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I Am a Researcher

jordanbunch.pngJordan Bunch

Major(s): NanoEngineering

College: Muir

UC San Diego graduation year: 2024

Which research programs/experiences have you been a part of? 

What are you researching (or did you do in the past)?  

  • The Effect of Additives on the Contact Resistance and Morphology of PEDOT:PSS (URS: Philip and Elizabeth Hiestand Scholarship)
  • The Influence of Alkyl Side-Chain Length on the Mechanical Properties of P3ATs (TRELS)
  • Improving the Survivability of Organic Solar Cells using Crosslinked Semiconducting Polymers (McNair)

My research throughout my undergraduate career has primarily focused on studying the mechanical properties of semiconducting polymers for applications in optoelectronics (e.g., organic solar cell devices). My current work involves hydrogel formulations and studying the mechanical properties of metal organic frameworks. 

nanoengineering mechanical test machine.png

Why and how did you decide to get involved in undergraduate research?

I got involved in research because I wanted to earn hands-on experience and apply my coursework outside of my classes. I find it useful to learn about how my studies can apply to a physical application whether that be in a lab or industry.

What has been the most exciting/interesting thing you've discovered through your research?

I think the most exciting thing about research has been learning from others inside and outside of my research group. Research is expansive, has a lot of possibilities, and there is always a lot to learn from a lot of different people. The individuals I have encountered throughout my undergraduate career are really passionate about what they do and I am very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with them.

What did you gain from these programs/experiences?

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During my time in the McNair Program, it provided me with the opportunity to apply critical thinking in a research setting. I feel as if I grew the most as both a researcher and a person during my time in the McNair Scholars Program. I spent a lot of time in the lab and got to know new people. When the program concluded, I was given the opportunity to present my research at a conference hosted by the Undergraduate Research Hub. Presenting at conferences hosted by UC San Diego exposed me to various research areas, expanding my knowledge on multiple topics.

Participating in TRELS and URS has enriched my knowledge through informative workshops hosted by various individuals at UC San Diego. In addition, both of these programs allowed me to continue doing what I enjoy, research.

I would not be the researcher I am today without the Undergraduate Research Hub, my PI, and the mentors I have met along the way.

Outside of research, I am actively involved in the NACME chapter at UC San Diego and serve as the president of the NanoEngineering Technology Society. NACME has significantly contributed to my growth by offering opportunities to connect with talented and inspiring engineers from different universities. Being in NACME has improved my ability to work in diverse settings and network with companies such as NREL, Air Products, GE, etc. I truly appreciate the individuals I have met through NACME. As the president of NETS, I have had the privilege to work with motivated students who want to create a positive change within the NanoEngineering community. Being able to help others and provide opportunities for those to develop their professional, social, and technical skills has been truly rewarding. Both of these opportunities have allowed me to grow as an individual and learn from others. 

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What advice would you give to students starting research? 

Get involved early and never be afraid to contact professors for research opportunities. Research is difficult, but it is very rewarding.

What are your future plans? 

I am looking forward to continuing my research journey at Stanford University's Materials Science and Engineering PhD program.

Anything else you'd like to share?

I would like to thank my mentor, Alexander Chen, for his guidance and mentorship throughout my undergraduate career. I would also like to thank my PI, Darren Lipomi, for providing me with the opportunity to do research. Lastly, thank you to my awesome research group, friends, and family.


(1) Jordan, (2) machine used for mechanical testing, (3) semiconducting polymer for mechanical testing, (4) thermal evaporator (Orion)