Fulbrights take researchers to UK and Singapore

Closeups of Katie Zhong and John McCloy.
WSU engineering faculty members Katie Zhong and John McCloy

WSU engineering faculty members John McCloy and Katie Zhong have received Fulbright awards to study and conduct research in the United Kingdom and Singapore, respectively.

McCloy, professor in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering (MME), will be collaborating with researchers on international environmental issues surrounding radioactive waste management and nuclear waste disposal at the Immobilisation Sciences Laboratory at the University of Sheffield. Zhong, Westinghouse Distinguished Professor in the School of MME, will be conducting research on bio-nano materials for energy and environmental applications at Singapore’s Nanyang Technology University (NTU).

McCloy’s award will allow him to build collaboration with researchers at the University of Sheffield, which is located near the UK’s primary nuclear waste storage and processing facility. The site is similar to the Hanford site, the home of the largest nuclear high-level waste site in the U.S. McCloy holds a joint appointment at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and has worked on technical issues surrounding nuclear waste form development at Hanford. While the researchers will be working to build knowledge regarding the treatment and immobilization of nuclear waste, they will also collaborate in considering public engagement and discussion of nuclear waste management.

With WSU since 2013, McCloy worked in design, manufacturing operations, and test environments in the microelectronics and aerospace industries for 10 years and also conducted research at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory before coming to WSU. His research interests include nuclear materials; optical, magnetic, and electronic functional materials; materials degradation, including of ceramics, glasses, and metal; and advanced characterization techniques. While he holds a PhD in materials science and engineering, McCloy also holds a master’s degree in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Arizona. He is a fellow of the American Ceramic Society and received that group’s prestigious Fulrath award last year.

As part of her Fulbright award, Zhong will be conducting research on bio-based materials that could improve the sustainability and performance of batteries. She will also study bio-based air filtering materials. The protein-based materials could be more environmentally friendly than current components of those applications.

Zhong’s Fulbright award will provide an opportunity to establish collaboration between the WSU’s School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering (MME) and the NTU’s Material Science and Engineering (MSE) program, which was ranked first in the worldby U.S. News and World Report in 2018. Zhong’s research projects are highly complementary to NTU’s MSE. In particular, her projects on gum-like multifunctional composite electrolytes, plant-derived functional materials, protein-based air filters and multi-functional polymer composites are related to their projects on functional soft matters for energy and environment, green materials, and functional materials derived from natural and renewable resources.

With WSU since 2007, Zhong conducts research in polymers and composite manufacturing technology; battery materials and renewable energy materials; nanocomposites and multifunctional materials; and biomaterials and environmental polymeric materials. Shehas published more than 300 publications and two booksand holds several patents. She is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and holds a PhD from Beihang University of China.

Founded by U.S. Sen. J. William Fulbright in 1946, the Fulbright program aims to increase mutual understanding among scholars across the globe and is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government.

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