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Justin Pham

Materials Science and Engineering
Materials Science and Engineering

Growing up, one of my favorite shows to watch was How It’s Made, on the Discovery Channel. The idea of transforming a basic resource from the earth into something more complex was really entertaining to witness. As a hobby, playing games like Minecraft, helped me gain more appreciation for every material that we use in today’s world. All materials featured in that game always had some way to be useful, and I believe the same idea can be applied to all materials in our world. Without the knowledge obtained from material science, we would not have many technological, societal, and mechanical advancements that we have today. Throughout my journey at UC Merced, I joined multiple clubs to develop my social life, as well as improve my professional skills. Clubs such as PAA and PASE helped me achieve these milestones by hosting various events and workshops. Attending all these events gave me the confidence to pursue more opportunities and associate with more individuals that could further enlighten me. From summer 2021 to fall 2021, I joined my first ever research group, led by Professor Roberto Andresen Eguiluz. Under the guidance of him and the rest of the group, I learned more in depth about surface science and tribology by conducting experiments that identify the angle of contact that a fluid will have on a material surface. In my last semester, for my Capstone design class, my team and I are working for a client to help them develop an eco-friendlier asphalt mixture by using a renewable bio-oil binder instead of traditional oil binder. This project has helped me gain more experience in considering how to minimize waste and use materials more efficiently for the future. After I graduate, I plan to continue working in various laboratories, preferably as a lab technician, to obtain more knowledge and experience working with materials. Once I become a reliable expert in materials, I hope to one day be a materials consultant for engineering firms or for future companies. Helping teams and companies make the best decisions for their goals is a simple goal of mine, and I know that once I achieve that goal, I will make my family proud and let them know that their endless support was worth it.

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