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Big grant, tiny research
Tim Osedach ’05 knows something about small wonders and grand opportunities. Osedach, an Electrical& Computer Engineering graduate with a physics minor, was awarded a $90,000 National Science Foundation Fellowship for graduate study at Harvard University. Not long ago, though, he was an RU ECE, spending hours and hours at Rowan Hall working toward graduate school, and
as it turned out, toward the NSF Fellowship, which he considers an “immense honor.”

“I was surprised, but even more, relieved. I knew that I would be able to go to graduate school and that I could do some kind of work that interested me,” said Osedach.
Osedach’s specialty is nanotechnology, the study of extremely small electronic devices (a billionth of a meter, or about 50,000 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair) that could result in alternatives to current computer designs. His NSF grant covers tuition at Harvard and a stipend.

It was Rowan’s undergraduate Engineering program that prepared Osedach for such a challenge. “Rowan’s Engineering curriculum is unique in the amount of hands-on and practical experience you get. I became very proficient in important skills—electron beam lithography, a nano-fabrication technique, for example—that many students from other universities may never have even heard of. Also, many of the faculty, particularly Dr. Krchnavek, provided essential guidance and mentoring throughout the process of considering whether or not a Ph.D. was for me,” he said.

Osedach is still feeling out graduate school—“Things are just getting started”—but remembers his favorite thing about his time at Rowan. “The ECE program had a strong sense of community. The professors are truly dedicated to the students, the grad students help the undergrads, and the older undergrads help the younger undergrads. In retrospect, I don’t think I ever fully appreciated how lucky I was to be studying in such a supportive environment.”

Used to nano-scale perspective, what happens after Harvard is a big question, he says. “I think long-term I’d like to teach. But as far as what to do immediately after finishing, I have no idea. Five or six years is a long time from now.”

—By Cass Young ’05

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