Materials engineering senior Sydney Fultz-Waters was recognized for her academic excellence by ASM International, the world’s largest association of materials-centric engineers and scientists. Organization representatives awarded her a $3,000 scholarship to continue her work in the field of materials engineering.
“The application process consisted of writing a short essay and submitting letters of recommendation,” she said.
Fultz-Waters attributed the scholarship to what she learned in her Cal Poly classes, specifically the ceramics and glasses materials engineering course and the solid state physics course, two of her favorites throughout her undergraduate education.
More recently, Fultz-Waters conducted research with Sandia National Laboratories during a five-month internship from March to August 2022 where she worked closely with a team of scientists and engineers to design a process for an inductor out of a composite material. The co-op focused on a combination of design and lab work.
“Usually, traditional inductors are made of metals, so the work we were doing would allow for a cheaper and more sustainable material for inductors and other power system components,” she explained.
During her time there, she developed a working computer simulation model to validate real-life results for electric vehicle inductors.
“This model helped the team at Sandia speed up their prototyping process because they we able to perform fewer iterations of the inductors,” she explained.
Fultz-Waters continued her work developing novel inductors for her Cal Poly senior project to help streamline the electric vehicle testing process and contribute to sustainability in the industry, one of the main reasons she decided to pursue materials engineering. She plans to present her work at the CENG Project Expo in the spring and at the Materials Engineering Department Technical Conference later this year.
“I first chose materials engineering because I was interested in problem-solving,” she said. “I first learned about the engineering path at my college career at a different university. When I saw it was an option at Cal Poly, I jumped on it because it seemed like a good combination of math, science and engineering.”
The Cal Poly senior’s research and hands-on experience investigating the way materials change at their most basic forms is what pushes her in her continued pursuit of materials engineering education.
“It’s incredible how atomic structures can affect the properties we see every day,” she said.
Fultz-Waters is active in clubs and organizations across campus. She is a lead for the Cal Poly Racing Baja team, the president of Alpha Sigma Mu and an officer for the Microsystems Technology Group. She plans to attend graduate school after completing her Cal Poly education in the spring.
By Taylor Villanueva