Materials science grad is definitely scientist material

Hannah Pichman, long blonde hair and plaid scarf, stands in a pumpkin patch.

Since high school, Hannah Pichman has looked up to her science teachers and professors as role models. Now, the spring 2021 graduate of the U of M College of Science and Engineering wants to become a mentor for future scientists, too.

She can’t say enough about the chemical engineering & materials science faculty.

“I love every professor I’ve had in the department,” Pichman says. “They’re dedicated to helping you. It’s really clear they don't just care about their grad students—they care about their undergrads, too.”

After working in Associate Professor Vivian Ferry’s lab, which focuses on nanostructured materials for applications like solar energy, Pichman wants to continue researching photonics and electric materials in graduate school, with the hope of someday having her own lab.

All swords of neat stuff

Pichman was part of Material Advantage, a U of M materials science student group that competes in national ceramic mug-making and bladesmithing competitions. The pandemic preempted meetings this year, but she and other students still got to design and forge their own sword blades for fun.

“A lot of other universities, from what I hear, focus more on metals and metallurgy, but we've dipped our toes in everything,” Pichman says. “I feel like I have the foundation to do what I want in the future.”

On a more serious note, after her mother was diagnosed with cancer in Pichman’s freshman year, she got involved with Camp Kesem, a national organization that supports children of parents with cancer. The pandemic limited participation, but after just one in-person camp visit before the lockdown, Pichman is eager to stay involved when she becomes a graduate student at the University of Illinois this fall. 

Read more about Pichman.