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MILES IGERT trainees education achievements


During the reporting period, 7 MILES-IGERT trainees completed their PhD degrees, completed the MILES-IGERT certificate program, and successfully graduated from Virginia Tech. Six MILES trainees graduated in the fall of 2009, one MILES trainee graduated in the spring of 2010, and these graduates have secured professional positions in academia or industry. The MILES program industry and federal lab tours and internship experiences assisted in developing these relationships and opportunities.

William Miles (Chemical Engineering) successfully defended his dissertation on The Use of a Density Distribution Model for the Design of Ideal Colloidal Systems under the direction of Dr. Richie Davis in August, 2009. Soon after his defense, William started a post doctoral position as a research associate at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Gaithersburg, MD. Rebecca Hyuck (Chemistry) defended her dissertation on The Effects of Functionality and Charge in the Design of Acrylic Polymers under the direction of MILES Co-director Dr. Tim Long in August, 2009. Rebecca is now working as a postdoctoral research associate at Polymer Matrix Composites Group, Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, TN. Rebecca completed an internship in this group in 2008.

Annie Aigster (Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise) defended her dissertation on The Effects of Resistant Starch on Glucose Control and Oxidative Stress Parameters Associated with Diabetes under the guidance of MILES co-director Dr. Susan Duncan in September, 2009. Annie is a postdoctoral research associate and the MILES-IGERT program manager at Virginia Tech. Kevin Holland (Food Science and Technology) defended his research on the Characterization and Applications of Peanut Root Extracts under the direction of MILES faculty Dr. Sean O’Keefe in October, 2009. Kevin is a postdoctoral research assistant in the Department of Food Science and Technology at Virginia Tech working on antimicrobial agents.

Sabrina Hannah (Food Science and Technology) completed and defended her dissertation work on The Encapsulation of Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Polysaccharides for Food Applications under the guidance of MILES co-director Dr. Susan Duncan in October, 2009. Sabrina is a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Food Science and Technology at Virginia Tech continuing work on photochemical oxidation of macromolecules that was initiated by Janet Webster, MILES IGERT trainee graduate (2006). This work is funded by Dupont, a company that the MILES program visited in 2006.

Kwaku Gyenai (Animal and Poultry Sciences) defended his dissertation on The Effects of Antioxidants on Cardiomiopathy in Turkeys under the direction of MILES faculty Dr. Ed Smith in October, 2009. Kwaku is a research associate in the Department of Animal and Poultry Sciences at Virginia Tech working on recruiting minority students in Animal Science. Vinodini Buck successfully defended her dissertation on Triacylglycerol Composition and Rheological Properties of High, Medium and Normal Oleic Peanuts Affected Fat Bloom Formation in Peanut Chocolate Confectionery under the guidance of Dr. Sean O’Keefe in April, 2010. Emma graduated in May, 2010 and joined Abbott Labs-Nutrition Division as a Product Development Scientist in Columbus OH.

Address Goals

The education achievements by recent MILES graduates are a tribute to the commitment and excellence of the MILES goals on multidisciplinary research and education. The MILES program was designed to increase interaction of MILES students and faculty with industry and federal laboratories through the 3-day MILES-on-the-road tour, a scientific and technical exchange with scientists from industry, academia and federal laboratories. Internship experiences were designed to increase student experience in the academic classroom and research laboratories, as well as federal or industry research laboratories. MILES trainees have experienced multidisciplinary research and education outside their own disciplines and that experience has enabled students to obtain positions that require various fields of study. The MILES program strives for excellence in studying the relationship between biomolecules and macromolecules with life sciences. The students in the MILES program have been trained in macromolecular research, education, and outreach activities. MILES students are high caliber students who have secured professional positions while they were still finishing their degrees.