• Matt_s Swirls

Hyunki Kim

Senior Research Scientist - 3M Company

Before I joined PSE, I pursued my undergraduate degrees with double majors in Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) and Nuclear and Quantum Engineering (NQE) at Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST). After graduation, I joined Professor Duk Young Jeon’s group to pursue my M.S. degree and studied synthesis of quantum dots (QDs) for optoelectronic applications. This experience led me to my first professional job on the research staff of Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology (SAIT), a core research center at Samsung. At SAIT, I worked with Dr. Eunjoo Jang’s research team and contributed to the development of new QDs, which were eventually commercialized as the first cadmium-free QD-TV. During this time, I realized that the QD cannot be used as it is, and only with a polymer matrix, it can be brought into the real world. This motivated me to pursue my Ph.D. degree in PSE to study interfaces between polymers and nanoparticles.

When I entered the PSE program, I wanted to be a co-advised student, believing that this pathway can bring a lot of learning. During the adviser selection process, I was fortunate to be selected as a co-advised student by Professors Todd Emrick and Ryan Hayward, studying various aspects of functional nanocomposites. After I finished qualification exams and started to focus on research work, I realized that PSE offers a wide range of state-of-the-art research facilities, a huge amount of resources, and a highly collaborative culture, all important for studying the interdisciplinary fields comprising polymer physics, polymer chemistry, mechanics, and engineering. Throughout this Ph.D. journey, I ended up contributing to 11 academic publications, including 4 first-authored papers in PNAS, Adv. Mater., ChemComm, and Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., all thanks to my wonderful advisors, collaborators, and PSE community!

One thing I would like to mention is that I was also a husband and a father of two children while I was studying in PSE. During this time, there was a lot of support from UMass that I really appreciated: affordable and safe family housing, various family/child-supporting programs, and PSE’s inclusive environments/events where everyone is welcome. For a parenting student who is planning to join PSE, this may be an additional important merit of PSE for you to consider.

Currently, I am working as a senior research scientist at 3M Corporate Research Materials Laboratory, developing functional adhesives for optoelectronic applications in Dr. Jason Clapper’s group. When I started to work at 3M, it became very clear that I was lucky to take Prof. Crosby’s adhesion class in my final semester! Also, I keep revisiting the first-year class notebooks as they are so valuable for my current research project at 3M. I am grateful to be connected to UMass PSE networks in industry and academia, which help me to perform my research better and develop my career. I highly value my time at UMass PSE and this is my strong foundation to grow as a scientist!