College:College of Engineering and Computer Science
Degree Program:Materials Science and Engineering MS
Research Focus:Optimization for gas atomization and selective laser melting processes
After graduate student Sharon Park’s parents immigrated to the U.S. from South Korea, they rebuilt their lives from the ground up to provide more opportunities for their children. “The sacrifices and dedication of my parents to provide for my sister and I is what pushes me to persevere,” Park says. She drew on this inspiration from her family and went on to earn her bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from UCF.
Park began her research in materials science during her undergraduate program at UCF with Dr. Yongho Sohn’s group. Her research is focused on optimization studies for the gas atomization and selective laser melting (metal 3-D printing) processes. The unique research experiences and unique machinery at UCF is what prompted her to continue on to earn her master’s in Materials Science and Engineering at the university. Park says, “Having both the facilities to produce metallic powders and fabricate our own test specimen is extremely beneficial for our research and allows us to conduct many experiments which are not possible at other universities.” Dr. Sohn’s research group collaborates with the U.S. Army Research Laboratory and the Office of Naval Research to directly apply the results of their research for the U.S. Department of Defense.
To students interested in research, Park offers some advice saying, “Don’t be afraid to mess up and don’t be afraid to rely on your colleagues. Research is a highly collaborative effort, and you can get much further through collaborations and by consulting with your lab mates. Also, start making as many connections as you can in your field. Go to conferences, attend seminars, and make an effort to connect with the professors in your department.”
During her time at UCF, Park received the 2019-2020 Order of Pegasus, the most prestigious and significant award a student can be presented with at the university. Graduate students are chosen based on academic achievement, involvement, leadership and community service. She is honored to be a recipient of this award, as it is a culmination of many years of hard work and dedication to her research.
Along with this, Park has also received first place at the UCF IDEAS Competition (2016), Honorable Mention at the NASA FGSC Competition (2017), and Judge’s Choice winner at the UCF SURE Poster Competition (2018, 2019).
Park plans on continuing her studies at Johns Hopkins University to obtain a PhD in Materials Science and Engineering. In the future, she is interested in pursuing academia as a professor to lead research efforts in materials science, biomedical engineering, energy, aerospace, automotive, and defense industries. Additionally, she is looking forward to mentoring young students in hopes of forging the next generation of diverse and talented students. “Purpose is what drives me to excel, and I root my purpose in conducting impactful and relevant research, as well as, passing on my knowledge to the next generation of young students,” she says.
- 2019-2020 Order of Pegasus recipient
- First place at UCF's IDEAS Competition
- Honorable Mention at NASA FGSC Competition
- Judge's Choice winner at the UCF SURE Poster Competition
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