A Material World
For Katharine Page, it's hard to know
what's more exciting: sitting at a table exchanging ideas with
scientists from throughout the world, including a Nobel Prize winner, or
asking "What if?" in the field of nanotechnology and seeing the answer
explored in two scientific papers.
Page, a University of Maine senior in chemical engineering and a high
school salutatorian from Palmyra, Maine, has spent the last two summers
as an intern with NASA. At NASA's Glenn Research Center in Cleveland,
Ohio, working in the Microgravity Science Division, Page studied
combustion under low-gravity conditions.
Last summer, she was at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New
Mexico, where she worked in the Neutron Science Center Division. Page
was involved in research exploring the design, performance and
integration of nanostructures — materials created on the nanometer
(one-billionth of a meter) scale.
"I love the progression of science," says Page. "It's exciting to think
about being in a field that's starting up, with so much that can be
looked into. I hope that in 10 years, I'll be contributing to the
Page became interested in material science working in the lab of UMaine
Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering William Desisto. In
particular, she wanted to study the structure and property of materials.
"Nanostructures made with a few hundred atoms have different properties
because of their scale," she says. "We have to understand the building
blocks of nanotechnology in order to create new materials that could
have applications in such areas as space vehicles, medicine and
Page will graduate in May after four years at UMaine as a
scholar-athlete. As a member of the Women's Track and Field team, Page
holds the university record in discus and is serving her second year as
captain. She also qualified to compete in USA Weightlifting's American
Open Championships in December. She is president of UMaine's
Student-Athlete Advisory Board.
Page has been invited to return to the Los Alamos National Laboratory
next summer. She is headed to graduate school to pursue a Ph.D. in
Starting with versionZero
Nathan Hankla owns a small business that assists small businesses. He
relishes the chance to help start-up companies reach potential
Hankla knows what it's like to have no advertising budget and 10,000
business cards to distribute to anyone you meet.
"Working with small businesses that initially don't have anything (in
terms of resources) presents unique challenges," he says, "but it also
lets me be a little more creative in how I do their projects."
Hankla owns versionZero, a multimedia design company dedicated to
"information design" — from Web pages and branding to graphic design for
DVDs and brochures. He and five other UMaine undergraduates started
talking about such a company two years ago, but only Hankla pursued the
idea. Last year, he launched his company with the help of Target
Technology Center. Hankla has since designed marketing campaigns for
Target and MaineTech 2003.
Hankla, who is from Georgetown, Maine, was among the first UMaine
students to graduate with a degree in new media. Now as a graduate
student in liberal studies, he also teaches an introductory new media
"New media is changing everyday. It's a high-paced field," says Hankla,
whose graduate research focuses on time-based media. For his thesis,
Hankla is building a "render farm" with 24 G4 Macintosh computers that
will make parallel processing possible. When complete, the supercomputer
will allow students to do in an hour what now takes eight hours to
accomplish in 3-D animation.
While versionZero is still a small business, Hankla, who graduates this
year, expects his design company to expand with the hiring of a writer
and computer programmer. But he'll never forget how his and so many
other small businesses got their start.
"That's why the name, versionZero," Hankla says. "We're targeting small
businesses (as customers) and they have to start somewhere."