Richard Vinci Endowment Fund

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.

Mahsa Navidirad (Spring 2024)

Attending the Extrusion Technology (ET) 24 conference was an invaluable experience that was made possible by the funding support from the Vinci Fund Award program. This international conference, specializing in extrusion of aluminum, brought together experts and professionals from various universities, national laboratories, and R&D centers in industry from all across the world, with approximately 1500 participants in attendance. Being present at such a conference allowed me to forge meaningful connections and stay abreast of the latest innovations and breakthroughs in my field. The opportunity to interact with such a diverse and accomplished group of individuals was immensely beneficial to my professional development.

During the conference, I had the privilege of presenting part of my PhD research work, with focus on aluminum microextrusion which received recognition and feedback from experts in the field. This interaction not only validated the significance of my research but also provided me with insights and perspectives that will greatly enhance the quality and scope of my work moving forward.

Anthony Tsekrekas (Spring 2024)

I am honored to have received support from the Richard Vinci Materials Science & Engineering Endowment Fund. This fund has allowed me to attend the Second São Carlos School on Glasses and Glass-Ceramics from April 22 – 27 in São Carlos, Brazil. I was able to share my research, “Formation and Properties of Metallic Nanoparticles Created in Glass Under Femtosecond Laser Irradiation” with over 70 participants from 13 countries at multiple poster sessions throughout the week. During these sessions, I had the privilege of learning about various research projects from around the world and receiving constructive feedback from a diverse group of scientists, each offering their own unique perspectives and insights. This feedback not only sparked new ideas for my research but has also paved the way for potential collaborations in the future.

In addition to presenting my research, I had the opportunity to attend a multitude of lectures taught by renowned experts in the glass field. Topics ranged from experimental, theoretical, to computer simulation studies of glasses, covering areas such as glass structure by Raman spectroscopy, electrical properties of glasses, and innovative applications of machine learning in predicting glass compositions. These lectures not only broadened my understanding of the field, but also provided me with practical insights and tools that I can apply to my own research endeavors.

I am profoundly grateful to the MSE Graduate Committee for selecting me as a recipient of the Richard Vinci Endowment Fund. It has enabled me to expand my horizons, forge valuable connections around the world, and advance my research endeavors in the glass field.


Daniel Moore (Spring 2024)

With the support of the Richard Vinci Materials Science & Engineering Endowment Fund, I had the privilege of participating in the Spring 2024 Minerals, Metals, and Materials Society (TMS) meeting from March 4th to 7th in Orlando, Florida. This conference served as a platform for me to showcase my latest research, "Impact of Beam Shaping and Mechanical Response of Additively Manufactured Microstructures" in the Additive Manufacturing Modeling, Simulation and Machine Learning Symposium. I was very excited that the presentation garnered considerable interest and constructive feedback and has allowed me to further refine some of my ideas while increasing the visibility of my research group and the materials science department. 

During the conference, I actively engaged with a multitude of presentations on additive manufacturing, 2D materials, and grain boundaries, all delivered by leading experts in these fields. Additionally, I had the opportunity to propose a student-led symposium for the 2025 TMS meeting, interacted with a diverse range of student research through posters, and established connections with graduate students from various institutions.

I am deeply grateful to the MSE Graduate Committee, whose support made it possible for me to attend by covering the costs of my travel and registration. It is an immense honor to have been supported through the Richard Vinci Endowment fund. This conference has not only been instrumental in sharpening my presentation skills but has also opened doors to forming new professional relationships within my field.

Milad Taghizadeh (Spring 2024)

I am deeply appreciative of the recognition granted to me by the Richard Vinci Materials Science and Engineering Graduate Support Endowment Fund. This generous support enabled me to participate in the TMS2024 International Conference, held at Orlando, FL. The TMS Annual Meeting & Exhibition stands as a pinnacle event in the realm of materials science and engineering, convening over 4,000 professionals from diverse backgrounds within the minerals, metals, and materials fields.

As a beneficiary of the Vinci award, I was giving an oral talk titled: “Grain Boundary Segregation and Solute Drag in Multicomponent Alloys” , and I was afforded the opportunity to immerse myself in a comprehensive, cross-disciplinary exchange of technical knowledge, engage with leading experts, and present my research findings to a discerning audience.

This support not only bolstered my professional development but also facilitated meaningful networking opportunities crucial for advancing my scholarly pursuits. I am profoundly grateful for the support provided by the Vinci award, which has undoubtedly played a pivotal role in enriching my academic journey and fostering my growth as a materials scientist and engineer.

Yitao Wang (Spring 2024)

As a recipient of the Richard Vinci Endowment Fund, I am profoundly grateful for the support it has provided me in presenting my research at TMS 2024. Delivering my oral presentation titled "Solidification Kinetics in Ternary Alloys: Insights from Phase Field Modeling" at the Additive Manufacturing Modeling, Simulation, and Machine Learning symposium was an important moment in my academic journey. This opportunity allowed me to share my findings with numerous excellent researchers from all over the world and engage in discussions that enriched my understanding of metal-based AM and microstructure development. Furthermore, participating in workshops such as communication skills workshops and the additive manufacturing materials and processes workshops expanded my skill set and opened avenues for potential collaborations. Networking at TMS has laid a strong foundation for my future endeavors. The Richard Vinci Endowment Fund has not only supported my research presentation but has also facilitated my professional growth and networking in the materials science community.

Alexander Campos Quiros (Fall 2023)

The Richard Vinci Endowment Fund supported my participation in the International Materials Research Congress (IMRC) held in Cancun from August 13th – 18th, 2023. At this conference, I was honored to have the opportunity to present my first invited talk titled "Effect of Ca and Y Grain Boundary Segregation on Fracture Behavior in Magnesium Aluminate Spinel” as part of the Advanced Structural Materials: Mechanics, Properties, and Applications Symposium. It was encouraging to see how well my presentation was received and the engagement of the audience. This was an exciting opportunity not only to increase the visibility of my work at Lehigh but also to connect and interact with researchers from different parts of the world, including my home country Costa Rica.

During the conference, I also attended various talks including topics such as severe plastic deformation, machine learning in material science, 2-dimensional materials, and novel techniques and applications in electron microscopy and spectroscopy. Listening to other speakers outside of my research area was very helpful in gathering new ideas that I could implement in my research. One of the most grateful aspects of this conference was being able to connect with other researchers, interact with other students during the poster sessions, and talk to faculty about possible collaborations in the future.

I'm very thankful to the MSE Grad committee for honoring me with the Richard Vinci Endowment Fund. This conference not only helped me improve my speaking skills but also helped me to network and make new connections within my field.

Alexander_Campos Conference

Alexander Campos Presentation

Isti Chowdhury (Fall 2023)

I am grateful to have received the Richard Vinci Materials Science and Engineering Graduate Support Endowment Fund. The fund supported me to attend the ALD/ALE 2023 conference held at Bellevue, Washington form July 23 to July 26, 2023.

At the conference I presented my research work titled “Effect of RF Substrate Biasing in Tuning the Tribological Properties of Plasma Enhanced Atomic Layer Deposited Titanium Vanadium Nitride Thin Films”, which was well received among the audience. I also attended over 40 research talks that are directly or indirectly related to my research area, including invited talks, informative tutorials, and presentations from students and professionals. Of the 200 posters presented at the conference, approximately 60 caught my attention. I had the chance to discuss a number of these posters with the authors and generate some useful ideas to enrich my own research.

The conference was a very wonderful platform for networking as well. I had the chance to have spirited conversations with multiple professionals and academics about the recent trends in research, troubleshooting some of my research problems, and even a few possible collaborations. A noteworthy contact I made was with a scientist from Naval Research Laboratory who offered to assist me with postdoc/job hunt. Overall, I must say the trip to the ALD/ALE 2023 conference was very fruitful. I would like to once again thank the department of Materials Science and Engineering at Lehigh University to assist me with the Richard Vinci Endowment Fund to support my conference attendance.

Ben Garland (Fall 2023)

Being awarded the Richard Vinci Materials Science & Engineering Endowment Fund award allowed me to attend the 2023 American Vacuum Society Atomic Layer Deposition Conference (AVS ALD) in Bellevue, Washington July 23rd-26th. This is the first conference I was able to attend in person since starting my graduate degree in 2019 due to the pandemic. The specific disciplines highlighted at AVS ALD are a perfect match for our group and my work, so I’ve always wanted to present my work there. I presented my poster entitled “Probing the Structural and Chemical Evolution of Interfacial SiOx Layers Formed During ALD and Post-Deposition Processing,” and I was encouraged by the interest and feedback I received.

At the conference, I also participated in optional tutorial sessions which focused on the fundamentals of atomic layer deposition and etching. These sessions were both great refreshers and gave me new perspectives for my research field. I attended talks by leaders in the field of ALD that inspired me in my work and helped me understand new material properties and methods. There were people I met that I’ve only seen their names in author lists of papers I cite, so it was great to finally put faces to their names, introduce myself, and network. Networking extended to the representatives from companies and organizations that I may want to work with in the future. It was also a privilege to be at the conference to support other members of our research group that attended and go through the experience together.

This award supported the cost of my conference registration, hotel, flights, car transportation, and meals throughout the trip. Thank you to the MSE Graduate Committee for deciding to endorse me and our group’s work at the 2023 AVS ALD conference with the Richard Vinci Endowment Fund, it is an immense honor.

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.

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.

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.



MSE Announces the Carole and Arnold Marder (’68G) Graduate Endowment Fund

Thanks to the very generous gift of an MSE Alumnus, the MSE Department gratefully announces the newly formed Carole and Arnold Marder (’68G) Graduate Endowment Fund. Professor Arnold Marder is the R.D. Stout Distinguished Emeritus Professor and alumnus of the MSE Department.

After 21 years at Bethlehem Steel’s Homer Research Laboratories, Arnie joined Lehigh University in 1986 where he held positions as Associate Director of Lehigh’s Energy Research Center and Professor in the MSE Department until his retirement in 2006. Arnie and his wife, Carole, were highly dedicated to mentoring Lehigh undergraduate and graduate students. Amongst their many Lehigh activities, they were members of the Jewish Student Advisory Council, they served together as Faculty in Residence at Brodhead House and were well known for their multi-annual “Lehigh family” student gatherings at their home. Carole was a staff member of the Department of Chemical Engineering and Secretary to the Chairman.

The Endowment was recently made to especially recognize Carole, who passed away this past year and was so well known by many for graciously giving her time, energy, and wisdom to making Lehigh students and their families feel welcome and nurtured during their time at Lehigh. The endowment is established to enhance the graduate student experience in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. The endowment will be used to provide additional stipend support to help recruit outstanding graduate students who are citizens or legal residents of the United States of America and have an interest in pursuing an advanced degree with a focus on Metallurgy or Metallurgical Engineering. A campaign is also currently underway to grow the endowment fund through matching gifts.

Please contact Rhianna Kneebone at (610) 758-4220 or if you’d like to learn more about contributing to the fund.