Skip to content

Alyssa Olszewski

Materials Science and Engineering
Materials Science and Engineering

Why UC Merced

UC Merced's small and growing campus was a big reason why I chose to attend. Rather than feeling just like a number, UC Merced made me feel welcomed and valued. The faculty and classes offered made me feel excited to learn and helped me become more confident in my major. Watching how much UC Merced has transformed in my short 4 1/2 years has made me feel proud to have been apart of an unstoppable force of the Bobcats.

Why Your Major

I took a leap of faith when I chose the major as I knew I wanted a career that allowed my creativity and innovative ideas come to life. I heard about nanotechnology from my International Baccalaureate Environmental Systems & Societies (IB ESS) class I took my senior year in high school. At the time, I was unsure if i should go into Environmental or Mechanical Engineering when I decided to do some research into what is nanotechnology later that day. After watching videos and reading some articles I was led to Materials Science and Engineering. Equipped with the fruits of my research, I took a chance on this major and it was the best decision in my life. I've been able to teach my family and friends something new from all the knowledge I've learned and have made unforgettable experiences.

Inspiration and Mentors

My biggest inspiration comes from the conversations I have with my parents when talking about my classes or about general topics. They are my #1 fans and always support my decisions. I want to thank Dr. Viney who has been a mentor and someone I look up to as how to be a professor when I become one. I would also like to thank Dr. Lu who has equipped me with vital lessons as a researcher and student with unconditional support. They've inspire me to always seek more knowledge and never stop thinking of crazy ideas.

Memorable Academic Experience

In spring 2023 I took the Polymeric Materials graduate class with Dr. Viney. At first it was a bit intimidating being with graduate students as they are older but I got acclimated to the class and enjoyed being able to talk with the graduate students about lectures where sometimes the understanding level was pretty similar all-around. One lecture I'll never forget is when Dr. Viney explained why rubber is the way it is using first principles which was impressive as rubber is found in many applications. With learning rubber's properties using first principles maybe many of our problems lie with in looking carefully at fundamental equations to find the answers.

What's Next

I am currently applying to PhD. programs for Fall 2024 in Polymeric Materials where I wish to explore the synthesis and surface chemistry of nanoscale materials. I hope to also conduct research dealing with brain trauma and develop non-invasive materials that can provide instant relief and accurate readings concerning the health. For the time being I will take a much needed sleeping break with my cat, Eos.

Anything else

It is bittersweet to be leaving when so many changes and exciting things are coming to UC Merced, but I look forward to seeing how UC Merced will grow and change in the upcoming years while I'm in my PhD. program. I enjoyed looking up at the starry night sky along the lake and watching the sunsets from the 4th floor of the library and recommend everyone to spend time on campus.

Semester Year: