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School of Science

School of Science

Nicole R Famularo ’89

BS, Chemistry

In Her Own Words

I graduated from Monmouth University in 2015 with a Bachelor’s in Chemistry with concentrations in Advanced Chemistry and Chemical Physics as well as a minor in Mathematics. I participated in undergraduate research at Monmouth in the Kosenkov Computational Chemistry Research group where I studied the implementation of chemistry laboratory equipment into the Industrial Internet by creating a remotely controlled automatic titrator. While at Monmouth, I also participated in the Peer Mentor (PM) Program, both as a mentor and as a program coordinator. The PM helps pair incoming first year students with upperclassmen in the School of Science to help them get acclimated to college. In addition, we also planned professional development and networking events to help undergraduates prepare for their careers or post-graduation studies. I also participated in Monmouth’s Supplemental Instruction (SI) program. As a chemistry SI, I led study sessions and held office hours for students in some of the classically difficult classes like general chemistry. Upon graduating from Monmouth University, I was awarded the Alumni Association Academic Achievement Award for completing all of the academic requirements of a four-year degree program with the highest GPA.

In the summer of 2015, I began my PhD studies at Pennsylvania State University. I currently study the assembly of metallic nanoparticles which have transformative collective functionality, for example the use of standing gold nanoparticles for optical cloaking. That’s right Harry Potter fans – invisibility cloaks! In the fall of 2015, I was awarded the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship for my proposal to incorporate magnetic nanoparticles into assemblies of conductive particles, and use both magnetic and electric fields to control the spatial organization of each particle population.

I genuinely feel so fortunate to have been a part of the School of Science community at Monmouth University. They provided me with continual support, guidance, professional development opportunities, and truly helped mold me into the scientist I am today. I attribute my successes to everyone at Monmouth who has helped me along the way, and I strive to pay that support forward. I would like to be to impact someone else’s life the way the faculty at Monmouth impacted mine.

I hold positions on the outreach teams for both the Materials Research Science and Engineering Center and the Graduate Women in Science chapter at Penn State. My favorite outreach event so far was during a summer camp for upward-bound blind and visually impaired high school students to help them learn how to navigate a college campus. The students explored a staged crime scene where they collected evidence and took it back to the lab to analyze it with the help of some really cool integrative technology. The interactive activities demonstrated to the students that they are not limited by their disabilities and can pursue a career in science if they would like to, perhaps in a way that they haven’t experienced in a classroom before. I have found helping with outreach activities also provided me and the other volunteers with meaningful experiences as well. These students were so incredibly smart and capable, and it’s really important to make an effort to create an inclusive environment in the scientific community and reach out to the underrepresented minorities, like these children, to show them that the future of science needs them too. Having the ability to be a part of these types of outreach efforts, where maybe I can impact even just one person, is truly rewarding.

Nicole receives the Outstanding Presentation Award during the 2014-2015 Undergraduate Research Symposium of the Independent College Fund of New Jersey