We are proud to have over 2350 alumni representing the University of Washington’s Materials Science & Engineering department in our local community and across the world.
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Dan Frech, Ph.D. '98 and Mary Katchur, B.S. '96
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More than two decades have passed since Dan and Mary met in Dr. Sarikaya’s lab and began their successful technical paths, leading Mary and Dan from the UW to Intel, as Senior Process Engineer and Yield Analysis Engineer, respectively. Mary laughs, picturing Dan in his lab coat — a piece of his wardrobe he never left home. The couple underscores a host of lessons learned at the UW, including the importance of teaching others, the value of working in diverse teams, how to problem-solve and respond to difficult situations, and the value of serving as role models and respecting those who have come before them. All topped by a good dose of fun amid challenging course work.
Their mutual background in and respect for Materials Science & Engineering bolsters their relationship.However, both are quick to point out the care they take to make their life and relationship much more than just their engineering careers. As Dan advises, even though an engineer's natural instinct is to fix a problem, a partner’s role is to listen supportively rather than problem-solve unless explicitly stated!
Career success is another commonality. Dan holds a patent for process development. He is proud of the training materials he developed at Intel and is motivated by the highly technical and detailed problem-solving involved in the failure analysis he and his team performs. Mary, who has been ecstatic to train on and use several transmission electron microscopes during her career, has moved on from being an individual contributor to team manager, allowing her to make a significant impact.
This duo knows they are incredibly fortunate to have received so much more beyond exceptional education from the department. As alumni, they believe it is important to give back. Providing mentorships to young engineers is important. Likewise, staying connected to faculty and emerging trends in the field will increase alumni’s ability to contribute to the department. Philanthropic giving is another shared value for Mary and Dan. They feel fortunate to have gained a marriage and so much more from Materials Science and Engineering.
2015 Diamond Award
Distinguished Achievement in Industry
Alan Miller, '77 PhD Materials Science & Engineering
Anyone who has traveled by air can thank Alan Miller for making flights safer and planes more efficient. He’s made significant contributions to aeronautic advancements for travelers everywhere. He led the technology development of the world’s largest volume of aerospace composite applications and the corresponding manufacturing methods used in the global production system, developing the composite materials and expanding their use in airplane structures. He also developed groundbreaking fire resistant materials used in over 90% of today’s airplanes, dramatically improving the safety of aircraft cabins.
Throughout his 34 year career at The Boeing Company, Alan held multiple leadership positions and drove transformative advancements in materials and production systems, as well as improving passenger safety. Most recently, he served as director of technology integration for the 787 Dreamliner program. It was during this time that his group developed the key technologies needed for the game-changing production system that enabled a sevenfold increase in aerospace production and spurred partnerships around the globe. Working with Toray, Alan developed a composite material that was tougher, stronger and lighter. It is used in the 787’s fuselage, wing and other structures. Prior to joining the 787 team, Alan directed the materials, processes and manufacturing research and development team. With over 500 professional employees under his leadership, his group made significant improvements to safety standards and efficiency.
Alan earned his BS and PhD degrees in metallurgical engineering. In addition to his many technical contributions and awards, he has spent much of his career fostering relationships between Boeing, the aerospace industry and academia. He has served as affiliate faculty for chemical engineering and materials science and engineering at the University of Washington.
2014 Diamond Award
Randy Kurosky, '88 BS Ceramic Engineering
As the co-inventor of two ceramic oxide powder processes and engineer of over 3,000 different metallic oxide compositions, Randy Kurosky is responsible for turning Seattle Specialty Ceramics, a technology transfer startup, into a successful business – Praxair Specialty Ceramics. Today, Praxair is one of the premier international companies in the field of electronic grade specialty ceramics. His efforts have contributed to advancements in materials science engineering with applications in superconductors, solid oxide and molten carbonate fuel cells, oxygen transport membranes, thin film batteries, photovoltaics, catalyst supports and nuclear ceramics.
While a materials science undergrad at the UW, Randy co-invented a patented process, Combustion Spray Pyrolysis (CSP) that earned him a record six publication co-authorships. The CSP process yields fine submicron size ceramic powders capable of being deposited as thin, dense and electrically conductive layers on solid oxide fuel cells that are both durable and long lasting. Solid oxide fuel cells are used in everything from mini power grids to military defense applications.
Randy's career began as a research engineer when his CSP technology was spun out into Seattle Specialty Ceramics, and he eventually was named the company's general manager. He has since overseen the growth of Praxair Specialty Ceramics, including several $1M line expansions and the commercialization of additional R&D products. His technical engineering skill combined with his entrepreneurial instincts has advanced the company. His innovations on the synthesis of solid oxide fuel cell materials have become the industry standard.
2012 Diamond Award
Bonnie J. Dunbar, ’71 BS, ’76 MS Materials Science & Engineering
A veteran of five space missions as a NASA Mission Specialist Astronaut, Dr. Bonnie J. Dunbar flew aboard the Space Shuttles Atlantis, Challenger, Columbia and Endeavor. She served twice as a Payload Commander and was on the first US-Russian docking mission. Previously she served as a NASA Mission Controller, and held research and engineering positions with the Boeing Co., Harwell Laboratories in the UK and Rockwell International. Following her flight career, Dunbar served seven years in the NASA Senior Executive Service. After retiring from NASA in 2005, she served as President and CEO of The Museum of Flight (MOF) in Seattle until 2010.
Dunbar’s contributions to aerospace are truly ground-breaking, and her passionate commitment to youth education and the promotion of women in engineering is inspirational. Starting at UW, Dunbar helped organize a secondary school visitation program, taking science demonstrations into the classroom and was part of the first UW “Women in Engineering” conference. Throughout her career Dunbar has promoted engineering as a career field and advocated for K-12 science education. At NASA, she played a key role in expanding the Space Settlement Design Competition and the Texas Aerospace Scholars Program for high school students, and in leading the Zero-gravity Parabolic flight program for engineering undergraduates. She championed MOF educational initiatives including The Aviation Learning Center, The Challenger Learning Center, Washington Aerospace Scholars, the Aerospace Camp Experience and the Raisbeck Aviation High School to be built on the MOF campus. Dunbar is a role model and never misses an opportunity to inspire students to reach for the proverbial stars.
Dunbar holds a doctorate in mechanical/biomedical engineering from the University of Houston. She is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a Fellow of several technical societies, and has received numerous awards and honors.
Spring 2010 | Dean's Announcement
In January 2010, College of Engineering Dean Matt O'Donnell announced that MSE alumnus Jim Williams will be awarded the COE Diamond Award at the May 7, 2010, Diamond Award Presentation event.
Autumn 2008 | Trend
"Engineering used to be described as a calling, to be undertaken with passion and intensity," said Tom Delimitros, who applied that philosophy to his own career in industry and as a venture capitalist investing in high-tech companies. "Engineers are at the forefront in creating value in our society. I want to see many more young people thinking about an engineering career," Delimitros said.
May 2008 | Roberts Hall Review
Born and raised in Kashmir, India, Hira Fotedar arrived at the UW in 1966 to pursue his doctorate in metallurgical engineering. Fotedar was the first PhD student of Tom Stoebe, former MSE chair. "Since Tom and I joined UW at the same time, we had to develop the laboratory infrastructure in support of my research," Fotedar said. He used department’s machine shop to design and build furnaces, jigs and fixtures for his own studies.