PEOPLE

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Education:

Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering

Johns Hopkins University

 

M.S.E. in Mechanical Engineering

Johns Hopkins University

 

B.S. in Aerospace Engineering

Texas A&M University 

Hometown: 

Amarillo, TX 

Justin W. Wilkerson, Ph.D.

Director, Laboratory for Nonequilibrium Phenomena
Assistant Professor & James J. Cain Faculty Fellow 
Department of Mechanical Engineering
Texas A&M University 

Dr. Wilkerson's research and teaching interests lie at the interface of solid mechanics, material science, and physics. He enjoys working on a range of topics across the length and time scales, from the ultra-fast atomistic mechanisms governing deformation and failure in materials to the evolution of asteroids in our Solar System over billions of years. He is fascinated with understanding and exploiting nonequilibrium phenomena to unravel some of the mysteries of nature and to improve the human condition. 

 

In 2017, Dr. Wilkerson joined the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Texas A&M University as an assistant professor and the James J. Cain Faculty Fellow II. Prior to returning to A&M, he was an assistant professor in the at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). He also spent one year as a Donald D. Harrington Faculty Fellow with the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics at the University of Texas at Austin. Wilkerson obtained his B.S. with highest honors from Texas A&M University followed by an M.S.E and Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University, where he worked with the Hopkins Extreme Materials Institute (HEMI). 

 

Dr. Wilkerson's academic achievements have been recognized and supported by a number of honors and awards, including the Harrington Faculty Fellowship, the AFOSR Young Investigator (YIP) Award, the Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Award, the National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship, the National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowship, and the Ammon S. Andes Award presented annually to recognize the nation's top aerospace engineering graduate. 

 
 

PH.D. STUDENTS

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Education:

B.Eng. in Mechanical Engineering

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University 

Hometown: 

Harbin, China 

Yuan Ji

Ph.D. Student in Mechanical Engineering
Joined NEPLab in Fall 2018
Expected Graduation: August 2023
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Education:

B.S. in Mechanical Engineering

B.S. in Applied Mathematics

University of Utah 

Hometown: 

West Jordan, UT

Carl Fauver

Ph.D. Student in Mechanical Engineering
Joined NEPLab in Fall 2019
Expected Graduation: May 2024
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Education:

B.S. in Mechanical Engineering

Mississippi State University 

Hometown: 

Starkville, MS 

Caleb Foster

Ph.D. Student in Mechanical Engineering
Joined NEPLab in Fall 2019
Expected Graduation: May 2024

Research

Caleb is currently researching physics-based models to capture and understand the properties of magnesium (Mg) alloys for ballistic and high-velocity impact (HVI) environments. Magnesium holds many benefits as the next lightweight structural material and yet very little is still understood about its behavior. By further understanding the complex interactions in magnesium alloys, Caleb hopes to contribute to the implementation of Mg alloys into mass-scale production. His proposed work in this area garnered awards from both the National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program and the National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowship Program. 

Experience

Before starting at Texas A&M, Caleb obtained a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering at Mississippi State University (MSU) where he also pursued undergraduate research opportunities. These included three summer internships at the MSU Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems where he worked on various solid mechanics topics. He also spent a semester working for the Computational Mechanics and Materials Laboratory at MSU. He worked for two co-op rotations at Honda Manufacturing of Alabama which allowed him to gain industry experience and learn how research is actually implemented at the factory level. Immediately before starting graduate school at Texas A&M, he took the opportunity to work as a summer intern for Sandia National Laboratories, which provided invaluable experience and insight into the workings of a national research laboratory. 

Goals

Caleb plans to use the knowledge gained through his Ph.D. at Texas A&M University to continue a life of research in materials science and solid mechanics. He has a passion for teaching and mentoring students and hopes to work towards a faculty position at a research institution to pursue this goal. In his free time, Caleb enjoys playing sports, board games, reading, anything outdoors, shooting, working on his '88 Jeep Wrangler, playing piano, and spending time with friends. 

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Education:

B.S. in  Aerospace Engineering

Mississippi State University 

Hometown: 

Lucedale, MS 

Jacob Rogers

Ph.D. Student in Mechanical Engineering
Joined NEPLab in Fall 2019
Expected Graduation: May 2023

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Education:

B.S. in  Aerospace Engineering

Mississippi State University 

Hometown: 

Kingwood, TX​

Paul Mead

Ph.D. Student in Mechanical Engineering
Joined NEPLab in Fall 2019
Expected Graduation: May 2023
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Education:

B.S. in Mechanical Engineering

Texas A&M University 

Hometown: 

Allen, TX 

Joshua VanCura

Ph.D. Student in Mechanical Engineering
Joined NEPLab in Spring 2020
Expected Graduation: December 2024
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Alexandra Salinas

Ph.D. Student in Mechanical Engineering
Joined NEPLab in Fall 2021
Expected Graduation: May 2025
 

UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS

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Isabella Mihalic
B.S. in Mechanical Engineering
Texas A&M University 
Class of '22
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William Scott
B.S. in Mechanical Engineering
Texas A&M University
Class of  '23
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Christopher Karber
B.S. in Mechanical Engineering
Texas A&M University
Class of  '23
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Elizabeth File
B.S. in Mechanical Engineering
Texas A&M University
Class of  '24
 

ALUMNI

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Eliseo Enrique Iglesias

August 2015 - July 2021

Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering
University of Texas at San Antonio
Defended: July, 2021

Dissertation: Multiscale Experimental Studies on Energetic Materials

 

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Babak Ravaji

April 2016 - March 2020

Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering
Texas A&M University
Defended: March, 2020

Thesis: Multiscale Transient Thermomechanics of Heterogeneous Materials

 

Current Position: FEA Engineer at Apple

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Angela Olinger

August 2018 - December 2019

M.S. in Mechanical Engineering
Texas A&M University
Defended: December, 2019

Thesis: Modeling of Impact Damage in Magnesium Nucleated from Realistic Microstructures

 

Current Position: Engineer at L3 Aerospace Systems  

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Thao Nguyen

January 2015 - October 2019

Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering
Texas A&M University
Defended: March, 2019

Thesis: Mesoscale Modeling of Failure of Shocked Single Crystals & Polycrystals

 

Current Position: Postdoctoral Researcher at Los Alamos National Laboratory

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Sara Adibi

March 2016 - August 2018

Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering
National University of Singapore
Defended: 2015

Thesis: On the Mechanical Properties of Novel Metallic Glass Architectures

 

Current Position: Assistant Research Professor at Mississippi State University 

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Tyler Rowe

May 2016 - July 2018

M.S. in Mechanical Engineering
University of Texas at San Antonio
Defended: July, 2018

Thesis: Processing and Characterization of CNT Enhanced Energetic Materials

 

Current Position: Engineer at Continental

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Mashroor Nitol

March 2016 - April 2018

M.S. in Mechanical Engineering
University of Texas at San Antonio
Defended: April, 2018

Special Project: Solid Solution Weakening in Nucleation Dominated Failure

 

Current Position: Ph.D. student at Mississippi State University

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Zachary Huber

March 2015 - April 2017

M.S. in Mechanical Engineering
University of Texas at San Antonio
Defended: April, 2018

Thesis: Full-Field Experimental Analysis of Ductile and Fatigue Fracture and the Accompanying Thermal Effects

 

Current Position: Engineer at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) 

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Joseph Caulkins

M.S. Student in Computational Materials Science & Engineering
Joined NEPLab in Spring 2020
Expected Graduation: May 2022