Featured Mentor

Q&A with faculty mentor Masoud Yekani Fard

Masoud Yekani Fard is an assistant teaching professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering who has mentored more than 50 students in the FURI and MORE programs over the past several years. Fard’s research expertise is in solid mechanics, composite and nanocomposite materials, multifunctional materials and nanomembranes, atomic force microscopy, material characterization and modeling. Read more

Q&A with faculty mentor Nakul Gopalan

Nakul Gopalan is an assistant professor of computer science and engineering. His research interests lie in the intersection of language and robot learning, particularly how to train robots through natural language to improve their usability in homes and offices. Gopalan became a MORE faculty mentor in the fall of 2023. Read more

Q&A with faculty mentor Nick Rolston

Nicholas Rolston is an assistant professor of electrical engineering who joined the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering in the spring of 2022 and first began mentoring FURI student research projects in 2023. His research group focuses on understanding the materials and mechanisms needed to manufacture the next generation of renewable energy technology.
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Q&A with faculty mentor Xiangfan Chen

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 also teaches aerospace engineering, mechanical engineering and materials science and engineering. His research interests include additive manufacturing technologies and 3D printing for a variety of applications, including photonics (a branch of optics that deals with light), energy and biomedical engineering. Read more

Q&A with faculty mentor Rebecca Muenich

Rebecca Muenich is an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering who has been mentoring FURI and MORE students for three years. She is inspired to address human-induced environmental issues and encourages her students to explore these topics in ways that interest them. As an ASU senior global futures scientist and Earth System Science for the Anthropocene faculty member in the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory, Muenich is an excellent resource for students to get their start in making an impact in sustainability solutions. Read more

Konrad Rykaczewski

Q&A with faculty mentor Konrad Rykaczewski

Konrad Rykaczewski is an associate professor of mechanical engineering who serves as a faculty mentor in the FURI and MORE programs. His research focuses on developing soft thermal materials and systems in addition to studying human thermal exposure in extreme heat. He has been involved in FURI for more than eight years and the MORE program for the past several years. He encourages students interested in research to talk to many faculty members early on in their academic careers to learn about opportunities and get involved in this valuable experience. Read more

Kerry Hamilton

Q&A with faculty mentor Kerry Hamilton

Assistant Professor Kerry Hamilton guides student researchers in the Master’s Opportunity for Research in Engineering, or MORE, and Fulton Undergraduate Research Initiative, or FURI, programs in interdisciplinary research projects at the intersection of environmental engineering and human health. She has been mentoring in some capacity since graduate school, and enjoys seeing students in MORE and FURI achieve success in research and other opportunities. Read more

Thomas Sugar

Q&A with faculty mentor Tom Sugar

President’s Professor Tom Sugar enjoys introducing undergraduate students to robotics research as a mentor in the Fulton Undergraduate Research Initiative, known as FURI. Sugar conducts research in wearable robotics, exoskeletons, prosthetics and orthotics, and he is making impacts in the community with his student researchers. He says FURI can lead to exciting opportunities during and after students’ undergraduate studies, and contribute fresh ideas to faculty members’ labs. Read more

Hands of Mounika Kakarla holding a medical device.

Q&A with faculty mentor Kenan Song

Kenan Song, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering, has been a faculty mentor in the FURI and MORE programs for five years. Song’s research interests include advanced composite materials and advanced manufacturing. He enjoys including students from a variety of backgrounds in his research and encourages other faculty members to be open to undergraduate and graduate students who may end up being excellent doctoral candidates. Read more

Assistant Professor Christopher Plaisier (right) with student Margarito Hernandez Fuentes

Q&A with faculty mentor Christopher Plaisier

Christopher Plaisier, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering, has been mentoring FURI and MORE students for three years. His work focuses on genetic research for discovering diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers and new drug targets. In his lab, Plaisier trains his students to be cross-disciplinary researchers. Read more

Q&A with faculty mentor Troy McDaniel

Assistant Professor Troy McDaniel has been a mentor in the FURI and MORE programs for almost 10 years, and he looks forward to mentoring for many more. He sees these programs as valuable opportunities for students and mentors alike to conduct impactful research and believes they set students up for success in their future careers. Read more