UC Santa Barbara Professor Chosen as Fulbright Scholar
Mechanical engineer Megan Valentine will broaden her horizons at a premier engineering school in Paris
(Santa Barbara, Calif.) — UC Santa Barbara mechanical engineering professor Megan Valentine has been chosen to receive a Fulbright Scholar Award. The highly sought award will enable her to conduct engineering research in France, her host country for several months until her return in January 2016.
“I am honored, as a Fulbright awardee, to be among such distinguished colleagues and am very excited about the opportunities the Fulbright Scholar Award affords,” said Valentine, whose research focuses on the mechanical forces generated in living tissue that influence cellular outcomes. She will be conducting research with materials scientist Costantino Creton, who is the research director of the Soft Matter Science and Engineering Laboratory of The City of Paris Industrial Physics and Chemistry Higher Educational Institution (ESPCI ParisTech).
“I will be working with Professor Creton at ESPCI ParisTech to capture the strength, toughness and self-healing properties of living materials in synthetic systems, and will learn new approaches to adhesion mechanics and polymer engineering,” explained Valentine. In addition, she said, the collaboration will not only provide the opportunity for the exchange of ideas and methods for research, it will provide insight into student engagement and education, particularly with regard to recruitment and retention of women into the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) disciplines. ESPCI ParisTech has a 40 percent female demographic in its undergraduate class of 2015.
For Valentine, who received tenure in 2014, this sabbatical will be her first. “I am fortunate that technology has progressed to the point that I anticipate very little disruption to the day-to-day functioning of my lab and experiments,” she said. “My students and I often communicate via email and have already discussed the logistics of moving our weekly group meetings to an online videochat platform.”
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