a part of this family.