Outstanding Graduate, Spring 2019
Benjamin Shindel has been an active participant within the materials science and engineering program in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. He cares about the success of the program and that of his peers.
“Materials science is a unique field among engineering disciplines,” says Shindel. “I chose it because of the fundamental way that materials scientists think about problems.”
Shindel, a student in Barrett, the Honors College, got involved with the Material Advantage student organization in his sophomore year and went on to serve as its president as a senior.
“I worked with the other members of the Material Advantage team to expand the scope of the organization, planning larger and more frequent events for our members,” says Shindel. “Additionally, I have tried to actively recruit first- and second-year materials science students to participate in our events and become acquainted with the other students and faculty in the materials science and engineering program.”
As president of Material Advantage, Shindel helped boost attendance at meetings and events and even helped get funding to send four students to the Materials Science and Technology Conference in Columbus, Ohio, where two members brought home the winner’s trophy at the ASM Domesday Competition in 2018.
Shindel’s work outside the classroom also extends to the lab where he has worked in Professor Peter Crozier’s research group for the past year.
“I am working on a project to simulate atomic structure around defects in energy materials such as ceria and titania,” says Shindel. “This project focuses on the interpretation of TEM imaging through simulation, and the use of density functional theory and molecular dynamics simulations to understand defect structure.”
Understanding the structure of materials like titania and ceria is critical for energy applications such as catalysis, water splitting and photovoltaics.
“All of those applications are particularly relevant to the energy needs and industries of the state of Arizona, where I have lived my whole life,” says Shindel. “I will be defending an honors thesis on this topic as part of the culmination of my degree through Barrett, the Honors College.”
Shindel, who will continue his education at Northwestern University to pursue a doctoral degree in materials science, has one piece of advice for those still in school.
“Set short-term and long-term goals for yourself,” he says. “Then, use every tool in your power to help yourself achieve them.”