Sam Jacobs is one of the first people to graduate with UMD's new master’s degree in chemical engineering.
Sam spent eight months of his UMD senior year, and three subsequent years at Hutchinson Technology, but yet, something was missing.
“A scientist is never done working,” Sam says. “It feels good. You just kind of enjoy that struggle.”
Sam decided to pursue a master's degree. “I wanted more,” he says. His boss at Hutchinson Technology was supportive of Sam’s plan to return to school. His boss even offered him a job whenever he wanted to come back. But now that Sam is graduating with a master’s degree in chemical engineering, he’s taken a different path. He’s been accepted into the Ph.D. program from University of Florida at Gainesville for Fall 2018.
At UMD, grad students choose a project or a thesis. In the early summer of 2018, Sam plans to have his 40-page thesis completed, and that will give him a head-start in Florida. “This will help give me more options,” Sam says.
His research is focused on a certain solar cell that delivers high efficiency at a very low cost. However, according to Sam, there are drawbacks. “People are lucky to get 500 hours of operation out of them,” and yet, that may make them desirable for certain uses.
In this work, Sam is gaining skills and “building upon the research of others.” The work is a bonus for Sam, because this type of research on solar cells is similar to the work being done at the University of Florida.
Sam has advice. “For those who want to work for a few years and then come back to school, don’t worry,” Sam says. “The knowledge comes back pretty fast, especially if you’re in a classroom setting.”
Whether it’s working at school, the field or in the lab, Sam has a desire to learn.