Materials Science and Engineering doctoral degree program recognizes two graduates, welcomes 15 incoming students

Nearly a year since the University of Notre Dame introduced a new interdisciplinary Materials Science and Engineering doctoral program, two students have defended their doctoral theses and the program is preparing to welcome 15 incoming students in the fall. The doctoral program, which represents seven departments and programs in the Colleges of Engineering and Science, promotes an integrative understanding of materials in order to broaden the expertise of graduates and aid them in assuming leadership roles in industry, government, and academic fields.

Even as the program was taking shape, 15 Notre Dame graduate students already pursuing their PhD degree transferred into the program. One such student, Trevor Demille of the group of Svetlana Neretina, associate professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering, was the first student to finish the new program. Having completed the required coursework in the first few years of his graduate studies, Trevor defended his dissertation, “Synthesis and plasmonics of surface-truncated noble metal nanostructures for advanced nanoantenna engineering,” in March 2021. DeMille, one of four students in Neretina’s group who transferred into the program, has accepted an industry position.

“The University’s wealth of materials experience and research resources significantly broadened my knowledge and prepared me for a career in aerospace and mechanical engineering,” says DeMille. “I am grateful for the Materials Science and Engineering program, as well as Professor Neretina’s guidance and support, without which I would not be able to attain such a career in the industry.”

Arin Preston, another student of Neretina, successfully defended his dissertation entitled "Synthesis, shape control, and preservation of novel noble metal plasmonic nanostructures" in early June 2021.

“The materials focus of my courses and research has given me vital skills upon which to build as I start my career,” says Preston. “I am also thrilled to be able to remain right here in Indiana and contribute to the state’s world-class orthopedics expertise while working as a materials research engineer of orthopedic implants.”

Now, with the start of the 2021-2022 academic year about to begin, the University has recruited 15 new students who will directly join the program when they begin their graduate studies at Notre Dame this fall. 

“We are excited to welcome a promising new class of doctoral students,” says Alan Seabaugh, professor of electrical engineering and director of the Notre Dame Materials Science and Engineering doctoral program. “While Notre Dame Materials is built on a strong foundation of materials expertise and research, the principal aspect of our program is the fostered community of interdisciplinary professors and students. They are the future of materials science.”

Program goals for the next few years include further cultivating the Notre Dame materials community, growing the program to a core of 50 students, enhancing graduate student and faculty recruiting in materials, and supporting multi-principal investigator and center proposals to grow the University’s materials research. Notre Dame Materials seeks to expand the doctoral program in order to advance knowledge and ultimately promote the greater good.

“The Notre Dame Materials doctoral program continues to seek graduate students with a fascination in materials,” says Seabaugh. “If you have interest, please visit our website,, and feel free to contact our faculty directly to learn more about our interdisciplinary program.”

Students can become part of the Materials Science and Engineering program in one of two ways: as an incoming PhD student admitted to Notre Dame Graduate School through a participating department or program, or as a current PhD student at Notre Dame who transfers into the program. Interested students can find more information at

Notre Dame Nanoscience and Technology (NDnano) at the University of Notre Dame promotes collaborative research in science and engineering to address unsolved scientific and technical questions with an aim to promote the greater good. NDnano is where Notre Dame faculty, researchers, and students meet to broaden understanding, discuss multidisciplinary research opportunities, and shape future research directions. To learn more about NDnano, please visit


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