Alumnus, PhD, Materials Science & Engineering
“If you’re passionate about research or developing new ideas and technology, graduate study is a great option.”
The best part about the University of Toronto graduate school experience is being able to study at a world-class university while also living in a world-class city. Graduate study is hard work, but when there is time to relax, it’s great to live in a city with so much to offer in terms of entertainment. I also really enjoy the sense of community, especially among my grad faculty at U of T. Materials Science and Engineering is a smaller department and it’s great: I’m on a first-name basis with most of the grad students, and I have great relationships with the professors and administrative staff. It was a welcoming atmosphere right from day one.
My project focuses on developing new materials to improve the performance of energy storage devices like batteries and supercapacitors. This research can be useful for many applications such as developing longer-lasting batteries for personal electronics or even large-scale systems that can store renewable energy like solar and wind.
I just recently completed a four-month visiting research term at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I had the opportunity to work with research engineers at the Illinois Sustainable Technology Centre on a project developing energy storage materials from waste biomass. It was a terrific learning experience, and we ended up making great progress.
If you’re passionate about research or developing new ideas and technology, graduate study is a great option. It’s really important to do your homework before making decisions on grad school. Try to get some background information on different professors, their research groups, and potential projects. You’re going to be committing two to five years of your life to graduate school, so it’s important that you’re working on something you’re passionate about and in an environment where you can excel.
Matthew is a recipient of the Canada Graduate Scholarship — NSERC, Ontario Graduate Scholarship, and Hatch Graduate Scholarship.