Professor Richard Vinci was a beloved professor of Materials Science and Engineering who always put students first. He was well-known for his exceptional service and dedication to Lehigh University and internationally recognized for his impactful research.

The Richard Vinci Materials Science and Engineering Graduate Support Endowment Fund was created in his honor to broadly enhance graduate student experiences in Materials Science and Engineering. Examples include funding for opportunities that further graduate education and professional development, such as professional society meetings, workshops, research exchanges, special awards, and supplementary research or educational costs.

This endowment was initiated via donations from all MSE faculty members totaling at least 1% of their cumulative annual salary. Alumni have also graciously donated to the cause in honor of Prof. Rick Vinci. At the current endowment size, the fund can support two graduate students per year with each receiving up to $1000 to support their educational and professional development. With more donations and support, we could support more graduate students. If you are interested, please donate here (click "I want to select my own funds", scroll down and select "P.C. Rossin College of Engineering & Applied Science (RCEAS)", click on the right down arrow and select "Other - Rossin College", add a comment in the box "Rick Vinci Materials Science and Engineering Graduate Support Endowment"), or reach out to the MSE chair and THANK YOU!!

Below are testimonials of graduate students who received funding from this endowment and how this fund helped them in their career.

John Tolbert (Spring 2023)

The Richard Vinci Materials Science and Engineering Graduate Support Endowment Fund supported my attendance at the Society for Biomaterials (SFB) Annual Meeting in San Diego, California from April 19-22, 2023. While there, I presented my poster, “Independently Tuning Mechanical Properties and Scaffold Architecture by 3D Printing with Different Polymer Molecular Weights,” to fellow attendees. I had the opportunity to see a wide range of talks and posters both related to and outside of my area of research.

I was also able to attend a noteworthy workshop titled, “Recent Advances in 3D Printing of Biomaterials,” which had presentations from industry and academia. The workshop was great way to see an overview of the current state of 3D bioprinting and where it is trending for both consumers and researchers. I had many other opportunities to network with students and researchers while there, and hope to expand upon them to create future collaborations.

I am honored to have been awarded funding from the Rick Vinci endowment fund and am extremely grateful to the MSE Grad Committee for giving me the opportunity to present my work at SFB.

Michael Pires (Fall 2023)

I am extremely grateful to have been awarded by the Richard Vinci Materials Science and Engineering Graduate Support Endowment Fund. The fund provided me with the financial support to travel and attend the ESAFORM2023 International Conference from April 19th – 21st, 2023, held at the AGH University of Science and Technology, in Krakow Poland.

I was given the opportunity to present my work titled, “Electron Backscatter Diffraction (EBSD) as a Tool for Analysis of Metal Flow in Aluminum Extrusion” during the Extrusion and Drawing seminar series of the conference. The presentation incorporated previous work from our collaborators at AGH (involving extrusion), with my contribution consisting of microstructural characterization. Overall, the presentation was a huge success, allowing for feedback from the audience and led to discussions with individuals from universities in Norway and Italy hoping to collaborate.

My area of expertise lies in additive manufacturing, but the conference was a refreshing change of pace to have the opportunity to learn more about metal processing. I attended a number of presentations during each of the additive manufacturing, extrusion, and sustainability seminar series. The most exciting of all was the first keynote session titled, “Pathways into a sustainable future – research for green processes and products” which gave some insight on energy consumption in Europe.

On a personal note, this trip was my first experience visiting Europe, ironically also in the home country of my advisor. It was a pleasure speaking to the locals and conference attendees, which was a huge difference from my experience with North and South American friends. The city of Krakow was gorgeous to say the least. And of course, I can’t fail to mention the hilarity of our new Italian friends poking fun at me about how I cook Carbonara “the American way” (but by the end of it I was given their blessing). Once again, I want to express my gratitude for the Richard Vinci Materials Science and Engineering Graduate Support Endowment Fund for providing me with the wonderful opportunity and experience.

Vamseedhara (VamC) Vemuri (Spring 2022)

Rick Vinci's endowment fund provided me financial support to travel and present my research work titled “Evolution of Structural and Electrical Properties of Molecular Layer Deposited Hafnicone Films after Thermal Processing for Applications in Low-K Etch Stops” in the annual ALD conference held in ICC Ghent, Belgium from 25th June to 29th June 2022. I have attended over 40 research talks encompassing tutorials, invited talks and student presentations and got to see over 80 posters that are directly or tangentially related to my research field.

My presentation was well received among the audience and provided me an opportunity to make new connections with personnel from companies Merck (EMD group) and IMEC Belgium through exchange of business cards following a brief discussion. I made potential research collaborations to measure the thermal properties and pore morphology with Prof. Patrick Hopkins group at the University of Virginia and a company named J.A. Woollam.

I'm grateful to the MSE Grad committee for providing me with the financial support for attending the ALD conference which greatly helped in building professional connections and the future potential research collaborations.

Diana Hammerstone (Spring 2022)

I am honored to have received an award from the Richard Vinci Materials Science and Engineering Graduate Support Endowment Fund. This award covered my attendance at the Society for Biomaterials (SFB) Annual Meeting and Exposition, which took place in Baltimore, Maryland from April 27-30, 2022.

At the conference, I had the opportunity to present my work, “Characterizing Physical Properties of Constructs 3D-Printed with Peptide-Polymer Conjugates,” with a Rapid Fire Presentation as well as two poster session. Presenting my work allowed me to discuss my research with attendees, answer questions, and gather suggestions and feedback.

In addition to presenting my own work, I also attended other presentation sessions which gave me the opportunity to learn and network with others. I was able to attend Biomaterial-Tissue Interaction, Biomaterials for Regenerative Engineering, Bioprinting for Tissue Engineering, Surface Characterization and Modification, Tissue Engineering, and Black, LantinX, Indigenous, and Persons of Color in Biomaterials Science sessions, just to name few. Notably, I also attended a women’s networking lunch titled “Assertiveness Training: How to Have the Difficult Conversation and Be Heard,” which was a very impactful session.

Overall, attending SFB allowed me to present my own research, practice and improve my communication and presentation skills, network with people in the biomaterials field, and learn about the latest research. I am grateful to the Richard Vinci Materials Science and Engineering Graduate Support Endowment Fund for supporting my attendance to this conference.