Mr. Austin Beggs
Materials Science and Engineering, Purdue
Class of 2018
Project: Characterization of ionic compounds on superabsorbent polymer's (PANa) ability to absorb water and its applications as an additive in structural concrete and as a moisture retaining soil additive
Bio: Austin was born and raised in Naperville, Illinois, a technology driven suburb of Chicago. In Naperville, he went to Neuqua Valley High School and graduated in a class of more than 1,200 students with magna cum laude honors. His favorite classes in school were science, where he won several science fair awards, and engineering, where he built and designed a trebuchet that would throw tennis balls the furthest in the class.
Currently an undergraduate student at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Austin is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Materials Science and Engineering. In addition to the required coursework for his B.S. M.S.E. degree, Austin has taken advanced and rigorous chemistry classes designed for chemistry majors to fill his elective credits such as analytical chemistry, and several organic chemistry labs and lectures.
In addition to his coursework, Austin also works as an undergraduate researcher in Dr. Kendra Erk’s research group. While in the group, he synthesized and tested novel hydrogel polymers to be used as an additive in high performance concrete. As part of the group, Austin helped to develop the procedure to quantify hydrogel cross-linking using gravimetric swelling measurements. He is currently being trained on a scanning electron microscope, which he will be using for elemental phase analysis and porosity analysis of high performance concrete.
At Purdue, Austin is the treasurer of Purdue University Material Advantage student club. He manages the accounts of the club as well as helped plan an apparel fundraiser as well as attending national conferences, and talking to prospective students and their families. Austin is also a member of the American Chemical Society Student Chapter and the Purdue Forestry Products Society, where he practices woodworking as a hobby.
In the future, Austin plans to go to graduate school at an esteemed university to obtain a doctoral degree in either Materials Science or Chemistry and also gain the tools necessary to lead his own research group. Whether it’s designing a new type of polymeric adhesive, or modeling macro-molecular phenomena, Austin is confident that he will make an impact on the academic community and the world.