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Senior Becomes Fourth Bobcat to Win Prestigious Scholarship

April 23, 2020

Sam Schroeder, a fourth-year undergraduate student working with Professor Valerie Leppert in materials sciences, has been awarded a highly competitive Materials Engineering Scholarship — one of only two given annually.

He is the fourth UC Merced student to achieve this honor.

The scholarship was given by the Santa Clara Valley chapter of ASM International — formerly known as the American Society for Metals, a professional organization for materials scientists and engineers, and the Northern California chapter of the Society for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering (SAMPE), an international society providing a global forum for information, education and professional fellowship on materials and processes development.

The $2,000 award is given based on the applicant’s demonstrated accomplishments, potential and commitment to a career in the technology, science and engineering of materials. Applicants from all relevant programs throughout Northern California are eligible, including those at UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Santa Cruz, Stanford University, Santa Clara University, University of the Pacific, San Jose State University, and several other California State University campuses.

“Sam and the other UC Merced students who have been recognized with the prestigious ASM award over the past few years exemplify the quality of students UC Merced attracts and the opportunities our young campus offers,” Leppert said. “Their success is also a reflection of our wonderful graduate students who are involved in mentoring them on a day-to-day basis. I'm very proud that our campus provides these opportunities to help our students achieve their full potential.”

Schroeder was mentored by grad students Beatriz Morales Perez and Matthew Robinson on a research project last summer funded by the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Center, and his accomplishments from it were a significant factor in garnering the ASM award and offers of admission from top graduate schools, Leppert said.

Previous awardees were David Pan, working with Professor Jennifer Lu; Matthew Robinson, working with Leppert; and John Misiaszek, working with Professor Yue (Jessica) Wang.

Schroeder said he was shocked and surprised to learn he had won the grant, which will help pay for his move to The Ohio State University to begin his Ph.D. program in materials science engineering this fall. In Leppert’s lab group, Schroeder and others have been synthesizing and characterizing 2D photocatalytics for nitrogen-fixation applications, using microscopy and spectroscopy. After he obtains his doctorate, the Stockton native said he is thinking about a career in a national lab or industry.