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January / February 2004


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UMaine Today Magazine


Student Focus

A Material World

Katherine Page
Katharine Page
 

Nathan Hankla
Nathan Hankla
 

Links Related to this Story
 

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 field."

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 electronics."

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 materials science.


Starting with versionZero

Nathan Hankla owns a small business that assists small businesses. He relishes the chance to help start-up companies reach potential customers.

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 course.

"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."

 

UMaine Today Magazine
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