Student Profile

Uma Seelam

Uma Seelam is a doctoral student in the Materials Science and Engineering PhD program and received the Award for Excellence by a Graduate Teaching Assistant. Seelam has been the Graduate Teaching Assistant for the courses EGN 3365, Structure and Properties of Materials, and EMA 3012C, Experimental Techniques in Mechanics and Materials for seven semesters. As a GTA for these courses, Seelam has shouldered major responsibility for the laboratory-intensive component the course EMA 3012C. This course has a high enrollment owing to being required of students in the materials option in Mechanical Engineering, as well as to being a popular elective for students in the Mechanical Systems and Thermofluids options. In addition to his teaching experience, Seelam's doctoral research has led to several articles published in prominent journals such as the Journal of Applied Physics.

Ajay Karakoti

After earning a MS in Organic Chemistry from Delhi University and a MS in Corrosion Science and Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology in India, Ajay Karakoti decided to pursue his Materials Science and Engineering PhD at UCF. The availability and accessibility of various characterization instruments to individual students who are trained and allowed to work on these state-of-the-art instruments is great, he says. Karakoti is involved in research on cerium oxide nanoparticles and its modifications. Potential applications of his research span across disciplines, such as being used as therapeutic antioxidants for the treatment of cancer and other diseases to being catalysis for an alternative fuel.

During his graduate study at UCF, Karakoti has authored and co-authored more than 15 papers published in peer-reviewed publications and was involved in two patent applications. He won the American Vacuum Society (AVS) Top Level Student Award at the 55th AVS International Symposium and Exhibition in October 2008. This prestigious award is only given to five students from the United States. Karakoti also traveled to Germany on a National Science Foundation (NSF) and International Research and Education in Engineering (IREE) funded travel and research grant in 2007. He is the president of the Materials Research Society student chapter at UCF and coordinates the National Science Foundation (NSF) sponsored research program Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) at AMPAC. Karakoti graduated in summer 2009.


Satyanarayana Kuchibhatla

Satyanarayana Kuchibhatla obtained his PhD in Materials Science and Engineering, with a specialization in nanoscale materials synthesis, characterization and processing. During his doctoral studies, he was also a PhD intern at the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL) within the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) in Richland, Washington. Under the guidance of Dr. Sudipta Seal, within the AMPAC at UCF, the focus of his research involved understanding and tuning the properties of nanostructured materials, including nanoparticles and high-quality, single-crystal thin films, with an emphasis on the aging and environmental effects of ceria nanoparticles. Kuchibhatla published his research in journals such as Nanotechnology and Small. He was very active in student chapter activities at the university and was instrumental in organizing talks of eminent materials scientists, namely Sir. Herald Kroto and Dr. Subhash Singhal. Kuchibhatla is currently working as a postdoctoral research fellow at PNNL, a DOE national laboratory.

student photo