Q&A with faculty mentor Xiangfan Chen

Posted on: March 24, 2023

Xiangfan Chen is an assistant professor of manufacturing engineering who has been mentoring FURI and MORE student researchers since the spring of 2020. In addition to manufacturing engineering, he is also a graduate faculty in aerospace engineering, mechanical engineering and materials science and engineering. His research interests include additive manufacturing (3D printing) technologies for a variety of applications, such as optical devices, wearable sensors and soft robots in the fields of photonics, energy and health care.

What made you want to get involved as a FURI and MORE faculty mentor?

I believe education and research should be open and inclusive. Undergraduate and master’s degree students should get resources for research experience, especially those students from underrepresented groups.

What is your favorite part about seeing your students conduct research?

I enjoy our weekly troubleshooting session in the lab. 

How have your FURI and MORE students had an effect on your research? Have they come up with any research surprises or proposed new directions for your lab?

Some of the FURI and MORE students are self-motivated and do research based on their own interests or experience, which inspires us to explore new directions. And some FURI and MORE students are supporting our PhD students’ research.

What have you gained from being a FURI and MORE mentor? How has the experience been rewarding for you?

I have gotten the opportunity to meet more students with different backgrounds and research interests, and it helped me to improve my coaching and mentoring skills.

What advice would you give to students who might be interested in participating in FURI or MORE?

Talk to the advisor as early as possible to learn what research is before making commitments. Once it starts, stay focused and start from a small project.

Why should other faculty members become FURI and MORE mentors?

Becoming a FURI and MORE mentor will allow you to reach out to more students and grow your research program.

MORE student researcher Chayaank Bangalore Ravishankar and faculty mentor Xiangfan Chen work in the lab.
Manufacturing engineering graduate student Chayaank Bangalore Ravishankar (left) works with Xiangfan Chen (right), an assistant professor of manufacturing engineering, on research into piezoelectric materials for a research project in the MORE program. Photographer: Erika Gronek/ASU

Dr. Xiangfan Chen has extensive knowledge and expertise in the field of additive manufacturing and has provided me with valuable advice and resources for my project. He encourages students to put more effort in gaining the required training and knowledge on the systems before actually working on the machines so that the ultimate yield will be better.

Chayaank Bangalore RavishankarManufacturing engineering MORE student
MORE student researcher Chayaank Bangalore Ravishankar and faculty mentor Xiangfan Chen work in the lab.