Doctoral Finishing Fellowship – Fall 2021 Recipient – Geeta Sachdeva

When I was in high school, my father once told me that he was very inspired by all the professors in his Lab, where he worked as a lab assistant. He always wished one of his children would study science and become a professor. I first realized that I adored Physics when I scored the highest marks on the Physics exam among all the other students. With the encouragement of my parents and my favorite science teacher, who recognized that I would excel in the challenging environment of like-minded students, I pursued my further studies in Physics. My love for physics has increased exponentially ever since. I used that fire inside me, pushed myself throughout this Ph.D. program, and am now ready to graduate with the finishing fellowship award and a cumulative GPA of 3.9.

Growing up in an underprivileged community, I never imagined that I would go to the United States of America, especially at Michigan Technological University for my Doctorate study. Coming from such a community had not only offered financial and academic challenges but had also helped me realize the true value and potential of a college education. I have a long-held fascination with the inner workings of the universe, which I feel are best learned from the study of physics. My primary area of interest is Quantum Mechanics. Although I understand enough of it mathematically, there is always more and more to learn. Normally, when things are separated in space, we view them as independent entities. However according to Quantum Mechanics, in certain circumstances, things that are separate in space can be viewed as a single entity. One particle can cause a change in another even though they have no direct relationship. This phenomenon seemed very fascinating to me and I decided to pursue my research in this field.

My experience of pursuing a Ph.D. at Michigan Technological University has been incredible. On my first day at Tech, I knew I had a long way to go, but I am very fortunate that I had a mentor like Dr. Ravindra Pandey, who was always patient. He guided me to conduct professional and analytical research and taught me several aspects of life by setting up great examples by his deeds. I have worked with Dr. Pandey on multiple projects where I could investigate how constituents of one material can affect the properties of another material and how combining them will result in an extended material with enhanced properties and applications. I have been working on a project in collaboration with the NASA team on various polymer molecule interactions with graphene and BN monolayers, and have investigated the structure-property relationship among such complex systems.

I have been in Houghton for four years now and it has been a life-changing experience; summers were always the most beautiful and winters had shown their extreme. I got several opportunities to participate in events and organizations at MTU and have always tried my best to help others. I am thankful to MTU for allowing me this chance to pursue a Ph.D. in my area of interest. I am grateful to the Graduate Dean Awards Advisory Panel and the Graduate School for awarding me the Finishing Fellowship during the final period of completing and defending my dissertation. Lastly, I am thankful to my Professor, my committee members, and my friends who have supported me in this wonderful journey.

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