College:College of Engineering and Computer Science
Degree Program:Electrical Engineering PhD
Research Focus:Design and fabrication of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS)
Kevin Chan never thought he would ever do research because he didn’t have any worthwhile questions to ask. For him, graduate school seemed like a distant idea reserved for those who sought answers to the burning queries that kept them up at night. However, once he discovered his current discipline, everything began to fall into place.
After graduating from Harvard University with a bachelor’s degree in Engineering Sciences, Chan pursued law school and earned his JD at the University of Florida. However, he wanted to try something different. He developed an interest in patent prosecution, focusing on electronics, and sought to shift a course in his career, combining his legal background with engineering.
Chan enrolled in UCF as a non-degree seeking student to build up his engineering foundations before applying to the Electrical Engineering master’s program. During his graduate studies, he began researching alongside his current mentor, Dr. Reza Abdolvand, who asked him to join his research lab and helped change the way Chan viewed research. “Working on that project with Dr. Reza’s mentorship helped me to understand a factor I had overlooked: What you contribute to the field doesn’t have to come entirely from within you,” he says. Chan ultimately decided to stick with his research and is pursuing a PhD in Electrical Engineering at UCF. He is grateful to the faculty who made his success possible and Drs. Abdolvand and Xun Gong provided him with much support.
Currently, Chan is studying the design and fabrication of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS). We use these tiny machines in many devices, from wristwatches to modern smartphones and Wii gaming controllers. In the lab, Chan is using this technology to develop a simple piezoelectric beam that can either bend up and down or twist along its spine, which could have revolutionary impacts on the ways in which we power our devices.
At UCF, Chan is highly involved in the campus community. With the goal of helping engineering students connect with others, he became one of the founding members of the Scholastic Association of Graduates in Engineering (SAGE) in 2020. He is also a member of the Graduate Student Advisory Council and has been awarded the ORCGS Doctoral Fellowship for his hard work and to support his academic endeavors. When not busy with research or school work, Chan works on his martial arts skills. He is a member of the Fitness and Martial Arts club and has trained in karate since childhood, learning new styles throughout his life. He uses the art form to connect with his peers.
Chan aims to find a career path in patent prosecution or research after graduating from UCF with his PhD. “Patent prosecution is driven by the constant development of technology. Every novel invention represents new ideas that you must understand well enough to not only articulate the principles of the invention but also to identify the revolutionary aspects of that invention and to persuade others of the same. Research holds the same promise,” he says.
- Founding member of the Scholastic Association of Graduates in Engineering
- ORCGS Doctoral Fellowship recipient
- Graduate Student Advisory Council member
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