Outstanding Graduate, Fall 2020
Ted Bulen has a family and a full-time job on top of being a materials science and engineering student. The hard work needed to succeed in all three roles inspires him to set a good example for others.
“I give training classes for my employer, teaching technicians how to repair equipment as well as model safety as part of my daily job duties,” says Bulen. “More importantly, being a first-generation college graduate with both of my kids in grade school, I feel the importance of role modeling the value of working hard to achieve your goals.”
For Bulen, the materials science and engineering course content looked challenging, yet interesting.
“Looking at all of the interactions of matter that make up materials on a quantum scale and how all those pieces fit together is truly fascinating,” says Bulen. “Once we really got into Schrodinger’s equation and quantum mechanics, we started talking about wave-particle duality and superposition. I was completely hooked.”
Assistant Professor Sefaattin Tongay’s materials synthesis class was one of the first classes Bulen took at ASU and it helped cement materials science and engineering was what he wanted to pursue.
“We learned many different materials synthesis and deposition techniques, their applications, and why one would choose one method over another,” says Bulen. “The exams were exhausting to say the least, but Sef’s teaching style is such that no one really seemed to mind the difficulty because we were learning so much.”
Bulen says that his capstone project was “hands down” his favorite at ASU.
“My team and I researched and designed a noise-canceling, semi-transparent film to be applied on windows or walls that could actively attenuate, or cancel, unwanted noise,” he explains.
Bulen’s long term plans include studying for the Professional Engineer exam,. He hopes to someday get to be a senior engineer with the opportunity to welcome and train the next generation.
“When I started this journey, I thought I was smart,” says Bulen. “Now I know I’m not. Knowing what you don’t know is half the battle, and I’ve learned how to look at problems from a much more analytical approach, which I really enjoy. The biggest achievement for me is just making it to this finish line. Graduating. Moving on to the next chapter in life. And I look forward to it.”