SPE announces scholarship winners for graduate research.

Press Release Summary:

Two graduate students will each receive $2,000 USD scholarship check at SPE Automotive Composites Conference and Exhibition to help underwrite research in composites for ground transportation. Gregorio Manuel Velez-Garcia will use scholarship for development work on new method for predicting fiber orientation in fiber-reinforced, injection-molded thermoplastics, while Zeba Farheen Abdul Samad will use scholarship to continue work on aromatic thermosetting copolyester/carbon fiber composites.

Original Press Release:

SPE® Announces Winners of Scholarships for Graduatelevel Research in Automotive Composites

Students from Virginia Tech, University of Illinois Urbana/Champaign to Receive
Funds for Research in Composites for Ground Transportation Applications

TROY (DETROIT), MICH. - Two graduate students will each receive a $2,000 USD
scholarship check from the Society of Plastics Engineers - Automotive & Composites
Divisions at this year's SPE Automotive Composites Conference & Exhibition (SPE
ACCE), September 15 & 16, 2009 to help underwrite research in composites for ground
transportation. Gregorio Manuel Velez-Garcia, originally from Puerto Rico and a Ph.D.
candidate at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Va.), and Zeba Farheen Abdul Samad, originally from India and a doctoral candidate at the University of Illinois-Urbana/Champaign (Urbana, Ill.), were selected from the pool of qualified applicants by SPE ACCE committee members and will report the results of their findings during next year's tenth-annual SPE ACCE, which takes place in September 14-16, 2010. Velez-Garcia will use his scholarship for development work on a new method for predicting fiber orientation in fiber-reinforced, injection-molded thermoplastics, while Abdul Samad will use her scholarship to continue her work on aromatic thermosetting copolyester (ATCP) / carbon fiber composites.

Gregorio Manuel Velez-Garci­a was born and grew up in a small fishing village of Vieques on the east side of Puerto Rico. His educational experiences from middle school through his Master's were complemented with research programs sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF), National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the National Aeronautics & Space Administration (NASA). He earned B.S. and M.S. degrees in Chemical Engineering from the University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez (UPRM). In 2000, Velez-Garci­a began teaching classes on process manufacturing, process design, fundamentals of polymer science and engineering, and materials science at his alma mater, UPRM. He also was a consultant to the electronics, medical device, pharmaceutical, and biotechnology industries in Puerto Rico, and has been a traveling lecturer in Latin America giving talks on polymer processing in Spanish. In 2004, he
began work on a Ph.D. in Macromolecular Science and Engineering at Virginia Tech.,
sponsored by UPRM as well as an NSF Integrative Graduate Education & Research
Traineeship Program (IGERT) fellowship. As part of this fellowship, he completed a summer internship at Oak Ridge National Laboratories, working towards a simple method to characterize fiber-length distribution in long glass fibers. In 2006, he began working on a short-fiber composite project sponsored by NSF and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). From this research activity, he has produced three journal articles and 11 conference presentations as second author, and nine conference presentations as lead author. He is currently working on three additional journal articles that focus on his experimental and numerical work in short-fiber composites. Next year, Velez-Garci­a will return to teach at UPRM, where he will also be responsible for developing the school's new Polymer Processing & Composites Center, which will provide support to Puerto Rico's aerospace and medical-device industries. Velez-Garcia is an active member of SPE and a councilor for SPE's Caribbean Section.

Zeba Farheen Abdul Samad holds an undergraduate degree in Polymer Engineering and
Technology from the Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai, India - where she developed a passion for composites while working on mica/ABS materials for her senior thesis. She joined Professor James Economy's research group in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign in 2006. A focus of her research group is the synthesis and characterization of novel polymers for use as matrix materials in composites. Abdul Samad's primary research interest is designing polymeric materials for hightemperature applications, specifically for composite matrix materials. She is currently working on novel aromatic thermosetting copolyester matrix systems for high temperature stable composite applications as well as on silver-based bactericidal systems for enhancing shelf-life of milk in tropical temperatures. Abdul Samad was awarded the Perkin-Elmer Award from the Composites Division of SPE (2007-2008) and was the recipient of the Bostik Award at SPE's Annual Technical Conference (ANTEC) in 2009.

This is the third year SPE has offered these scholarships. In 2007, two awards were made in honor of journalist and composites-industry insider, Steve Loud who passed away in 2006.

That year, Roston Elwell from Texas A&M University (College Station, Texas) won for
research on the Use of Active-Core Composite Sandwich Panels for Improved Automotive
Safety; and Alejandro Londono-Hurtado from University of Wisconsin-Madison (Madison,
Wisc.) won for work on Simulation and Numerical Modeling of Fiber Orientation and Density Distribution During Molding of Fiber-Reinforced Automotive Parts. Last year's winners were Uday Sharma of University of Michigan-Dearborn (Dearborn, Mich.) for research on Analysis of Thermoplastic Woven Composites at High-Strain Rates, and Tobias Potyra of Fraunhofer Institute of Chemical Technology and Karlsruhe University (both in Pfinztal, Germany) did work on the New Direct Processing Technology for the Manufacture of SMC Parts (Direct- SMC). Both winners are presenting the results of their work at the 2009 SPE ACCE conference, September 15 &16.

The ACCE typically draws over 400 speakers, exhibitors, sponsors, and attendees from 14
countries on 4 continents with fully one-third indicating they work for an OEM involved in ground transportation or aerospace/aviation. Interestingly, over the past few years, the types of transportation OEMs represented at the show have continued to broaden beyond traditional automotive and light truck, to include agriculture, truck & bus, heavy truck, and aviation. This trend may indicate greater interest in technology sharing among transportation OEMs and suppliers.

Held annually in suburban Detroit, the ACCE provides an environment dedicated solely to
discussion and networking about advances in the automotive composites industry. Its global appeal is evident in the diversity of exhibitors, speakers, and attendees who come to the conference from Europe, the Middle East, and Asia / Pacific as well as North America and who represent transportation OEMs and tier suppliers; composite materials, processing equipment, additives, and reinforcement suppliers; trade associations, consultants, university and government labs; media; and investment bankers. The show is sponsored jointly by the SPE Automotive and Composites Divisions.
The mission of SPE is to promote scientific and engineering knowledge relating to plastics.

SPE's Automotive and Composites Divisions work to advance plastics and plastic-based
composites technologies worldwide and to educate industry, academia, and the public about these advances. Both divisions are dedicated to educating, promoting, recognizing, and communicating technical accomplishments for all phases of plastics and plastic-based composite developments, including materials, processing, equipment, tooling, design and testing, and application development.

For more information about the SPE Automotive Composites Conference, visit the
Composites' Division website at www.4spe.org/communities/divisions/d39.php, or the
Automotive Division's website at www.speautomotive.com/comp.htm , or contact the group at +, or write SPE Automotive Division, 1800 Crooks Road, Suite A, Troy, MI 48084, USA. For more information on the Society of Plastics Engineers International or other SPE events, visit the SPE website at www.4spe.org, or call +1.203.775.0471.

® SPE is a registered trademark of the Society of Plastics Engineers International.


Cedric Ball or Peggy Malnati

SPE Auto. Composites Conf. Chair SPE Auto. Div. Communications Chair

Ashland Performance Materials Malnati & Associates

Phone: +1.614.790.4161 +1.248.592.0765

eMail: acce-chair@speautomotive.com media@speautomotive.com


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