Hawkins’ research collaboration with NASA highlighted in Southern Regional Educational Board publication

Spencer Hawkins PhotoSpencer Hawkins, a doctoral student in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Texas A&M University, recently had his research collaboration with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) highlighted in the May 2016 edition of Helping to Facilitate the Creation of Tomorrow’s STEM Workforce.

The publication of the Southern Regional Educational Board (SREB) included excerpts of research conducted by the recipients of NASA’s Harriett G. Jenkins Pre-Doctoral Fellowship.

In 2013, Hawkins was among 30 graduate students from 16 states and the District of Columbia to receive the competitive fellowship to address NASA's mission-specific needs to develop a future STEM workforce through the increased number of master's and doctoral degrees awarded to women, ethnic minorities and disabled people in STEM disciplines.

Dr. Hung-Jue Sue, professor in the materials science and engineering department, supervises Hawkins’ research. It focuses on NASA’s need for equipment with reduced weight, improved fracture toughness and conductive properties. He is currently studying multifunctional epoxy nanocomposites that can be used as interleaves, a thin layer of material placed between two plies of carbon fiber to improve the mechanical, fracture and electrical performance of CFRCs for use in the aerospace, automotive and sporting good industries.

Last fall, Hawkins attended the 2013-15 Institute on Teaching and Mentoring, the largest gathering of minority doctoral students in the country.

“Students like Mr. Hawkins continue to inspire us, and we are grateful for his participation,” said Dr. Ansley Abraham, director of SREB-State Doctoral Scholars Program.