Emily Adkins

Headshot of Emily AdkinsHometown: Albuquerque, New Mexico

Research Area: Silicon nanowires for lithium ion batteries

Why I chose chemical engineering: I like that it prepares you for a wide range of jobs — everything from biology to materials research to working in the oil industry or consulting.

The lab I work in and my role: I work in Dr. Korgel’s group as a graduate research assistant. I have just finished my first year of graduate school, so I am still learning my way around the lab and different synthesis techniques — trying to figure out my research focus.

My plans after UT: Right now my plans after graduate school are to work at a national lab. However, I still have a few years here so those plans might change.  

What I like to do in my spare time: In undergraduate I ran a couple of marathons. Although I haven’t done as much running in Austin this is something I want to start doing again. I am signed up for the Austin marathon — so hopefully that will get me motivated!

Current projects/research: Right now I am at the Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey for a month doing research with a collaborating group. My current research is to test silicon nanowires for use in super capacitors. So far, I have learned a lot about the research being done here and tasting Turkish food. I cannot recommend the Iskender kebab enough!

Why I chose to do research at the University of Texas at Austin: I chose the University of Texas because of the facilities, opportunities, and connections it offers to students. There are a lot of great faculty working on interesting projects at the university, so I was certain I would have lots of options when choosing an advisor.

The biggest difference between undergraduate and graduate studies: In graduate school no one is going to tell you what to do. On my first day in the lab my advisor asked me what I wanted to research. This means that you have to take the responsibility to make a goal and work towards it. This can be very difficult and at times intimidating, but makes the personal investment in the research is much greater.